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Rich Musty Bolognese Meat Sauce & 5 Meals to Turn it Into

This is no standard, boring meat sauce; this is a recipe for a Rich, Musty Bolognese. Rich Musty Bolognese Meat Sauce & 5 Meals to Turn it IntoThe ingredients are simple, the method straightforward, the results fantastic! This meat sauce is not going to take a mere 20 minutes… We’re talking long cook! But, you don’t need to stand there stirring it, checking it, or savouring the mouth watering smell. I like to get it bubbling away before lunch and then run around doing all the other stuff I need to do, errands, picking up kids, come back home & play… Then when the tagliatelle is cooked later in the evening, dip into it to take out enough for dinner (we’ll get to the rest later).

Whenever I’m making this I have a second pot on the go, by the side for Mr.10 months (a great dish from 6+ months); Rich Musty Bolognese Meat Sauce & 5 Meals to Turn it Intoand there’s no point making just a small amount. When it’s dishes like this that take a while to make, I like to make a lot! What do we end up with then? A rich, meaty basis for tonnes of other meals – 5 examples below!

The secrets to the flavour of this musty bolognese is in part the Italian Trio: onion, celery and carrots. The flavour of these ingredients complement each other perfectly. The second is the balsamic vinegar & the sage; which make all the difference!


Rich Musty Bolognese Meat Sauce:Rich Musty Bolognese Meat Sauce & 5 Meals to Turn it Into

– 8 tbsp olive oil

– 2kg minced beef (4.5 lb) – preferably a lower fat content, it’s the fat stains that are harder to get out of the kids clothes later!

– Up to 2kg carrots (4.5 lb) – exact quantity dependent on how much you like carrots, and your budget: The cheaper you’d like the meal to be, the more carrots 🙂

– 2-3 large onions

Rich Musty Bolognese Meat Sauce & 5 Meals to Turn it Into– 6 celery sticks – a whole celery (see comment above regarding budget)

– 6 cloves of garlic, crushed

– 4 tins of crushed tomatoes

– 4 tbsp tomato puré

– 4 stock cubes (a mix of vegetable and ox)

– 6 tbsp sage

– 4 tbsp thyme

Rich Musty Bolognese Meat Sauce & 5 Meals to Turn it Into– 5-6 tbsp balsamic vinegar

– 2 bay leaves

– A few good pinches of salt and pepper



1. Finely chop the onion, celery & carrots.

2. Heat up the olive oil in a large pan, add the chopped vegetables and crushed garlic and fry until the onions and celery are softened.

Rich Musty Bolognese Meat Sauce & 5 Meals to Turn it Into3. Add the minced beef and fry at a high temp, stirring, until the meat is browned.

4. Add all the remaining ingredients, stirring them all through, and adding the bay leaves last. Bring it to the boil. Reduce the temp to simmering, and cover. To get the best flavour, let this simmer for at least 4 hours (preferably up to 6), but if you want to have a bit in the meanwhile, it is ready to taste after 35 minutes. This is a good time too to check if you want to add a few more pinches of salt and pepper, or a splash more balsamic vinegar.


Rich Musty Bolognese Meat Sauce & 5 Meals to Turn it IntoWhen I’m making baby food for my little man, I take about 1/4 of the ingredients into a smaller pan on the side, without adding any stock cube or salt to his, and a little less onion – as this is hard to digest and gives a lot of babies gas. Even without any salt at all this sauce is totally fantastic after a few hours bubbling away, infusing all that great flavour.


5 Meals to turn your Rich Musty Bolognese Meat Sauce into:

Here’s where life starts to get simple, because you’ve already got loads of delicious meat sauce, the time consuming part is done, a few small tweaks and voila you’ve got 5 different meals.Rich Musty Bolognese Meat Sauce & 5 Meals to Turn it Into

– The first is the obvious one, serving it straight out of the pot with pasta, usually tagliatelle or spaghetti, and with parmesan cheese to grate on the top.

– The second is a variation on a classic Cottage Pie. Heap in your meat sauce in the bottom of an ovenproof dish and cover the top with mashed potatoes, and a few lumps of butter for a crispy top. Into the oven for 30 minutes at 180C/ 350F

– A twist on the Cottage Pie idea, is to top your meat sauce with butternut squash instead. Rich Musty Bolognese Meat Sauce & 5 Meals to Turn it IntoThis is my personal favourite! The sweetness of the squash, then with grated parmesan over the top is perfect. Also a fantastic recipe if you want a carbohydrate free meal!

If you want to make this one it’s important to return the butternut squash to the pan and back onto the stove for 10 minutes or so after you’ve boiled, drained and mashed it. This is to boil off some of the additional liquid, otherwise your dish will end up quite watery. Again, into the oven for 30 minutes at 180C/ 350F


Rich Musty Bolognese Meat Sauce & 5 Meals to Turn it Into– The fourth meal is Lasagne. You’ll just need to make the cheese sauce, then layer it together with the meat sauce between sheets of lasagne pasta; finishing off with cheese sauce and additional grated cheese. Again, into the oven for 30 minutes at 180C/ 350F

– Lastly, a variation on Moussaka. Slice a couple of aubergines thinly, length ways. Lay out aubergine slices in the bottom of an ovenproof dish, cover with a layer of meat sauce, continue for a few more layers finishing off with aubergine slices on the top completely covered with grated parmesan. Again, into the oven for 30 minutes 180C/ 350F. This is another great dish for a carbohydrate free meal.

Well, I hope you enjoy this recipe… Let me know what you made with yours! 🙂


Linking up Rich Musty Bolognese Meat Sauce with #TastyTuesday


How do you like to eat your Bolognese? 

What tricks do you have for an awesome flavor?



    • Hi Lovely, Thank you!
      …I’m really enjoying the #tastytuesdays links from everyone… It’s like a new pinterest board every week – a collaborative source of inspiration for a weeks worth of food shopping 🙂

  1. I love Bolognese it is my favourite kind of sauce. I used to have it everywhere – all the time!

    I will try your recipe, most probably with pasta shells and lots of cheese! Simple is often best sometimes and I know the kids will love that 😉 x

  2. I like the idea of slow cooked meat, which I am sure makes it rich. One to try on a Sunday afternoon perhaps….and to freeze some for future use. Love the idea of using it as a base for other meals.
    Dropping in from #tastytuesdays.

  3. I do love a good bolognese recipe. There’s something so comforting about having a stock of it in the freezer isn’t there? I’ve never put sage in mine before, thanks for the suggestion 🙂 #TastyTuesdays

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