Tagliatelle bolognese

Wendy Hobson / 29 August 2012

In Italy, this dish is reserved for special occasions because it should be cooked for several hours. This is a cook-in recipe for a large quantity, then you can serve the remaining portions in the same way or in different variations.

Cooking time

2 hours




  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 2 celery sticks, chopped
  • 1–2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 500g minced beef
  • 150ml red wine
  • 2 tbsp sun-dried tomato purée
  • 2 x 400g cans of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • A few fresh basil leaves

To serve

100g tagliatelle per person


  • Heat the oil and fry the onions, carrots, celery and garlic for 5 minutes until soft but not browned.
  • Add the meat and stir in until well mixed, browned and the grains are separate.
  • Add the wine and stir for 5 minutes to boil off the alcohol.
  • Stir in the tomato purée, tomatoes and oregano, then season with salt and pepper.
  • Bring to the boil, then simmer gently for 1½–2 hours, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is thick, checking occasionally and tasting and adjusting the seasoning towards the end of the cooking time.
  • Serve one portion garnished with basil leaves.
  • Cool, wrap, label and freeze the remaining portions.

Serving the remaining portions

Lasagne: Make 150ml of white sauce and flavour it with a little grated Parmesan. Rinse 2 or 3 sheets of lasagne pasta in boiling water. Assemble a lasagne in a small dish, layering meat, pasta and sauce and finishing with a layer of sauce sprinkled with Parmesan. Bake in a hot oven at 200ºC/Gas 6 for about 20 minutes until heated through and golden and bubbling on top.

Cannelloni with blue cheese: Rinse some cannelloni tubes in boiling water, then stuff with a portion of the mixture. Arrange in a shallow ovenproof dish and cover generously with grated or crumbled blue cheese, or a cheese of your choice. Bake in a hot oven at 200ºC/Gas 6 for about 20 minutes until heated through and golden and bubbling on top.

Minced beef pie:  Heat the oven to 200ºC/Gas 6 and place a baking sheet in the oven. Roll out a puff pastry portion and cut in half. Use half to line a greased pie tin, then fill with the mixture and moisten the edges. Roll out the remaining pastry into a circle and seal on the top, crimping the edges together and trimming them. Make leaves or patterns on the top with the remaining pastry, if you wish, brushing with beaten egg to make them stick and to glaze the top of the pie. Place the pie dish on the hot baking sheet and bake in the oven for about 20 minutes until heated through and golden.

Everyday Cooking For One: Imaginative, delicious and healthy recipes that make it fun to cook for one by Wendy Hobson is published by How To Books Ltd, priced £9.99. 

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