Spaghetti Bolognaise

Spaghetti Bolognaise topped with grated parmigiano-reggiano

Spaghetti Bolognaise topped with grated parmigiano-reggiano

When I was a kid growing up in Malaysia, spaghetti bolognaise seemed to be just about the only Italian food cooked in Malaysian households. For some peculiar reason, most local Asian restaurants in Malaysia at the time would invariably include this dish on their menu.

I dreaded spag bol and tried to avoid it like a plague every time. Maybe it wasn’t the taste I disliked but perhaps it got worse when it was sprinkled with this nasty piece of work:

Remember this nasty piece of shock horror ??

Kraft’s grated parmesan gave me bed-wetting nightmares let alone adding it to my food.

Dated as it may be with so many new pasta recipes, spag bol is truly an Italian classic. It is like Beethoven’s symphony no. 5, you may be so sick of it but man it’s here to stay!

I can’t quite remember my spag bol turning point but my taste gradually changed when I came to Sydney and experienced different variations of pasta in some of the honest and no-fuss Italian restaurants here.

Although it’s not a favourite of Mysaucepan, I love spag bol now and will always fondly remember it as much as I disliked it in my earlier years.

Ingredients for spaghetti bolognaise

Ingredients for spaghetti bolognaise


1 bottle of passata / pasta sauce
1 can of peeled tomatoes
2 fresh ripened tomatoes
2 carrots
1 large onion
10 white mushrooms
1 kg of mixed beef, veal and pork mince (depending on your ratio preference)
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoon dried herbs


Reggiano Parmigiano

A half decent block of cheese!!

Chop carrots into your favourite bite shapes

Cut carrots into your favourite bite shapes

Sweat onions and add salt and black pepper immediately

Sweat onions and add salt and black pepper immediately

Add chopped carrots to onions

Add chopped carrots to onions

Add mince and sear all side

Add mince and sear all side

Searing mince as I would a slap of tenderloin :)
Roughly break mince up to bits and chunks

Roughly break mince up to bits and chunks

Willows Shiraz, Barossa Valley, South Australia

Willows Shiraz, Barossa Valley, South Australia

While the pot is cooking, why not have a glass of wine and take in the beautiful aromas from your pot :). I was sipping on a 2008 shiraz from The Willows Vineyards from the Barossa Valley in South Australia. Matured in French and American oak, this wine has beautiful hints of spicy cinnamon and dare I say I added a generous splash into the cooking pot.

Add fresh and peeled tomatoes

Add fresh and peeled tomatoes

I always use 3 types of tomatoes in my spag bol – fresh ripen tomatoes, peeled and canned tomatoes and a passata because it adds taste and textural complexity to the tomato-based sauce.

Add pasta sauce

Add pasta sauce

Add dried herbs of thyme, rosemary, oregano, basil, marjoram and sage

Add dried herbs of thyme, rosemary, oregano, basil, marjoram and sage

Add sliced mushrooms

Add sliced mushrooms

Stir, simmer and let all flavours infuse

Stir, simmer and let all flavours infuse

Cook pasta to al dente in boiling salted water

Cook pasta to al dente in boiling salt water

Serve and sprinkle with shaved parmigiano-reggiano

Serve and sprinkle with shaved parmigiano-reggiano

So dear readers, what is your favourite pasta dish?

Spaghetti Bolognaise topped with grated parmigiano-reggiano

What's not to like about this mouthful?

Click on any of the photos to view ChopinandMysaucepan‘s favourite recipes or simply click here.

The Willows Vineyard
Light Pass road
Light Pass, South Australia
(08) 8562 1080
Cellar door: 10.30am – 4.30pm

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34 Responses to Spaghetti Bolognaise

  1. Oh spaghetti bolognese was my favorite dish when I was growing up, and actually still my top 3 spaghetti dish. I always choose this dish first when I visit a new Italian restaurant…just to compare which one is the best of best. Your pictures look so good that I got craving again! Seriously I’ll be cooking it tomorrow. Your bolognese looks amazing. Thanks for your inspiration!

    • Chopinand says:

      Hi Nami,

      I’m really fond of this old world classic. Italian comfort food if you will. I’ll be interested to compare notes with your spag bol :)

  2. Spaghetti Bol is so loved that it has been Australia’s most beloved dish for the last decade, it’s just now being edged out by Pad Thai, talk about multiculturalism!

    • Chopinand says:

      You might add Vietnamese pho, Malaysian laksa, Singapore’s chilli crab, Japanese sushi, Lebanese kebabs, Turkish gozleme, Chinese yum cha etc etc.. :)

  3. Since I’ve always been dairy intolerant, and meanwhile also know that I have wheat and carb sensitivity, pasta dishes are a little tricky for me. I don’t know when I had spaghetti bolognese for the last time, it must’ve been years, and I think I only ate it a few times in my life overall.

    However, I’ve been thinking about recreating this dish in an adaptation for some time now, and since canned tomatoes, carrots, and brown onions are pretty much the only things I can afford this month, I think that’s what going to be for dinner tonight!

    The most beautiful pasta dish I’ve ever eaten (at a restaurant in Lucerne, Switzerland, while having a view of the beautiful lake) was spaghetti with a rosemary-flavored tomato sauce and steamed fish filet. I also like everything that has some kind of seafood in it.

    Oh, and I can never get sick of Beethoven’s Symphony no. 5! 😀 Okay, most people (not you) only know the first few bars of the 1st movement, but also the rest of the symphony is actually very beautiful! I remember we analyzed the whole symphony in music lessons back at school, and when I listened to the complete first movement (loud!) for the first time, I was totally stunned and high for the next couple of days. This marked the beginning of several months of intense Beethoven exposition.

    My favorite part of the whole symphony (I always have certain parts in a piece that I love the most) is from the beginning of the third movement, this little solo of the strings … (1:15-1:38 in the vid, especially the climax which starts at about 1:25). This always makes my flesh creep!

    • Chopinand says:

      I do like Beethoven’s no. 5 for the mere fact it is one of the most important classical pieces ever written.

      The other reason I like this piece is because C minor as a key is dark, haunting, dramatic and mysterious to me. Incidentally, our favourite Rachmaninoff piano concerto no. 2 is also in C minor :)

      Thanks for posting video here! I love the strings motive leading to the huge intro by the horns :)

  4. Jill Colonna says:

    I really enjoyed your post. You made me laugh so much about the parmesan. Yes, that was definitely enough to make us run away from good ol’ spag bol. Once you have the good stuff, no turning back. In fact, the kids say that I eat more parmesan than pasta. Shame on me. Reminds me will need to get more and add it to my ChopinLizst (sorry, couldn’t resist: old joke.) Also enjoy your reference to Beethoven 5. :-)
    Love the look of your Shiraz from Barossa. Can just imagine the aromas. Cheers!

    • Chopinand says:

      Thanks Jill.

      I still remember the Kraft cheese going bad and it becomes a huge hard lump inside the container and it won’t sprinkle through the small opening! Add fresh oysters to your ChopinLiszt too coz talking about old world food, mornay is one of my favourites! :)

  5. JasmyneTea says:

    My favourite would have to be a dish I had at La Tratt in Fairfield, a duck and porcini mushroom tortellini in a sherry jus with caramelised pear. Yum!

    • Chopinand says:

      Haven’t heard of La Tratt though the dish you described sounds delicious. Will need to check it out.

  6. Dolly says:

    u make me hungry..

    now i want to make some… :(

  7. Totally agree that the mixture of mince is the key. My favourite pasta dish would be the spag bol that Cheesecake Boy cooks :)

  8. I love spaghetti bolognese! It’s my favourite pasta dish. I like other pasta dishes too, but in the end I always return to the old spaghetti bolognese :D)

  9. tigerfish says:

    I know this is going to be esp yummy cos of the carrots. I made a meat sauce recently using carrots – just so good!

  10. rebecca says:

    love it a classic :-)

  11. Looks great! Spag bol is such a classic.

  12. Ameena says:

    I’m not go to lie…I grew up on the fake Kraft cheese and currently have a container of it in my fridge. If it’s any consolation it’s Trader Joe’s brand though…

    You are one super talented cook and an awesome photographer. I love the first photo of this post!

  13. Melissa says:

    I literally lol-ed at the Kraft’s grated parmesan, cuz my family still uses that for spaghetti back in Singapore! It was the only kind of parmesan you could get – what? 10 years ago?

    But while spag bol is definitely up there as a strong fave pasta contender, I prefer spaghetti vongole and garlic and chilli pasta (the preferred quickie).

    • Chopinand says:

      Hi Melissa

      Do you also remember Blue Nun and the Mateus Rose? That was about the only bottle of white and “red” wine available in Malaysia back then!

  14. OohLookBel says:

    I love that you can now buy parmesan blocks at the fruit market. Perfect for this lovely bolognese!

  15. I know what you mean about that ghastly green container, it was everywhere for a while! Your version is loads better with the real reggiano :)

  16. This is one of my favorite dishes and it looks like you took it to a whole new level! Looks amazing!

  17. Rach says:

    No surprise here, but I LOVE spaghetti bolognese and this looks completely amazing! :)

  18. Amanda says:

    I love coming to a blog by someone not from the United States and seeing metric unit of measure being used.

    I’m a nurse and actually know what the measurements mean! Your recipe looks amazing! My favorite Italian dish is spaghetti Bolognaise, although I try to order something different when I try a new restaurant.

    • Chopinand says:

      Hi Amanda,

      I still think in terms of the imperial measurement at times especially in feet and inches!

  19. Susan says:

    I used to love the green fake cheese! I used to put heaps of it on my pasta. Oh how times have changed now though. My favourite pasta is a tuna pasta that my boyfriend makes. I could eat it every day!

    • Chopinand says:

      Hi Susan,

      I may not go as far as saying it’s “fake cheese” but I suppose it did serve its purpose for a long of dishes that needed parmesan …. just stir it right in so that it disappears!

  20. mashi says:

    Yum, I made something really similar for dinner last night, except I used chicken mince as I don’t eat beef, added zucchini and used fresh pasta. Was divine, love homemade pasta sauces mmm

  21. I am glad you fell in love with spag bol again, I really like your recipe, the one I did was from stratch using red wine and beef stock but it takes ages for it to reduce. Also I could still strongly taste the alcohol after that. Yours is perfect using 3 kind of tomato base as sauce. Also I have never tried using two meats, that’s a great idea. I will try that this weekend !

  22. I love spag bol, it’s just so perfect in any weather.

    I’m a big fan, but have never had two types of meat mince before.

  23. Paul Germany says:

    Spaghetti Bolongnese should be made with Parma Ham or Smoked Bacon, of course Minced Beef and the Best Fresh Italian Plum Tomatoes, all Slowly Cooked (Several Hours until the Tomatoes are Paste), Enjoy!

    • Chopinand says:

      Hi Paul,

      The recipe for spag bol, like any other, has different variations. As long as the key ingredients are used and cooked properly, I think the end result should be delicious.

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