Spaghetti Bolognese For Presto Pasta Nights

I am submitting this recipe for Spaghetti Bolognese to Presto Pasta Nights, which is being hosted this week by Simona of Briciole

I have read a few recipes for this classic ragu in the past couple of weeks, and here is mine for Spaghetti Bolognese. I once read that there is in fact no traditional ragu from Bologna. We commonly refer to this sauce as bolognaise which is the French term. When we were on honeymoon in 2003 we went to Bologna twice. The first time we arrived in the morning and went straight to the Ducati factory. This in itself was an adventure which you can read about here. The second time we went was to go to Ferrari (notice a theme?) We arrived in the morning from Rome and checked into our hotel. We then walked back to the train station and started the very long journey to Maranello. We caught a train to Modena and then from the train station, we caught a bus to the bus station. And from the bus station we caught a bus to Maranello. And when we got out of the bus, and started walking to Ferrari, we saw a sign “Bologna 43km”. Our trip had taken 2 hours. We walked around the Ferrari museum, and it is amazing and we spent some money in the shop. After this wonderful walk through history we went to the bus station to reverse our trip. However, we had a wait for the bus and so we walked around the cemetery and then we went to Nello’s pub and looked closely at the walls at all the famous Formula 1 winners’ signatures, including Jody Scheckter’s. After our visit to the pub we caught a bus and another bus and then went to the ticket machine at the train station but there was no train to Bologna! Thankfully we knew that the train to Rome would stop there and so we got our tickets (and watched some Italians follow us with gratitude) and went back to the hotel. That night when we went for supper I had a ragu, a traditional Bolognese, nothing at all like the ones I had previously made! This recipe is not traditional in the slightest, but is made with the memory of Bologna close to mind.

Spaghetti Bolognese
Spaghetti Bolognese
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Spaghetti Bolognese

Recipe Category: Italian
All Rights Reserved: An original recipe from Lavender and Lime


  • 15 mls olive oil
  • 1 onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1 red chilli, deseeded and chopped
  • 200 g minced beef
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to season
  • 400 g tinned chopped tomatoes
  • 5 mls dried origanum
  • 30 mls olive tapenade
  • 125 mls red wine
  • 10 g parmesan, grated


  • heat the olive oil in a large pot and sauté the onion until soft
  • add the garlic and the chilli and cook for one minute
  • add the beef, and brown
  • season before adding the tomatoes
  • add the origanum, olive tapenade and wine
  • simmer for 30 minutes with the lid off on a low heat
  • turn the heat up to medium when you put your water on to boil
  • cook the spaghetti as per the packet instructions
  • drain, and add to the sauce
  • serve with the parmesan as garnish

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22 thoughts on “Spaghetti Bolognese For Presto Pasta Nights

  1. Probably the most misinterpreted recipe in the world. I have eaten really horrible attempts by people to make it, yours looks very edible 🙂

  2. Not something Pete enjoys so I never make it – think it might be another boarding school thing. Yours looks superb though – I might have to come and enjoy a plate of it at your place sometime.
    🙂 Mandy

  3. It´s true – none of my Italian family really ever eat this. Perhaps with larger chunks of meat braised in the sauce as a ragú, then taken out and eaten after the pasta with tomato sauce. Having said that, I adore it and love the addition of the olive tapenade. What a great idea!

  4. Your recipe sounds perfect and really looks like you’ve improved on an already good thing. I hope you havea great day. Blessings…Mary

  5. I have been to Bologna a couple of times: I really like the city. I have to admit that I have not been to either Ferrari or Ducati. I am glad you have good memories of your visit. Making this pasta dish is a way of bringing back the feeling of being in Bologna. Thank you so much for our contribution to Presto Pasta Night!

    1. Thanks Simona, we are planning to spend some more time in Bologna on our next visit to Italy so that we can see more that motorsport things 🙂

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