How to make a great bolognese


This is my favourite recipe of all time and all entirely my own.  *PROUD FACE*  And, it’s brilliant because it forms the base of so many great meals: spaghetti bolognese, chilli, cottage pie, lasagne….   By making a big batch of it, you can store several dishes in the freezer, saving yourself a small fortune on last minute supermarket trips and ready meals.  This bolognese is also good defrosted as a post drinking meal when you don’t want to binge on bread or chips.

Here is how you make it.  This makes two large portions but if you double the quantities you can end up with dinner for two and 3 meals to whack in the freezer.


You will need:

A glug of oil

1 onion

1 large carrot

2 cloves of garlic

2 sticks of celery

6 small mushrooms

1 x 400g pack of mince

1 beef oxo cube

Tin of chopped tomatoes

About 50g tomato puree

Some dried basil and oregano

Balsamic vinegar

Worcestershire sauce

Chilli flakes, if you wish

Salt and pepper


Pour a generous glug  of oil in to a big deep frying pan on a medium heat.  Dice the onion, carrot and celery, and crush the garlic and add to the pan to sweat (not fry) for at least 10 minutes until soft.

Next turn up the heat and add this mince. Once browned, add the mushrooms (which should be diced).

Crumble the beef oxo cube into the mixture and stir well so that it is spread evenly through the mixture. Then mix in the chopped tomatoes and tomato puree.  At this stage, give it a generous shake of salt and pepper and a little seasoning of the herbs.

Pour in 1 dessertspoon of Worcestershire sauce and 2 dessertspoons of balsamic vinegar and mix.

Turn the heat up and leave it to bubble for 20 minutes.  You will find that over time the liquid will evaporate, and at this point you can add about 150 ml of water to loosen it up. Should you wish to give it a kick, add a teaspoon of chilli flakes and season to taste.

As I said, this can do two people with pasta, or in lasagne, but if you leave to cool you can get 5 portions to freeze for another day.

To modify it for chilli, add kidney beans, a teaspoon of chilli powder, a teaspoon of cumin and additional chilli flakes.

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