Spaghetti Bolognese: Compiling Recipes for Spaghetti Bolognese

Spaghetti bolognese, also known as spaghetti alla bolognese or simply spag bol, is a beloved Italian-inspired dish featuring pasta topped with a rich, meaty tomato sauce. This hearty meal has become a worldwide favorite, enjoyed by families and food enthusiasts alike.

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Origins and History

Contrary to popular belief, spaghetti bolognese does not actually originate from the Italian city of Bologna. The dish is believed to be a variant of the traditional Bolognese sauce, or ragù alla bolognese, which is typically served with tagliatelle or other broad, flat pasta shapes. The pairing of Bolognese sauce with spaghetti gained popularity outside of Italy, particularly in the United Kingdom and United States.

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Key Ingredients

To make an authentic spaghetti bolognese, you’ll need the following key ingredients:

  • Ground beef (preferably 80/20 or 85/15 lean-to-fat ratio)
  • Pancetta or bacon, diced
  • Onion, carrot, and celery (known as soffritto)
  • Garlic, minced
  • Tomatoes (canned whole or crushed, or tomato paste)
  • Wine (red or white, depending on preference)
  • Milk or cream
  • Beef stock
  • Herbs and seasonings (bay leaf, oregano, basil, salt, pepper)
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Cooking Method

Browning the Meat

Start by browning the ground beef and pancetta in a large, heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Break up the meat with a wooden spoon as it cooks, until it is evenly browned and no longer pink.

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Sautéing the Vegetables

Add the diced onion, carrot, and celery to the pot, stirring to combine with the meat. Cook until the vegetables are softened and the onion is translucent, about 5-7 minutes. Add the minced garlic and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes.

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Deglazing and Simmering

Deglaze the pot with a splash of wine, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom. Allow the wine to reduce slightly before adding the tomatoes (or tomato paste) and beef stock. Stir in the milk or cream, along with any desired herbs and seasonings. Bring the sauce to a simmer, then reduce the heat to low and let it cook for 1-2 hours, stirring occasionally.

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Finishing Touches

As the sauce simmers, cook the spaghetti in a separate pot of salted boiling water until al dente. Drain the pasta, reserving some of the starchy cooking water. Toss the spaghetti with the finished Bolognese sauce, adding a splash of pasta water if needed to help the sauce adhere.

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Serving Suggestions

Serve the spaghetti bolognese hot, garnished with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and chopped parsley. Pair with a side of garlic bread or a simple green salad for a complete meal.

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Variations and Tips

  • Experiment with different meats, such as ground pork, veal, or Italian sausage, for added flavor complexity.
  • For a vegetarian version, substitute the meat with finely chopped mushrooms or plant-based crumbles.
  • The sauce can be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 3 months.
  • Avoid common mistakes, such as overcooking the pasta, using too much tomato, or not letting the sauce simmer long enough.
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Conclusion

Spaghetti bolognese is a comforting, satisfying meal that has earned its place as a beloved classic. While it may require some time and effort to prepare, the end result is well worth it – a rich, flavorful sauce that perfectly complements the tender pasta. Whether you’re cooking for your family or hosting a dinner party, spaghetti bolognese is sure to be a crowd-pleaser.

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