Beef · Dairy-Free · Gluten-Free

Spaghetti Bolognese


I think this must be one of our more famous dishes. It shows up all over the place – and not only in italian restaurants. But one of the first things I learnt about in my italian classes, and when I used all my pennies to visit Italy, was that there is no such thing as Spaghetti Bolognese. It’s a western appropriation of another common dish, which I was told is more likely to be pasta like Spaghetti al Ragu. I was interested to learn the differences because I find it so fascinating how transferring dishes from one country to another can change them so dramatically – in name, flavour or even style of cooking. I also had a similar experience while eating with my friend Xi Yue, who told me that what we think of as Sichuan cooking actually pales by comparison to the real cooking from that area of china. I thought ours was spicy enough, but she told me that ours is not at all as spicy as the real deal.It really is interesting to see how dishes are changed to suit different cultures and tastes. But I’m not sure that any dish is so famous for it as Spaghetti Bolognese. It was a staple dish of childhood, I could find it everywhere I went – even in fast food places. But there are actually so many different ways of cooking it that I have never tasted a sauce exactly like another. It gives this dish a sort of freshness in that I can expect it never to be the same old thing. But the other great thing about it is that it can be made gluten and dairy free, especially since there are so many nice gluten-free pasta brands in the world. In truth I actually prefer some gluten-free penne pastas and some gluten-free fettuccine pastas to the ones that contain gluten. I think it has something to do with their flavour being more robust. But I hope you all enjoy this recipe as much as I did for my lunch!


Spaghetti Bolognese

Serves: 4-5, Prep: 10-15 mins, Cook: 30-35 mins


  • 500g beef mince
  • 1 brown onion, finely diced
  • 100g tomato paste
  • 1 generous drizzle of red wine
  • Black pepper to taste
  • Olive oil, for cooking
  • 100g button mushrooms, finely diced (optional)
  • 1 zucchini, finely grated (optional)
  • 1 carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp mixed herbs
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 400g of crushed tomatoes
  • 1 packet of gluten free spaghetti


  1. Prepare the vegetables and set aside the zucchini and mushrooms (if using them).
  2. Pour the olive oil, onion, carrot and celery into a pot and heat until the onion has browned.
  3. Add the mince and cook until the mince is browned, then add in all the other ingredients (and the zucchini and mushrooms if using them) and stir to combine.
  4. Cover the pot. Simmer gently for up to fifteen minutes, or until all the vegetables have softened.
  5. While the sauce is simmering put the pasta onto boil as per the instructions on the packet. Drain and divide among bowls, topping each with a generous scoop of sauce.

Nutritional Information

Estimate made sans zucchini and mushrooms

Approx. 342 calories and 22.3g of carbs per serving


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