Spaghetti Bolognese

This Spaghetti Bolongese is my easy weeknight version that skips the hours of simmering and delivers an Italian meat sauce with BIG, bold, complex flavors in super LITTLE time! This divine semi-homemade spaghetti sauce is a family favorite recipe I make more than ANY OTHER RECIPE! The recipe that always comes to the rescue when you don’t feel like cooking but want your food to taste like its been simmering for hours and BONUS, it freezes super well!

Bolognese Sauce

  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1/2 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, finely chopped*
  • 1 stalk celery, finely chopped*
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 14 oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 24 oz. jar quality marinara sauce (traditional Barilla or Classico)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 2 teaspoons chicken bouillon
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon sugar (to taste)
  • 1 tsp EACH salt, dried oregano, dried parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon red chili pepper flakes. (optional)
Add later:
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream (optional)
  • fresh parsley
  • LOTS of parmesan cheese


  1. Cook spaghetti al dente according to the package directions. Reserve 1/2 cup pasta water before draining. Toss drained spaghetti with a little olive oil to keep the noodles from sticking to each other.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add meat, onions, carrots and celery and cook until meat is browned.
  3. Add garlic and sauté 30 seconds. Drain off any excess grease if needed.
  4. Stir in all of the remaining “Bolognese Sauce” ingredients up to the heavy cream and bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Simmer gently uncovered for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add heavy cream and continue to simmer 5 minutes or until sauce reaches desired consistency. If you like a thinner sauce, stir in a little of the reserved pasta water a little at a time.
  5. Serve Bolognese Sauce over spaghetti and garnish with plenty of Parmesan!

Recipe Notes

*Carrots and celery enhance the flavor of this Bolognese but the sauce is still delicious if you don't have them on hand.
**Heavy cream adds creamy richness and is an authentic Bolognese touch but is definitely not necessary.