My favourite spaghetti bolognese recipe

Bolognese is a hotly discussed topic on many blogs, everyone seems to have a different recipe and everyone has their opinions on what should be  in the sauce, so after lots of experimenting and borrowing bits from various places around the web I’ve finally got a recipe that I want to make again and again and again.

It’s taken a fair bit of experimenting with the herbs but the hardest decision was whether to use white wine or red wine…the white seemed to give it a lighter, sweeter flavour and the red more meaty and robust.

I took the star anis out after about 6 hours just so I didn’t forget to take it out at the end.

I also made the decision to make it all in a pan then put it in the slow cooker on medium for about 8 hours just because I think mince tastes way better when its been cooked for a long time at a low heat.


  • 500g lean minced beef
  • 90g smoked bacon lardons/pancetta
  • 1 large carrot, diced.
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 8 chestnut mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • Nutmeg, to grate.
  • 1 tbsp Hendersons Relish (or Worcestershire sauce)
  • 400g tin of chopped tomatoes with herbs
  • 187ml bottle of red wine
  • 2 bay leaves.
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • 60ml milk
  • Parmesan cheese, grated.
  • 1 tsp Tabasco
  • olive oil
  • 1 beef stock cube
  • Spaghetti or pasta to serve with.


  1. Heat a large pan, add a splash of olive oil followed by the bacon, fry the bacon for a few minutes until its golden brown, add the mince and stir well, cook the mince until its browned.
  2. Add the tomato puree and Hendersons Relish, stir again.
  3. Add the onions, mushrooms and carrots, cook until the mushrooms are soft, stirring regularly to stop it sticking to the pan.
  4. Tip in the small bottle of red wine and bring to the boil
  5. Once the red wine has reduced, crumble in the stock cube then add the tomato along with all of the herbs and spices apart from the star anise and bay leaves, grate about 1/4 of a nutmeg over and stir well.
  6. Cook for 10minutes until the sauce has thickened and any water has evaporated.
  7. Remove from the heat and stir in the milk along with 2 tablespoons of grated Parmesan.
  8. Taste and then season with salt and pepper.
  9. Add the bay leaves and star anise then tip into you slow cooker and cook for 4-8 hours on a medium heat.
  10. Serve with pasta and some garlic bread.

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