10 recipes for Bolognese sauceNot everyone has hours to stand over a saucepan stirring a sauce to perfection these days and every Italian world over will tell you a ‘buon ragu‘ a good Bolognese sauce is made slowly and lovingly over a low heat for a couple of hours to allow all the flavours to mix and come together.

But we haven’t all got that time have we? So here is an equally delicious Bolognese sauce recipe that is simple, leaving very little washing up and makes enough to freeze more for a future meal

Bolognese Sauce for pasta

Ingredients – makes 1.5 litres

1 onion chopped finely
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 tsp olive oil
1 can chopped tomatoes
1 carrot, grated
1 stock cube + 150 ml water
2 tbsp tomato puree
1 tsp mixed herbs
500g mince
salt and pepper
1.5 litre (3 pint) casserole dish, pyrex dish.


1. Place the onion, garlic and oil in a glass dish, place on base of oven and cook on MEDIUM MICROWAVE for 3 minutes.

2. Place all other ingredients in the dish, stir well, cover with lid or clingfilm and cook on HIGH MICROWAVE for 10 minutes.

bolognese sauce microwave recipe

3. Remove from microwave, uncover and stir breaking up the large pieces of meat in the sauce.

bolognese sauce microwave recipe

4. Re-cover place in the microwave and cook on MEDIUM MICROWAVE for 15 – 20 minutes

bolognese sauce for pasta microwave recipe

Serve with pasta and sprinkled Parmesan cheese or other uses include

1. Lasagna Click to find a recipe on how to make lasagna

2. Jacket potato topping – Bake 1 potato in microwave on high micro for 7-8 mins

3. Stuffed peppers – slice a pepper in half, cut off the stalk, cut out the seeds and insides and fill with Bolognese sauce. Cook in the oven at 180C for 20 – 30 minutes until soft and cooked through.

4. Cottage pie – Here is a beef and barley cottage pie recipe I made earlier but use your Bolognese sauce and cover with mashed potato and follow the recipe for oven temperatures and timings

5. Chilli con carne – Add a 400g can of kidney beans, 1 – 2 tsps chilli powder and 1 diced pepper with the onion garlic and oil at the beginning. Serve with rice

6. Cannelloni substitute the ricotta and spinach in the recipe here for Bolognese sauce, once filled, cover the cannelloni with white sauce, top with grated parmesan and cook as in recipe

7. Minced beef pie – Following the popular Peppered steak recipe make individual pies in the pie maker or line a pie dish with shortcrust pastry (ready to roll) Prick and bake blind for 15 mins at 180C, fill with Bolognese sauce and cover with pastry before returning to the oven and baking until the pastry is crisp and golden.

8. Enchiladas – add 2 tsps chilli pepper sauce to the Bolognese sauce and spoon into the enchilada, wrap over and place in an oven proof dish. Top with grated cheese and bake in the oven for 20 minutes. Serve with lettuce and sour cream.

9. Soup – add beef stock to the Bolognese until a soup consistency is obtained, serve with crusty ciabatta bread.

10. Pasticcio – cook some short pasta, drain and add the Bolognese sauce, stir well and place in a buttered pyrex dish. Grate some cheese and dot some mozzarella over the top and bake for about 30 minutes in the oven at 180C cut into portions and serve with salad

11. Pancakes – Make your own or buy ready bought, add a spoonful of hot Bolognese sauce to the side and wrap, sprinkle with cheese and serve

12. Cobbler – Good old fashion savoury scones, find the recipe in the link, Place your Bolognese sauce in an oven proof dish and add the scones to the top bake in the oven until the scones are risen and fluffy. They should double in size.

Bologna is the capital of the region Emilia Romagna, a region associated with excellent food (the Emiliani will argue that their cuisine is the true Italian cuisine), phenomenal wines, Ferraris, luxury lingerie (La Perla), UNESCO world heritage sites, Prada *sigh* and Parmesan cheese. 

The northern region of Italy, Emilia Romagna offers beaches, nature reserves, vineyards, valleys, mountains, medieval castles and Renaissance palaces but  a stop off in the city of a Bologna is a must.

I’ve been to Bologna a couple of times and on one occasion we were a group of friends on a day trip.

We walked around the centre,  one of the largest and best preserved historic centres among Italian cities. Bologna is characterised by porticos, or covered walkways that stretch out from the city centre for over 40 kilometers and taking in the museums, art galleries and religious buildings. We visited the market which was enormous and amazing and picked up lots of great bargains including clothes, shoes, food and jewellery.

Bologna is also home to the oldest university in Europe dating back to the 11th century. << Fascinating fact alert!


Bologna La Grassa

If food is your thing then the region surrounding Bologna La Grassa (Bologna the Fat) as the city is known has a labyrinth of food and wine trails where you will discover key producers, associated restaurants and museums dedicated to Parma Ham or Parmesan cheese.

For salamis follow the Strada del Culatello, for cheese follow Strada del Parmigiano. Make sure to take in the Lambrusco wines, the Balsamic Vinegar originating from Modena, pasta especially tortelli and mushrooms.

A personal favourite of mine is Mortadella, an enormous sausage, the meat is ground very finely and added to the mix with other ingredients are peppercorns, pistachios, coriander seeds and wine. Sliced as thin as paper and served in a fresh bread roll your taste buds won’t know what’s hit them!

And of course, Bologna is the home of our favourite Bolognese sauce and any Italian will tell you, a proper Bolognese should only be served with tagliatelle.

Formula 1

If cars are your thing then you are in the right place. Maserati, Lamborghini and Ducati are all based around Modena and Bologna, made locally and each with a museum to visit.

I visited the shrine to speed Galleria Ferrari in Maranello and if you are in the area and fancy rubbing shoulders with Formula One drivers at dinner then book a table at Ristorante Cavallino.

Bologna is ideal for a quick weekend city break or a longer holiday where you could take in Rimini, a buzzing Adriatic beach well worth a visit.

Take a look at my traditional bolognese sauce recipe

[yumprint-recipe id=’40’]Check out my 10 recipes to make with Bolognese sauce.

Short for time? Make a microwave ragu in half the time and just as delicious