Weeknight spaghetti bolognese is the ultimate in quick, simple comfort food that sacrifices nothing in terms of flavor! A bit of Ina and Marcella, together in one.

A pan full of a simple weeknight bolognese sauce.

There are a handful of semi-unfortunate side effects of being a food blogger and obsessed with recipes in general. One of these is the tendency to so frequently seek out new recipes that tried and true favorites completely disappear from your mind. Sometimes this happens for a short while, other times for months or years on end. I regret deeply that this has been the case with this weeknight bolognese sauce.

I love it. My husband really loves it. I love making it. It’s simple and fast to prepare, yet still has a complex, hearty taste, as if it’s been simmering on your Italian nonna’s stove for hours on end.

Just look at that spoon. With a sauce like that, you could be forgiven if you start drooling even before you add the pasta!

A close-up of a simple weeknight bolognese sauce.

{On a photography side note: I am thinking about biting the bullet and investing in a macro lens, in hopes that it will help me make pictures like this sharper and more shamelessly drool-inducing. Welcome any tips or suggestions!}

I started making bolognese sauce about three years ago, thanks to Ina Garten. As a friend said once, I trust Ina; she looks like she actually eats.

Many bolognese sauces take all day to prepare, and granted those might be more authentic. Ina’s gift, however, is to make a delicious bolognese accessible to mere mortals and home cooks. You can have this on the table in 40 minutes. What’s more, a lot of that time is blissfully inactive, leaving you a realistic amount of time for the million other chores that seem to pop up immediately before dinner.

And yet, with all this recipe has going for it, I somehow, just … forgot about it.

And then, somewhere along the way, I stumbled across the collected works of Marcella Hazan, and specifically this New York Times feature on her most beloved recipe: a classic bolognese sauce. I was smitten. I mean, it has a 5-star rating over 2,079+ reviews. It can only be a thing of a beauty. But, it takes at least 4 hours to prepare. I love Marcella Hazan. I kind of want to be her if I ever grow up. But, sadly, I just don’t have that kind of time. So back to Ina I go. But not without a few additions.

Hazan is known for introducing English-speaking cooks to authentic Italian cuisine. So if she includes veggies in her bolognese sauce, you better believe I’m going to do the same and feel doubly good about it – more authentic! More vegetables!

I’m sticking with the red wine in Ina’s recipe, though. For some reason, adding white to a sauce with ground beef just doesn’t do it for me. I really recommend using a robust red here, and something you’re happy to drink, as well, because you’re definitely going to taste its flavor in the finished sauce. 🙂

A pan full of simple weeknight spaghetti bolognese.

So even though I’m sticking with Ina’s basic method, in order to keep this a weeknight-friendly meal, I’m thrilled that I stumbled across Marcella’s version, both for the tweaks it inspired and because it reminded me that we all need bolognese sauce in our lives.

To go without this meal for months at a time is a damn shame, I’m telling you right now. And it’s my most sincere hope that by finally, you know, writing down and sharing the recipe here, I’ll remember it more often when running short of meal planning inspiration, and wipe the scourge of insufficiently frequent spaghetti bolognese from our lives once and for all.

A serving fork twirled around a large helping of simple weeknight spaghetti bolognese.

Or something like that. Try it, enjoy it, and let me know how it goes!

Weeknight Spaghetti Bolognese

Weeknight spaghetti bolognese is the ultimate in fast, easy comfort food that sacrifices nothing in terms of flavor!

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2-3 stalks celery finely chopped
  • 2-3 carrots peeled and finely chopped or julienned
  • 1 pound (500 grams) lean ground sirloin or beef
  • 4 cloves garlic minced or pressed
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 1/4 cups dry red wine divided
  • 28 ounces (1 can) crushed tomatoes ideally San Marzano or another brand of Italian plum tomatoes
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 pound (500 grams) dried pasta
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg or fresh grated if you have it
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves packed and lightly chopped
  • 1/4 cup cream
  • freshly grated Parmesan to serve

Instructions

  • Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the celery and carrots, stir, and cook for 3-4 minutes, until they just begin to soften.
  • Add the ground beef and cook, crumbling the meat, for 5 to 7 minutes, until the meat begins to brown. Stir in the garlic, oregano, and red pepper flakes and cook for 1 more minute. Add 1 cup wine and stir to scrape up any browned bits. Add the canned tomatoes, tomato paste, salt, and pepper, stirring until combined. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil, add a tablespoon of salt, and cook the pasta according to the box directions.
  • To finish the sauce, add the nutmeg, basil, cream, and remaining 1/4 cup wine and simmer for about 10 minutes more, stirring occasionally, until thickened. When the pasta is cooked, drain and add to the sauce. Serve immediately with Parmesan, as desired.

Notes

Adapted from Ina Garten with a few additions inspired by Marcella Hazan via the New York Times.

Nutrition Estimate

Calories: 652kcal, Carbohydrates: 72g, Protein: 26g, Fat: 25g, Saturated Fat: 9g, Cholesterol: 67mg, Sodium: 313mg, Potassium: 932mg, Fiber: 6g, Sugar: 9g, Vitamin A: 4040IU, Vitamin C: 15.9mg, Calcium: 109mg, Iron: 4.8mg
Did you make this recipe?Leave a review below, then snap a quick picture and tag @nourishandfete on Instagram so I can see it!

Excited to try this recipe?

Pin it to your pasta, quick dinner, or general recipes board to save the idea!

Weeknight spaghetti bolognese | A fast, simple recipe for the classic bolognese meat sauce. Perfect for comfort food on busy days! #bolognese #weeknightrecipes

And follow me on Pinterest for more ideas and easy recipe inspiration! I’m always sharing new ideas!

More weeknight dinner ideas:

Simple Weeknight Marinara SauceSimple weeknight marinara sauce is a quick dinner hero. Perfect for pizza, pasta, and more!

Frittata with Spinach, Gouda, and Parmesan

Easy Spiced Cashew Chicken and Rice
Easy spiced cashew chicken and rice - a quick, delicious one-pot weeknight dinner with curry, cilantro, and fresh ginger.

Quick Lemon Thyme Chicken

Spaghetti with Roasted Garlic and Tomatoes
This lightning fast weeknight meal relies on an emulsified sauce to deliver luscious flavor with simple, fresh ingredients - spaghetti, cherry tomatoes, and garlic.