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Beef Bolognese

This must be a staple in many homes so we thought we would share our recipe for a simple beef bolognese sauce. We use this same recipe to serve with pasta (spaghetti bolognese) and also as a filling for lasagne.

We find the trick to good bolognese is slow, long cooking. You can make the sauce in 25 minutes or 2 hours…but try them both and you will realise the 2 hour version is so much deeper, intense and tasty. Good bolognese starts with good beef so use a half decent quality beef.

We always use onions, celery and carrots as these melt together over a long cook and add wonderful flavour to the sauce. Another key ingredient is Marsala which we use in a lot of our cooking. Marsala is a sweet fortified wine and sweetness works great with tomato based sauces. Another thing we like to add is roasted garlic. If you ever picked up a garlic clove that has been roasted in the oven you will know why…they have a sweet, melow and smokey flavour. The final ingredient is some stock and that is pretty much the bolognese made.

Beef Bolognese
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Delicious sloow cooked beef bolognese sauce with slow roasted garlic and tomato
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 2-3
To Roast
  • 2-3 whole tomatoes
  • 3-4 large garlic cloves
For the Sauce
  • 1 celery stick, diced finely
  • 1 carrot, diced finely
  • 1 onion, diced finely
  • 250g beef mince
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • ¼ tsp allspice powder
  • 1 tsp tomato puree
  • ½ cup marsala
  • 1+1/2 tsp sweet paprika
  • ¼ tsp chilli flakes
  • The pureed roasted garlic, roughly mashed together
  • The pureed roasted tomatoes
  • ½ cup tomato passata
  • ½ cup chicken stock
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • ½ tsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp worcestershire sauce
  • 2 bayleafs
  • 2 tbsp grated parmesan
  • Handful of fresh basil
Roast the tomato and garlic
  1. Quarter the tomatoes and add to a roasting tin with the garlic cloves (whole, unpeeled).
  2. Sprinkle the tomatoes with rock salt (or normal salt) and a crack of black pepper
  3. Drizzle with olive oil and roast at 180 degrees C for about 30 minutes
  4. (check that the garlic does not get over roasted-it might need removing before the tomatoes).
  5. Once cooked, squeeze the garlic and mash together the roasted centre
  6. Once tomatoes are cooled blitz in a blender to make a tomato sauce Oven roast tomatoes and garlic for the bolognese sauce
Make the Bolognese Sauce
  1. Saute together the onions, celery and carrots for about 5 minutes Saute the onion, celery and carrots for the beef bolognese sauce
  2. Add the mince, black pepper & allspice and fry on a high heat for about 5 minutes (until the mince starts to brown). Use a wooden spoon to push and separate the beef.fry the beef into the bolognese sauce
  3. Add the roasted garlic and 1 tsp tomato puree and fry for 1 minute
  4. Add the paprika and chilli flakes and continue to fry for 1 minute more add the garlic and paprika to the beef bolognese sauce
  5. Add the Marsala and scrape the saucepan while deglazing add marsala to the beef bolognese sauce
  6. Allow the marsala to cook out for 1 minute on a high heat before adding the remainder of the ingredients (pureed roasted tomatoes, passata, stock, oregano, sugar, wocestershire sauce, bay leafs - Save the basil for the end). add remaining ingredients to the beef bolognese sauce
  7. Mix well, turn down the heat and allow to simmer gently for a couple of hours.
  8. Taste after 20 minutes and add more salt or sugar to balance
  9. Finally when the sauce is ready stir in some grated parmesan and the fresh basil. add parmesan and basil to the slow cooked bolognese sauce
  10. Serve with pasta and a final sprinkle of grated parmesan


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