Friday, September 21, 2007

Gaz’s Spaghetti Bolognaise (serves 4)

This is my own recipe for spaghetti bolognaise. It is no doubt based on a number of recipes that over the years I have I have combined, altered, refined and customised to my own taste.

Actually, I find that spaghetti bolognaise is pretty hard to get right. This recipe is based on my most recent attempt from the other day. It came out really well, and I believe that the secret is totally in reducing the sauce so that the flavour of the tomatoes is intensified.


  • Olive oil
  • Onion (1 large one)
  • Minced beef (500g)
  • Tomatoes (12 of them, nice and ripe)
  • Basil – A handful of leaves, washed and finely chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Ground black pepper (a good few grinds)
  • Mixed dried herbs (2-3 tbs)
  • Chilli powder (1/2 a tsp, don’t go mad – you shouldn’t notice it)
  • Balsalmic vinegar (3 or 4 tbs)
  • Optional – red wine (a good slug)
  • Optional – Worcestershire sauce (3 tbs)
  • Minced garlic (3 or 4 cloves)
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Optional – mushrooms, chopped and fried separately (a tub of them)
  • Pasta (as much or as little as you want)


  1. Heat a good slug of olive oil in a pan.
  2. Finely chop the onion and fry until translucent.
  3. Add the minced beef and brown off nicely. Give it a good blast but do not burn. Salt it while it is cooking.
  4. Skin and chop the tomatoes and add to the pan.
  5. Add the bay leaf, pepper, mixed dried herbs, chilli powder, Balsalmic vinegar, optional red wine, Worcestershire sauce.
  6. Finally add the garlic (I always add this slightly later in the cooking process. I find that its flavour is diminished if it’s put in too early, especially with the onion).
  7. Add the previously fried mushroom to the sauce (and their juices) if required.At this time the sauce will be quite watery because of the tomatoes. Reduce the sauce over an hour or so on a moderate hear. This will intensify the flavour and make it tangy (most recipes use tomato puree to achieve this, but I don’t use the stuff). The longer you can do this the better.
  8. Salt the sauce to taste.
  9. Serve with pasta that has been boiled with some salt and a slug of olive oil.


nailgungfx said...

That one is not the version I've tried since you've seem to have evoluted it a lot since 1997 lol!, but I trust this is an excellent one, as I know by taste that you keep a tradition in making excellent Spagbols :)

DrGaz said...

That old one was a bit of an "out of the packet" job. These days I never use mixes and just do everything from the basic ingredients. Still it's quite a tricky thing to cook, and success is largely down to the quality & texture of the meat. It's also important to use lots of tomatoes and reduce them during the cooking process to make the sauce nice and tangy.
Another thing that I find works quite well is to fry in some very finely chopped bacon at the beginning with the onion. This gives a better overall taste.