Nigel Slater's Really Good Spaghetti Bolognese

We know you already have a recipe for spaghetti sauce. But this recipe is SO GOOD. We highly recommend trying it, even if you already have a favourite recipe.


  • 4 tablespoons butter

  • 6 slices of uncooked bacon, diced

  • 1 medium onion, diced

  • 2 large cloves of garlic

  • 1 carrot, diced

  • 2 stalks of celery, diced

  • 2 portobello mushrooms, diced

  • 2 bay leaves

  • 1 pound ground beef

  • 1 cup of crushed tomatoes (you can crush fresh tomatoes, or use canned)

  • 1/4 cup red wine

  • 3/4 cup beef stock

  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg

  • Salt & pepper, to taste

  • 3/4 cup half-and-half or cream

  • Spaghetti for 4

  • Grated Parmesan cheese for garnish


  1. Melt the butter in a large pot, then stir in the bacon and let it cook for five minutes or so, until it is still soft, but seems ~cooked. Stir the onion and garlic into the pot, then add the carrots and celery. Add the mushrooms, then tuck in the bay leaves and cook for ten minutes over moderate heat, stirring frequently.

  2. Turn up the heat and add in the meat, breaking it up with a fork.

  3. Leave the mixture to cook without stirring for a good 3-4 minutes, then, as the meat on the bottom is starting to brown, stir again, breaking up the meat where necessary, and leave to colour again.

  4. Once the meat has finished cooking in this fashion, mix in the tomatoes, red wine, stock, nutmeg, salt and black pepper, letting it come to the boil. Turn the heat down so that everything barely bubbles.

  5. Partially cover the pan with a lid, then leave to putter away for an hour to an hour and a half, stirring from time to time and checking the liquid levels. You don't want it to be dry - add more stock as needed.

  6. After the hour and a half has lapsed, pour in the half-and-half or cream a bit at a time, stirring, and continue cooking for another twenty minutes.

  7. Cook the spaghetti as per package instructions.

  8. Check the seasoning, then serve with the pasta and grated Parmesan.

Recipe adapted from Food 52

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