Rich ragu

A rich, versatile meat sauce: serve it Bolognese-style with spaghetti or use it as a base for lasagne or moussaka

  • Prep:10 mins
    Cook:1 hrs 45 mins
    plus chilling
  • Serves 4
  • Easy

Nutrition per serving

  • kcal 705
  • fat 15g
  • saturates 6g
  • carbs 79g
  • sugars 9g
  • fibre 7g
  • protein 54g
  • salt 0.9g


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, halved and finely chopped
  • 1 celery stick, finely diced
  • 1 large carrot, finely diced
  • 600g pack minced beef steak
  • 3 tbsp tomato purée
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely grated
  • 2 tsp fresh thyme leaves
  • 500ml beef stock
  • 400g spaghetti
  • 50g grated Parmesan, plus extra to serve (optional)
  • side salad, to serve


Ingredient swaps

This recipe uses minced beef but you can use pork, or half of each. If you'd rather not add red wine, replace with extra beef stock. Smoked bacon also makes a tasty addition.


  1. Heat the oil in a large pan and add the onion, celery and carrot. Fry over a medium heat for 10 mins, stirring now and then, until softened and starting to colour.

  2. Stir in the mince and cook, breaking up any clumps of meat with a wooden spoon, until browned.

  3. Add the tomato purée, garlic and thyme, and cook for 1-2 mins more. Pour in the wine, if using, and increase the heat to boil off most of the alcohol. Reduce the heat, stir in the stock and season. Cover with a tight-fitting lid and leave to cook gently for 1 hr-1 hr 15 mins until the meat is tender and the sauce has thickened.

  4. Remove the lid and continue cooking for 15 mins. Meanwhile, cook the pasta following pack instructions. Reserve a mugful of the cooking water, then drain the spaghetti and add to the ragu with the Parmesan. Toss well and add a little pasta water to help the sauce coat the spaghetti. Serve with a side salad and extra cheese, if you like.

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