Spaghetti alla Bolognese

Everybody knows how to make spaghetti bolognese, atleast attempted to cook once. It looks easy with minced beef and some garlic, onions, tomato paste…etc. Because I have a peculiar taste bud that is super sensitive to sourness, and because of how Malaysian bolognese is often too sour for me (too much tomato paste), I didn’t enjoy much of the spaghetti bolognese.

Until one day when I was invited to Fred’s house for his home cooked spaghetti bolognese, I got to taste the better version of it and not the cheap Malaysia restaurant recipe, or the out of the can bolognese sauce.

I started making it a few times myself while living in Singapore, some came out delicious, some failed, never really quite gotten to the consistency of it. Now living with the OCD classic spaghetti freak, to my surprise, he eats the non classic spaghetti bolognese. I have only found this out this morning as I was wikipedia-ing the origins of this dish.

Anyway, I quite like this version that we made and it is one of those addictive pasta I could keep eating and not sure if I haven’t got enough of the spaghetti or the sauce.

Ingredients (serving for 4):

spaghetti bolognese

  • Spaghetti (80gram/p for a big eater, 60gram/p for a normal portion)
  • Minced beef 250 gram
  • 1 carrot – chopped finely
  • 1/2 medium capsicum – chopped finely
  • 1 onion – chopped finely
  • 4 cloves garlic – chopped finely
  • 2 stalks parsley – chopped finely
  • 2 tomatoes – chopped finely
  • 1/2 can of canned tomatoes (when using very sweet cherry tomatoes this is not needed, but then use a lot of cherry tomatoes)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Salt
  • Sugar
  • Black pepper
  • Olive oil
  • 1 chili padi (optional) – chopped finely
  • Celery – I would like some but didn’t have in my fridge, 1 stick, finely chopped
  • Basil – for garnishing
Heat up a pan with some (non extra virgin) olive oil, add the minced beef and keep stir frying until they break into small pieces. 
spaghetti bolognese

Add the onions, garlic, and chili. Keep stirring.

spaghetti bolognese

Add the bay leaves, carrots, capsicums, celery (if you have). Add more olive oil if it’s too dry. Start cooking your spaghetti, boil them in boiling water for 8 minutes with 1 tablespoon salt in the water.

spaghetti bolognese  spaghetti bolognese

Add tomatoes, canned tomatoes and parsley into your sauce, add 2 ladles of boiling water from the spaghetti pot into your sauce and let it boil and soften the tomatoes. Watch your timing on the spaghetti. Some spaghetti have shorter or longer boiling time, make sure you read the instruction on the packaging to get the perfect al dente bite.

spaghetti bolognese

Add some black pepper into the sauce, a pinch of sugar does wonders to it too. Add your spaghetti when it’s cooked, add a few more splashes of (extra virgin) olive oil, mix well and serve. Garnish with some basil.

spaghetti bolognese


About MyTasteHisTaste

Love eating and wine drinking.
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One Response to Spaghetti alla Bolognese

  1. Willem says:

    For this maybe most famous pasta dish, think tomato when you choose wine: there is some hidden acidity, there is the sweetness, and there is umami. Tomato is to Italian cooking what soy sauce is to Chinese cooking (and stock to French cooking fort hat matter).

    Thus, your wine needs enough ‘filling’, enough taste power, to stand up. It cannot be bone dry since there is sweetness (especially since Aiwee adds some sugar – you will not taste any sweetness, it just provides base taste), and it needs some acidity, otherwise after eating your nice wine will suddenly appear flabby.

    I seem to be promoting Soave wine a lot – I’m no huge fan, but I do think the few good wines have versatile gastronomic use. For this dish, I would opt for the fullest of my three favs: the Inama, preferably one of their mid level cuvee’s.

    The other versatile food wine is the pinot grigio – as always, go for a bit more expensive one, and as always, a recent year.
    The Alto Adige ones have the filling you want (as described earlier, they ripe well thanks to the Mediterranean hot air climbing up the mountains, and they ripe a bit longer, because of the high altitude colder nights, so more taste can develop and freshness is kept alive).
    We drank Cantina Tramin pinot grigio ‘Unterebner’, one of the nicest you can get. Other nice houses are Vie di Romans, Schiopetto, Colterenzio, Kofererhof, and San Michele Appiano.

    This dish I think is one that also can go well with a high quality fuller and dry rose wine. Now rose is often bunk. It is sold for the colour which apparently makes people happy. Surely the taste will not make me happy in most cases.
    Of course, there are exceptions.
    Good rose come from France, from the Provence region. Also in the rest of the South East some good ones can be found, for example from the cherry-fruity cinsault grape.
    But, the Provence rules! Small municipalities like Bandol are king. Here they often use the mourvedre grape. My favourite, especially with food, are the Domaine Tempier rose wines. Really stunning and powerful.
    For the nice summer ones, take for example Chateau les Crostes. Very nice and subtle, but full enough for food beyond salad nicoise.

    Last but not least, I feel this pasta alla Bolognese can go with red wine as well. The red should be light. Have acidity, and no (apparent) wood.
    Sticking to Italy, Valpolicella comes to mind. The red of the same region (Veneto) as Soave. Same problem: most are not good, some are really nice. The ripasso ones come with more body. The have been in contact with the left over skins used to make Amarone, a famous wine from that region, made by hald dried grapes. Nice houses are Le Salette, Tedeschi, Zenato.
    Another Italian red wine that one often encounters is Montepulciano d’Abruzzo. The first word is the grape. In structure it is more or less alike, though the better ones can be leaning towards quite full. Aromatically the good ones bring some nice earthy tones next to the fruit. Good houses are Nicodemi, Valle Reale, Umani Ronchi, La Valentina and the famous Masciarelli (this house also makes a great white Trebbiano!).
    Then a last suggestion: Dolcetto. A grape from the North West hills, the terrain of the king of wines: Barolo. Let me not talk too much about these, but just suggest you try a Dolcetto from for example Anna Maria Abbona, and enjoy it a lot!

    N.B.: these reds can be from 2 to 4 years old, maybe five years old. So with that range of years to choose from, go for a better year.
    Very broadly speaking in Italy anything from 2004 onwards is good, with 2006 and 2007 often winning, 2008 very nice but slightly less, and 2009 appearing good.

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