This fast-track recipe for Quick & Easy Spaghetti with Bolognese-style meat sauce is bursting with Italian flavor and cooks in just 30 minutes!
Whether you’re new to cooking or have advanced skills, this simple version of an Italian classic can be home-cooked from scratch and enjoyed by the whole family.
Every Sunday when I was a kid, our sauce would cook all day, and in our house, that was meat sauce. Who knew meat sauce didn’t have to take all day?
Why this recipe works:
- Cooking with fresh aromatics like garlic and onion adds big flavor, which is key to quick and easy recipes.
- Using a combination of fresh and dried herbs gives it a boost in flavor.
- Seasoning the sauce well with salt and pepper makes all the difference in shortening cooking time; it brings out the flavors of all the ingredients.
Making Bolognese meat sauce from scratch can not only be quick and easy, but delicious too!
The evolution of this recipe
I make this a lot and over the years, it’s changed and evolved into my ultimate Quick & Easy Spaghetti Bolognese. I thought it was about time I updated the recipe for all of you.
Here’s what’s changed:
- The original recipe called for browning the meat, draining, and removing it from the pan while the garlic and onions cooked. I changed this as I found that if you use lean meat, it won’t need draining, and cooking it with the onion and garlic adds more flavor.
- I also added tomato paste to the recipe. I did this because I found it adds more flavor to this quick version of a sauce that usually takes hours to cook.
Here’s how to make this delicious dish:
Heat the olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté until lightly golden, 2 to 3 minutes.
Add the garlic and fry another minute.
Add the ground beef
Fry until fully cooked and no pink shows at all in the meat. Then add the tomato paste and mix with the meat.
Add the oregano.
Add chopped tomatoes, parsley, and season with salt and pepper.
Simmer 15 minutes.
Serve with fresh cooked spaghetti.
- Use lean, low fat meat to avoid a greasy sauce.
- Seasoning the meat with salt and pepper adds an extra kick of flavor, which is key to speeding up the cooking time of this sauce.
- Make this sauce your own by adding any fresh or dried herbs of your choice or even some red wine which can be added and cooked down before adding the tomatoes.
- When adding the dried oregano, try rubbing it between your palms to release maximum flavor.
- Use good quality tomatoes. When shopping for ingredients, don’t skimp, the better quality the tomatoes, the better the sauce will be.
- If you have the time, simmering the sauce for longer will add a deeper flavor.
- For extra depth of flavor, add a half cup of wine of your choice before adding the tomatoes.
Cooking Perfect Pasta:
- Use a large pot with enough water to make sure pasta doesn’t stick together. A good rule of thumb is to use at least four quarts of water for every pound of pasta.
- When cooking the pasta, salt like you mean it. This is the only chance you get to add flavor to your spaghetti.
- Test the pasta by tasting it. Use the cooking time on the package as a guide, but set the timer one or two minutes early. Taste pasta and go from there to ensure the texture is right. Pasta should be al dente with a little bite.
Freezing and Making Ahead:
- To freeze Bolognese sauce, store in an airtight, freezer-safe container and freeze up to four months (once defrosted, it cannot be frozen again).
- This Bolognese Sauce can be made ahead and refrigerated in an airtight container for two days.
Watch the video showing how to make this recipe at the top of the post on PC and on mobile, under the recipe card.
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Quick and Easy Spaghetti Bolognese
This recipe we have simplified the technique of this Italian classic so you can create a tasty meal in under 30 minutes.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large onion finely chopped
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1-2 tablespoons dried oregano
- 1 28-ounce can crushed or pureed tomatoes
- 3 cloves garlic chopped
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 good sized handful fresh parsley chopped
- Salt and pepper to taste
- ½ pound spaghetti
- Grated Pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheese for serving optional
Heat the olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté until lightly golden, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the garlic and fry another minute.
Add the ground beef; fry until fully cooked and no pink shows at all in the meat (about 8 minutes). Add the oregano and tomato paste and mix with the meat.
Add the tomatoes, parsley, and bring to a boil. Season with the salt and pepper. Reduce the heat to low, and cook for at least 15 minutes (you can cook longer for a deeper flavor).
- Meanwhile cook the spaghetti according to the package instructions. Drain and serve topped with the sauce and cheese (if using).
Update Notes: This post was originally published on: Feb 2, 2015, but was republished with step by step instructions, new photos, tips, FAQs and a video in August of 2018.