You can never go wrong with pasta when you’re looking for a quick and easy meal, and this simple bolognese recipe always proves it true. Made with ground beef, tomato paste, and some kitchen staples, you can feel good about this recipe helping you get dinner on the table in under 30 minutes.
Simple Bolognese Recipe
Growing up, this simple bolognese recipe was a staple in our house. My mom grew up eating spaghetti like this, so it was the way my sister and I grew up eating spaghetti too.
Traditional bolognese takes a slower approach with the sauce being cooked for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. In this simple bolognese recipe, I bring the sauce together in 10 minutes or so.
I also don’t include any diced carrots or celery, like a traditional bolognese might have. You can definitely include them if you want to, but the point of this recipe is to be quick and easy, and that includes minimal prep.
Instead I chop up some shallots (or onion) and garlic, and then sauté that in some olive oil. Ground beef is added and browned, then instead of adding tomato sauce to this mixture, I add in tomato paste.
I like adding in the tomato paste because I find it has a more intense flavor than tomato sauce. The pasta water helps thin out the paste and turn the bolognese into a real sauce that can coat the spaghetti.
This simple bolognese recipe can be great for other pasta shapes, or even lasagna and stuffed shells. When I use this recipe for lasagna, I like to add tasty ingredients like mushrooms or spinach, as well as a good dose of cheese.
Otherwise, if I’m just making this bolognese with spaghetti, then what you see here is all the ingredients you need.
I always keep a jar of tomato paste on hand, as it lasts quite a long time and can be used in so many different meals. It’s the key to getting a quick red sauce pasta like this without busting out a can of tomato sauce or using actual tomatoes.
This meal is quick and simple, just as promised!
Simple Bolognese Recipe
A quick and easy, tomato beef sauce perfect for any kind of pasta.
- 1 bag spaghetti
- 1 shallot minced (or 1/2 an onion, diced)
- 1 large clove garlic minced
- 3/4 lb. ground beef
- 1/4 tsp turmeric
- 5 tbsp tomato paste (or more to taste)
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp salt
- freshly ground pepper
- olive oil
- parmesan shavings to garnish (optional)
- fresh herbs like basil to garnish (optional)
Cook the spaghetti according to the package instructions, or until it's as tender as you like. Make sure you salt the pasta water well and reserve the water once the pasta has finished cooking.
To a large pan, add a drizzle of olive oil. Warm over medium heat, then add the shallot and garlic. Sauté until fragrant and translucent - about 2 minutes.
Add the ground beef, along with the turmeric. Use a wooden spoon to break the beef apart into small pieces and mix the turmeric in. (see note)
Once the beef has browned, add in the tomato paste and stir together to combine. Let the paste cook with the beef for a minute.
Add in at least 1/2 cup of reserved pasta water. Gently stir to combine, then you can add more water until you get your desired consistency. Add the dried oregano, rubbing it between your palms before sprinkling it in. Add the salt too, along with a pinch of freshly ground pepper. Stir to combine everything.
Add the drained spaghetti into your pan and gently toss to combine. Serve with fresh parmesan shavings or fresh herbs.
I like to add turmeric because it's a great superfood and it does a nice job of getting rid of any subtle "gamey" flavors from the meat.