Nigel Slater's Really Good Spaghetti Bolognese

By • March 4, 2014 • 42 Comments



Author Notes: A bolognese that works around your schedule -- and might even be better than Nonna's, thanks to a secret ingredient or four. Adapted slightly from The Kitchen Diaries (Gotham Books, 2006).Genius Recipes

Serves 4

For the bolognese

  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 3 ounces cubed pancetta
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 fat cloves garlic
  • 1 carrot
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 2 large, flat mushrooms such as portobello, about 4 ounces
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 pound ground beef or lamb
  • 1 cup crushed tomatoes or passata
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • 3/4 cups stock
  • 1 nutmeg
  • 3/4 cups half-and-half or cream

For serving

  • Spaghetti or tagliatelle for 4
  • Grated Parmesan
  1. Melt the butter in a large, heavy-based pot -- then stir in the pancetta and let it cook for five minutes or so, without coloring much. Meanwhile peel and finely chop the onion and garlic and stir them into the pancetta. Peel and finely chop the carrot and celery and stir them in, too. Lastly, finely chop the mushrooms and add to the pan, then tuck in the bay leaves and leave to cook for ten minutes over a moderate heat, stirring frequently.
  2. Turn up the heat and tip in the meat, breaking it up well with a fork.
  3. Now leave to cook without stirring for a good three or four minutes, then, as the meat on the bottom is starting to brown, stir again, breaking up the meat where necessary, and leave to color.
  4. Mix in the tomatoes, red wine, stock, a grating of nutmeg and some salt and black pepper, letting it come to the boil. Turn the heat down so that everything barely bubbles. There should be movement, but one that is gentle, not quite a simmer. Partially cover the pan with a lid and leave the 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.
  5. Pour in the half-and-half or cream a bit at a time, stir and continue cooking for twenty minutes. Check the seasoning, then serve with the pasta and grated Parmesan.
Jump to Comments (42)

Tags: pasta

Comments (42) Questions (3)

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Ju_-_sky_eyes_-_jan_2012

13 days ago Transcendancing

Loved this, worth the time and effort most definitely. The sauce without the cream tastes incredible, and with the cream is a different kind of incredible. I'm very impressed by the flavour of the sauce - it reminds me of Bolognaise sauce but... also feels markedly different. I will definitely make this again for a dinner party of some sort. I used beef mince and home made beef stock. My stock is unsalted and I also found that I didn't need to salt the sauce at all - the celery I think does the job of salt very well in this recipe. I also like that it seems to be a fairly forgiving recipe in terms of amounts - I roughly measured the liquids, erring on a little more rather than less and ended up with the perfect ratio.

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about 1 month ago IMOm

Absolutely delicious! Quadrupled recipe first time I made it for a big party & people were scraping down the bowl. Paws asked to make it for another party tomorrow! That makes u feel good!

Vislab

about 1 month ago dhyka darwin

I made this recipe just now, subs the cream with milk. and used combination of olive oil and butter. Amazing flavour, better than the one in the Italian restaurant. :p

Me

2 months ago jampot

This was so yummy! I know we'll make it again and again. Made it to spec!

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3 months ago Janet

accidentally forgot about the cream and just chowed down, thinking it was delicious, only to realize half way into my bowl of pasta that i left out the cream. oh well! just letting people know it's still good without the dairy!

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3 months ago ktchnninja

soooo good! thanks for the recipe. followed exactly but found I needed about double the tomato/stock/wine mix over the course of 1 hour and 15 minutes. I did use the full 3/4 cup of half-and-half but would prefer it at about 3/8 cup to 1/2 cup. It was a little creamy/rich for my liking. However, the flavors were incredibly deep and rich. I also loved the texture from the carrots and celery. Great recipe!

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3 months ago tastysweet

I noticed that all of the comments are separated from the main recipe page to the full recipe page. Any way they can be all in one place? Does this make sense?

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4 months ago gasgirl

I only commented about the serving dish..asking who made them. I had not made the recipe....But..now..I made this sauce and loved it! So good and the mushrooms are the secret! Make it..you will not regret it!

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4 months ago m.juliusbrown

Just made it. I really enjoyed it. Thank you.

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4 months ago JulieBee

WOW! Made this yesterday and it was so easy, relatively quick and fabulous. The wine, garlic and portobello give this extra deep flavor and the cream tenderizes the meat to perfection. I added 1/4 cup cream and let that simmer with sauce until the end, then I added the rest for extra goodness. Superb, really, and all in just 4 hours.

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4 months ago gasgirl

have a silly question...who makes the serving dish? thanks! great recipe!!

Miglore

4 months ago Kristen Miglore

Kristen is the Executive Editor of Food52

The plate is from Mud Australia -- we love their stuff.

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4 months ago gasgirl

Thanks Kristen...I appreciate your responding...I love the bowl and will look on their site. Thought it was Heath! Thanks again!

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4 months ago gasgirl

Ok...another question on the bowl...is this the nest bowl....do you know the size..is this a single serve bowl or the serving bowl/large? I do appreciate your help! I love their pieces and color selection!

Miglore

4 months ago Kristen Miglore

Kristen is the Executive Editor of Food52

I think it actually might be the salad plate!

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4 months ago gasgirl

Thanks again Kristen...Wow...did not think this is a salad plate...although..the salad plate is flared ..and almost 8 inches in diameter..I think I will order...I like the mist..or the blue..what do you think? I feel like you are my personal shopper! LOL ....seriously..very appreciative!! love ceramics and pottery...especially Italian..but now mqy be into Australian!! Have a good weekend!

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4 months ago Lisa Miyasaki

the cream kills the recipe

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4 months ago tastysweet

I have used bucatoni for my bolognese. I like the heartyness of this pasta for this kind of sauce. If doubled, do we just double every ingredient?

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4 months ago Stella

I would double most ingredients,yes! Made this with ground Turkey the second time(lamb the first). Really good with Turkey!!! I freeze it for another week. Works with many types of pasta but, I like Linguine.

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4 months ago Brooke

"1 nutmeg" is the measurement here? ...teaspoon? pinch? a teaspoon seems like a lot, but anyone have any thoughts?

Miglore

4 months ago Kristen Miglore

Kristen is the Executive Editor of Food52

Check out step 4 -- you're just adding "a grating", but it should ideally be freshly grated from a whole nutmeg.

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4 months ago Stella

Didn't like Lamb so, will make it again with ground Turkey!

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5 months ago riverdwell

Lamb? Oh please; don't suggest Americans use lamb in any shape or form. We'll take the corned beef for St. Patrick's Day anytime, too.

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5 months ago nicole webster

What are the nutritional values of this recipe? calories, carbs, fat?

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5 months ago James Eagle

stupid question. What kind of stock? beef?

Miglore

5 months ago Kristen Miglore

Kristen is the Executive Editor of Food52

Not stupid at all -- we used chicken because we had it on hand, but beef would be great too.

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5 months ago jlyn

Have made this twice following the recipe to the letter. Delicious!

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5 months ago Nikki Hahn

I followed this exact recipe except a paleo version. Used full fat coconut milk and almond flour fettuccine noodles. Delicious!

Kroka_kitchen

5 months ago maryvelasquez

Followed the recipe to the letter. Spectacular! Will definitely make again.

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5 months ago Mary Kay

can this recipe be frozen?

Miglore

5 months ago Kristen Miglore

Kristen is the Executive Editor of Food52

Yes, absolutely.

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5 months ago CarlaCooks

I made this last night and it was great! It tasted so rich and meaty even though it's chock full of vegetables. I substituted a few things: I used 4 slices of bacon instead of the pancetta; I used finely cubed celery root instead of celery (I can't wait for spring, I'm getting awfully tired of getting celery root in my CSA box, but this was a nice way to use some of it); I used one can of tomatoes instead of the one cup of crush tomatoes.

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5 months ago CarlaCooks

One more change: I added one thick leek, quartered and finely sliced, since it was withering away in my fridge. I added it to the pot when I added the onions and garlic.

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5 months ago Kerryloves2travel

Super with green lasagna noodles. Try Delverde instant lasagna (no bake) egg or spinach.
Had in years ago in Italy & recently in Italian restaurant. Great to have a quicker version that is yummy. Salud!

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5 months ago Barbara Olsen

We will be making it for dinner....I want to add that I love food 52, it is
inspiring.

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5 months ago Kerstin

I made this last night for today's lunch. So easy and quick, and it tastes divine. Can't wait for lunchtime :)

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5 months ago Renata

My boyfriend agreed on going to the gym if I make him this pasta! Thanks!

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5 months ago Cathy Gordon

maybe sub soymilk.

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5 months ago JohnL

From the description, the mushrooms seem to be a key ingredient. Can you think of something with similar texture that you can eat that you might substitute so you don't leave a hole in the texture profile of the dish? If you like moussaka, that dish has the beef/lamb option and always includes eggplant which gives that dish a nice satiny plush texture that you might be able to use to advantage in this Bolognese recipe without the portobellos. If I were trying it that way, I would buy the long slender eggplants that don't have as many seeds, peel and dice them for sure and cook them down a bit before adding to the recipe. You might just come up with something great! Nutmeg is wonderful with eggplant, too.

Baci1

5 months ago HalfPint

HalfPint is a trusted home cook.

If you are allergic to milk and mushrooms, it would best to make another meat sauce without either. I found this dairy free bolognese without the mushrooms. Haven't tried it, but it sounds and looks good. She used coconut milk and swears that you won't even taste it in the final sauce:
http://dairylandmashup...

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4 months ago Ziggy

Yes yes yes! I didn't have mushrooms so I tried this with aubergine and it was delicious and silky, although if you aren't allergic to mushrooms I'm sure that their earthy base notes would be very welcome here as well. Excellent tip JohnL!