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How To Make Perfect Tomato Pasta Sauce / Spaghetti Bolognese

Updated on May 13, 2014


  • 1lb fresh tomatoes
  • 1lb minced beef or lamb
  • 2 or 3 cloves of garlic
  • 2 large onions
  • A decent handful of fresh basil leaves
  • Just a sprinkle gravy granules
  • A good handful Mushrooms
  • 2 fresh chillis
  • A splash of olive oil
  • A good squeeze of tomato puree
  • A decent pinch of salt and pepper

This recipe is for a great tomato pasta sauce. If you add meat then I guess it becomes a bolognese as it involved tomatoes and minced beef, or lamb if you prefer the taste of that. Either way its very easy to cook but nice and tasty.

To start put a decent splash of olive oil in a pan and heat it up over a medium heat. Then add a couple of cloves of chopped garlic and a good handful of fresh chopped basil.

After this add your fresh tomatoes. I've tried this with just cherry tomatoes and it is nice, but it can be a little tangy fgor some peoples taste, so now I like to use cherry and regular tomatoes. Simmer the whole lot for approx. 20 minutes, or until all of the tomatoes have split and turned mushy. Be aware that this will smell delictious in the mean time..

Next step is to mush up the tomatoes properly. If you like the pieces large for a rustic feel then just use a potato masher. If you prefer a smooth sauce, then use a hand blender.

Fresh tomatoes ready for a feast!

Twenty minutes later..

Mush it all up

I usually chop a couple of chillis in there at this point. This won't make it crazily hot but will give it a bit of kick. There is nothing worse than a Bolognese made with no chilli whatsoever. I have eaten one before and would never do that again. Anyway, chop them finely then throw them in there.

Fresh chillis ready for chopping

You'll also need a couple of onions in there. The easiest way to peel them I found from a tv programme once is to chop them in half, then peel each half. Not tough. I don't cry from onions any more, although I used to. Maybe I'm turning into a tough, iron hearted dude as I age. Or maybe I'm losing my sense of smell? Either way, chop them and put them in.

A couple of large sliced mushrooms

Next you'll need a few mushrooms chopped and added to the mix. When preparing mushrooms don't rinse them as you'll rinse the flavour away. I know some people peel them, but I don't do that either as the flavour is in the skin. If you're feeling really keen then give them a wipe with a damp cloth if you must. I usually don't bother though!

Add the mushrooms

In another pan brown off the minced beef or lamb. You don't usually need much oil as the mince usually contains a fair bit of oil. I get lean mince, but there is still fat in there.

Don't cook this until it has gone completely brown and dry. If you do this then it will also be largely tasteless. Just give it a quick fry and when its mostly brown with a bit of red showing through, its there. Drain off the fat, then add to the pan.

Brown off the minced beef / lamb

Once you've added your meat, then put in some tomato puree and some gravy granules. You wont need too much, but a little gravy adds a nice flavour to the sauce. Put some salt and pepper in there and I usually pour a bit of water in there as well at this point and give it a stir. After that you just need to let the whole lot simmer for about 20 minutes. The mushrooms and onions will then be tasty, soft and delicious.

Tomato puree makes it even more tomatoey. Is that a word? It doesn't matter..

Gravy was a secret ingredient of mine in this dish, but the secret is now out.. I hope you like it. In fact I KNOW you'll like it!

Gravy granules for a bit more meatiness. Delicious.

After you've added the granules, pour in a big cupful of water. You wont need too much because a lot water comes out of the mushrooms but you don't want it dry, so don't be too scared.

After about 20 minutes it will look something like this. As you can see, this looks pretty tasty. You will obviously want to taste it to see if it needs any more seasoning before you serve. If it does then add it at this stage. It should be pretty delicious by now. About 12-15 mins in you'll want to start boiling the pasta. That only takes a few minutes so do it when the Bolognese is nearly ready.

Don't add any olive oil to the pasta. This is a mistake some make, if you do this the pasta doesn't soak up the pasta sauce properly.

Looking good. Smelling good. Tasting...? That's right. Good!

Prep time: 10 min
Cook time: 30 min
Ready in: 40 min
Yields: 4 people a decent meal

Presentation isn't my strong point, but once you've poured it over pasta/spaghetti and grated some parmesan over the top then you'll be looking at something like this. Serve with garlic bread, red wine and laughter.

Job done, an easy dish but tasty and enjoyable. Hope you like it!

This photo doesn't do it justice, but trust me it tastes delicious!

I hope you enjoyed this simple recipe, if you did please leave a comment below.

Thanks for reading.

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5 stars from 1 rating of Tomato Pasta Sauce


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    • Perspycacious profile image

      Demas W Jasper 23 months ago from Today's America and The World Beyond

      Fortunately for me and my waistline, I just had a good spaghetti and meat sauce dish with garlic bread before I read this and salivated a short circuiting of my keyboard!

      Great photos and description for the next time I crave this dish...maybe tomorrow!

    • Rain Defence profile image

      Rain Defence 3 years ago from UK

      Thanks! I'm hungry now myself..

    • Thelma Alberts profile image

      Thelma Alberts 3 years ago from Germany

      Yummy! I love a simple but a yummy pasta. This recipe sounds good. Thanks for sharing.

    • Rain Defence profile image

      Rain Defence 3 years ago from UK

      Thanks a lot! I'm feeling hungry now just thinking about it, might have to eat soon!

    • Christy Kirwan profile image

      Christy Kirwan 3 years ago from San Francisco

      Hi Rain, this looks absolutely heavenly! Kuddos for sharing your secret ingredient. :D

    • Rain Defence profile image

      Rain Defence 3 years ago from UK

      Thanks a lot, it does taste great. I think I'll start doing some more recipe hubs if this one goes down well. Thanks for your comment!

    • Ceres Schwarz profile image

      Ceres Schwarz 3 years ago

      This recipe looks good. The images you have of the cooking process are also very helpful so that people who want to try this pasta recipe can easily follow the instructions so they'll know what to do. The finished pasta looks delicious.

    • Rain Defence profile image

      Rain Defence 3 years ago from UK

      Thanks a lot!

    • profile image

      lesliebyars 3 years ago

      I love to make Italian food and this looks like it would be great. I voted your hub up and useful. Thank you for sharing!!