Recipe: A Simple & Delicious Bolognese Sauce

As September is actually Organic Month, today I want to talk about organic food. Now, when I was younger I used to be one of those people who was absolutely obsessed with having everything organic, but I have since realised it is about buying organic wisely. Choosing organic where you otherwise can’t be sure of the province and contents of your food. Organic tomatoes? If you are getting your tomatoes from a farmers market, where you know they’ve been grown on a good farm and not picked too early or coloured up with chemicals, they’ve simply just grown the things, I don’t think you need to be worrying about buying organic or not. Tinned beans or tomatoes where they use god knows what in the canning process? I’m always happier to spend a few pennies more so I know what I am eating. It’s savvy food shopping, really. 


The team at Sainsbury’s, in celebration of Organic Month sent me a box of different products from their So Organic range to play about with, and the moment I lifted a pack of their spaghetti and a tin of tomatoes out of the box I suddenly started craving spaghetti bolognese. Yes, I know real Italians only eat the meat sauce with tagliatelle, but this is what I grew up with, so this is how I am going to enjoy it, on this occasion at least!

This recipe serves about 4 to 6 people (but it freezes beautifully), and is adapted from a classic recipe by Prue Leith. Usually when i say adapted I mean I’ve paired it down to serve less people, I’ve adjusted the ingredients to make them cheaper or easier to find, or to match my flavour preference. However, as this is a family classic in our house by adapted I mean we started off working from the original recipe, and either because we have not had something at the time or we’ve adapted a step by accident, or we’ve been trying to use something up, this version you see before you has materialised. You can use either smoked or streaky bacon, or even pancetta (we used whatever is to hand), and either beef or veal mince. Beef is usually our go to, but I’ve actually used veal in the picture. It makes for a much richer flavour.

  • Splash Olive Oil
  • 1 Large White Onion, finely chopped
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, crushed
  • 2 Large Carrots, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 Celery Stalk, leaves removed and finely chopped
  • 100g (4oz) Bacon, streaky if you have it, chopped into small pieces
  • 1 Pack (700g/ 2 lb) Beef or Veal Mince
  • Freshly Ground Salt & Black Pepper
  • 150ml (1/4 pint) Beef, Chicken or Vegetable Stock (about 1 stock cube)
  • 400g (14 oz) Sainsbury’s So Organic Tinned Tomatoes 
  • 1 heaped tbsp Tomato Puree
  • 200ml (7 fl oz) Red Wine 
  • Pinch Golden Granulated Sugar
  • 1 tbsp Dried Oregano
  • Sainsbury’s So Organic Spaghetti, to serve 

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat and gently fry the finely chopped vegetables, garlic and bacon for about five minutes until golden and softened. Add the mince and break up with a mixing spoon. Stir and cook for about 5 minutes until the meat is browned. Season with salt and pepper. Add the stock, tomatoes, wine, tomato puree, sugar and oregano and stir until everything is combined. Bring to the boil and cook for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes. While your sauce is on this final simmer, cook your spaghetti as per the packets instructions in salted water. Enjoy! 

What are some family classics in your homes you grew up with (I’m hoping to put a few more of the dishes I grew up with here on the blog this Autumn), and do you make an effort to buy organic goods?