The Ultimate Spag Bol

5 minutes 4-6


  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 fat cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 celery stick, finely sliced
  • 1 red pepper, finely chopped (no seeds)
  • 500g minced beef
  • 1 large carrot, grated
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes (you could use plum tomatoes - just break them up)
  • 4 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 1/2 tsp dried oregano (or dried mixed herbs)
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • Enough (cooked) spaghetti for everyone
  • Grated parmesan - to serve (or cheese of your choice)


  • 1. Heat the oil in a large non stick pan and then sauté the garlic, onion and celery for about three minutes on a medium-high heat.
  • 2. Add the red pepper and cook for a further minute or two, before adding the minced beef. Break it down with a wooden spoon and brown off for about five minutes, stirring.
  • 3. Add the carrot, tomatoes, tomato puree, oregano, sugar and salt and continue to cook on a medium heat for the next 20 minutes or so, continuing to break up the mince from time to time. Start thinking about cooking up your spaghetti (see TIPS below!)
  • 4. Serve immediately, or cool down and then freeze (you can defrost in the fridge and then re-heat in a large pan).

Tips and Tweaks

  • Season the spaghetti! Do as the Italians do and add a good pinch of salt to the pasta as it cooks, along with a glug of oil (this will help stop it from sticking)
  • Heat it up! By adding a chopped (fresh) chilli at stage one (with the onion etc) or a teaspoon (or two) of dried chilli powder at stage three.
  • Posh it up! By adding a small glass of red wine at stage three. And / or a couple of chopped bacon rashers at stage one (with the onion etc).
  • Make it veggie! This is a lovely sauce minus the meat. You could add 100g or so of dried red lentils at stage three and cook until tender…