Big-batch bolognese

Big-batch bolognese

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(48 ratings)

Prep: 25 mins Cook: 1 hr, 30 mins


Serves 12

Whip up a huge batch of bolognese that's fit to feed a hungry crowd, or freeze half for a speedy midweek meal

Nutrition and extra info

  • Freezable
  • Easily halved
  • Healthy

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal295
  • fat12g
  • saturates4g
  • carbs13g
  • sugars11g
  • fibre4g
  • protein34g
  • salt0.87g
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  • 4 tbsp olive oil
    olive oil

    Olive oil

    ol-iv oyl

    Probably the most widely-used oil in cooking, olive oil is pressed from fresh olives. It's…

  • 6 smoked bacon rashers, chopped



    Bacon is pork that has been cured one of two ways: dry or wet. It can be bought as both rashers…

  • 4 onions, finely chopped



    Onions are endlessly versatile and an essential ingredient in countless recipes. Native to Asia…

  • 3 carrots, finely chopped



    The carrot, with its distinctive bright orange colour, is one of the most versatile root…

  • 4 celery sticks, finely chopped



    A collection of long, thick, juicy stalks around a central, tender heart, celery ranges in…

  • 8 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 tbsp dried mixed herbs
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 500g mushrooms, sliced



    The mushroom is a fungus which comes in a wide range of varieties that belong to two distinct…

  • 1½ kg lean minced beef (or use half beef, half pork mince)
  • 6 x 400g cans chopped tomatoes



    A member of the nightshade family (along with aubergines, peppers and chillies), tomatoes are in…

  • 6 tbsp tomato purée
  • large glass red wine (optional)
  • 4 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp sugar



    Honey and syrups made from concentrated fruit juice were the earliest known sweeteners. Today,…

  • parmesan, to serve



    Parmesan is a straw-coloured hard cheese with a natural yellow rind and rich, fruity flavour. It…


  1. Heat the oil in a very large saucepan. Gently cook the bacon, onions, carrots and celery for 20 mins until golden. Add the garlic, herbs, bay and mushrooms, then cook for 2 mins more.

  2. Heat a large frying pan until really hot. Crumble in just enough mince to cover the pan, cook until brown, then tip in with the veg. Continue to fry the mince in batches until used up. Tip the tomatoes and purée in with the mince and veg. Rinse the cans out with the red wine, if you have some, or with a little water, then add to the pan with the vinegar and sugar. Season generously and bring to a simmer. Simmer slowly for 1 hr until thick and saucy and the mince is tender. Serve with pasta and parmesan.

  3. If you want to make this in a slow cooker, visit our slow cooker bolognese recipe.

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Comments, questions and tips

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3rd Sep, 2019
Thanks for this cool recipe! I want to eat it with pork chops! It's so delicious for me.I found recipe of pork chops here
Ginny Cartmel's picture
Ginny Cartmel
7th Jul, 2019
I regularly make a batch of this to stock up the freezer for a really easy evening meal and it always goes down very well. I don't eat meat so have adapted the recipe slightly, no bacon and swapped the beef out for 3 x packets of frozen Quorn mince and it works really well. It's super healthy too, until you add lots of cheese on top like me!
20th Sep, 2018
This turned out to be the best spag bol I’ve ever made. Great for batch cooking too! I didn’t add the bacon, but used carrot, pepper and mushrooms. Yum!
28th Oct, 2015
I cooked this in my slow cooker and it made loads! I have frozen in portions as I'm expecting a new baby in a couple of weeks and already have a toddler so time for cooking will be limited! I left out the mushrooms as my other half won't eat them (annoyingly), but I added in a green pepper. I also used balsamic vinegar instead of red wine vinegar (as that's what I had in) and left out the sugar as suggested by an earlier reviewer as the balsamic already adds a sweetness. Taste is excellent and even my 21 month old enjoys it :)
Frantic Flapjack
14th Apr, 2015
This cooked up very well and is a good crowd pleaser.
12th Nov, 2013
6th Oct, 2013
As an alternative to wine I add balsamic vinegar which makes it quite rich. I leave out the sugar when I do this though!
31st Mar, 2013
As well as being a great way to add some extra veggies to the menu it was a lovely meat sauce. I made this as per recipe except I substituted half the chopped tomatoes for passata as we are a saucy family lol. I don't generally cook with wine but added it this time and I couldn't taste it but the overall dish was good. Makes huge amount for us more than 12 portions in my house.
coleyskitchen's picture
30th Jan, 2013
Made a huge batch for the freezer. Followed the recipe except for the wine, and unlike an earlier reviewer, I don't think the end result suffered for omitting the wine. This was lovely. Used a mixture of beef and pork mince. I did have the rindy bit of a piece of parmesan left over so I threw that in as I have done before and it gives a slightly richer end result. Excellent!
11th Jan, 2013
Much better than out of a jar. But harder work. It was just perfect though with Nigel Slater's parmesan garlic bread for a big family get together.


17th Nov, 2019
If I make this and freeze it an I freezing it with mince/veggie mince? Also how do I defrost and cook it?
22nd Aug, 2019
What is a serving size for the nutritional info?
goodfoodteam's picture
24th Aug, 2019
Thanks for your question. The nutritional info is for one serving minus the parmesan and any pasta. This is 1/12 of the recipe.
23rd Feb, 2018
What are the dried mixed herbs composed of?
goodfoodteam's picture
28th Feb, 2018
Thanks for your question. You can buys this from the herb and spice section in the supermarket and it generally contains a mix of marjoram, basil, oregano and thyme. If you can't get hold of dried mixed herbs then any combination of these will be fine.
29th Jan, 2017
With regards the water rinsing out the tins, how much water should go in altogether? Is it a whole 6 tins' worth?
goodfoodteam's picture
31st Jan, 2017
Thanks for your question. We suggest using a large glass of red wine to swill out the tins as one option. If you want to use water instead then go for the same quantity ie one large glass. Hope that's clearer!
15th Oct, 2014
Hi, if you were to use the slow cooker method, what size cooker pot (i.e 3.5lt, 4.5lt etc.) would you need for this recipe? Many thanks.
goodfoodteam's picture
7th Nov, 2014
Hi there thanks for your question, to make the full quantity of this recipe you would need a large slow cooker, around 5-6 L.
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