Ah, Spag Bol – what could be better?

Spaghetti Bolonaise

Follow this recipe and you’ll never to have to buy a jar of pasta sauce again!

I often spend a wet Sunday afternoon making a huge pot of this for freezing. It’s a great stand-by for the day when you haven’t the time or the inclination to cook..

Tomato Risotto (3)


  • A fairly large saucepan
  • Sharp knife
  • Chopping board
  • Grater for the Parmesan if using



  • 500g  Beef mince (see NOTES for vegetarian option)P1160822(1)
  • 2 large onions, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped or crushed
  • one small mild green chilli, deseeded and finely chopped – or a small sprinkle of dried Chilli flakes
  • One heaped dessertspoon of dried oregano/Italian herbs/ fresh basil – whatever you have.
  • A beef stock cube – optional
  • 1/2 a glass of red wine
  • A tin of chopped tomatoes (I also throw in a few fresh, deseeded, chopped tomatoes if I have them)
  • A jar of passata, or another tin of tomatoes.
  • A dessertspoon of sun dried tomato paste
  • Salt and pepper
  • A drizzle of  oil


  • Put the saucepan onto a medium-high heat, drizzle in the oil then add the onions and chilli. Immediately add half a cup of water, cover the pan and reduce the heat. Allow the onions to sweat and cook, but not brown.
  • Add the minced beef, Break up the minced beef and stir it around until it starts to  brown. Keep it moving all the time.
  • Crumble in the stock cube now.
  • Add the wine, let it reduce down a little
  • Add the garlic and herbs and stir in. Reduce the heat to medium
  • Add the tin(s) of tomatoes, the passata, and the sun-dried tomato paste


  • Mix well, and adjust the seasoning.
  • Pop on the lid of the saucepan, reduce the heat to a very gentle simmer, and leave there for as long as you like. Check on it occasionally, to make sure that it’s barely moving and not sticking.
  • Bring to simmering point, then turn down the heat and allow it to sit there for as long as possible before using.

TO SERVE: Like most sauces, this will taste better tomorrow, but will certainly make a delicious  dinner now!

  • Spaghetti, or your favourite pasta, cooked al dente.
  • few torn Basil leaves if you have them as a garnish
  • Parmesan Cheese, freshly grated



  • Low fat mince is not as good as say, 10% mince, as the fat helps to thicken the sauce, and adds flavour. However, if you’re watching the calories, it works perfectly well.
  • If you’d like to make this Vegetarian, use Quorn Mince, and use a vegetable Stock cube instead of the beef one. Honestly, no one has ever even realised if I’ve used Quorn!
  • If you have time, leave the pot to simmer on as low a heat as you can manage, then switch it off, and allow to sit overnight.
  • This sauce is ideal for Spaghetti Bolognaise or as the meat sauce in lasagne, or as fillings for cannelloni etc. When I’m making lasagne I just make the sauce a little thicker, so that it’s not too runny. Just let it simmer for a while with the lid off..
  • The chilli is not there to add heat, but to give a depth to the sauce – try it and see how you like it!
  • If it really is a rainy Sunday, feel free to double this recipe and divide it amongst some freezer containers. Don’t underestimate the pure joy of being able to pull this out of the freezer on a busy or stressful day!











I started writing down recipes in an old copybook when I was about 16. With 6 children at home, my Mother was always glad of a hand in the kitchen, and really allowed us to experiment - as long as we washed up afterwards, and left the kitchen immaculate! Having a tidy kitchen has followed me through my life, as has the habit of writing down my favourite recipes; except that these days I write them for my website, and add photographs when I can. The website really started when it occurred to me that my daughter might like to have these recipes when I've forgotten them. In my early days of cooking for family and friends, I used to phone my Mum all the time to ask her for the recipe for some of our favourite family dinners. She rarely had a recipe to hand - I think, like me, she made a lot of it up as she went along.. So welcome to Eating for Ireland - these are the recipes that my friends and family having been eating these past 40 years.. yes, I truly am ancient! They are tried and tested, and have worked for me for all that time - I have updated them as new ingredients became available - I really hope you'll find something that you can make into a family favourite of your own. You don't have to tell anyone where you found these great new dishes that you're serving up - it can be our little secret, but I'd really love it if you could give me a sneaky 'follow' on Facebook and Instagram.. So off you go - have a good rummage around, you're bound to find something new! My sincere thanks to all of you who have found a recipe that you liked and dropped me a line to tell me - I really do love to hear from you! Happy Cooking! Becks xx

Posted in