bolognaise Sauce Recipe

I use to visit this lovely little Italian restaurant in Newcastle in the ’80s called Moulin Rouge on the quayside. I fell in love with the bolognese sauce so much that I asked the chef Marino for the recipe he said my version is smooth, rich, and hearty but the most important thing is to simmer on a low heat for up to 2 hours to get perfection.


The foundation for a great bolognese. is to finely chop your vegetables, so cook them until translucent so they basically disappear into the sauce, leaving their sweet and savory flavors behind.

For the best flavor. 

Fragrant garlic, rich and tangy tomato paste, a 125ml  red wine,  an aromatic bay leaf or two, also fresh basil intensify this beautiful sauce, even more, making your bolognese a master chef creation.

Time is important.

Cooking your sauce for up to two hours might seem a little bit tedious, but it’s well worth it. This slow cooking (or simmering) allows the wine and all the flavors of herbs and spices to really bond with each other.


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 5 rashers smoked streaky bacon, finely chopped ( cut off any fat and discard)
  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 2 celery sticks, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves finely chopped
  • 2-3 sprigs of rosemary leaves picked and finely chopped
  • 500g beef mince

For the bolognese sauce

  • 2 x 400g tins plum tomatoes
  • a small pack of basil leaves picked, ¾ finely chopped and the rest left whole for garnish
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 fresh bay leaves
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • 200ml beef stock
  • 1 red chili deseeded and finely chopped (optional)
  • 125ml red wine
  • 8 cherry tomatoes sliced in half

Serve and enjoy with

  • 75g parmesan grated, plus extra to serve
  • 400g spaghetti
  • 200g white rice
  • crusty bread to serve (optional)


  • STEP 1

    Put a large saucepan on medium heat and add 1 tbsp olive oil.

  • STEP 2

    Add 4 finely chopped bacon rashers and fry for 10 mins until golden and crisp.

  • STEP 3

    Reduce the heat and add the 2 onions, 2 celery sticks, 2 garlic cloves, and the leaves from 2-3 sprigs rosemary, all finely chopped, then fry for 10 mins. Stir the veg often until it softens and the onions become translucent.

  • STEP 4

    Increase the heat to medium-high, add 500g beef mince and cook stirring for a good 8-10 mins until the meat is browned all over.

  • STEP 5

    Add 2 tins plum tomatoes, the finely chopped leaves from ¾ small pack basil, 1 tsp dried oregano, 2 bay leaves, 2 tbsp tomato purée, 1 beef stock, 1 deseeded and finely chopped red chili (if using), 125ml red wine and 8  halved cherry tomatoes. Stir well with a wooden spoon.

  • STEP 6

    Bring to the boil, reduce to a gentle simmer and cover with a lid. Cook for 1 hr 15 mins stirring occasionally, until you have a rich, thick sauce.

  • STEP 7

Optional: Add the 75g grated parmesan into the mix, or sprinkle over when serving.

  • STEP 8

    When the bolognese is nearly finished, cook 400g of spaghetti following the pack instructions.

  • STEP 9

    Drain the spaghetti and either stir it into the bolognese sauce or serve the sauce on top. Serve with more grated parmesan, the remaining basil leaves, and crusty bread, if you like.