Spaghetti Bolognese: 5 mistakes almost everyone makes

Without a doubt: Among all the Italian pasta dishes that are popular all over the world, spaghetti bolognese is an absolute classic. But who is surprised? The lovely pasta comes with a spicy sauce made from meat, tomatoes and lots of Mediterranean herbs. A perfect treat! Although there are countless recipes for the classic, there are also many typical mistakes that many people make with spaghetti Bolognese. We will enlighten you – so that nothing goes wrong!

Mistakes with Spaghetti Bolognese – number 1: The ingredients in the pot end up in the wrong order

With a classic Bolognese, what else but minced meat? That’s right: tomato paste! However, many people add the sour cream to the sauce too late in the cooking process. Often to give a sauce with a fruit.

A very typical mistake when preparing Bolognese – or when dealing with tomato paste in general. By storing it in a tube, the tomato paste takes on a slightly metallic taste, which can cause the sauce to transfer if the yogurt is added directly.

Best: Add the tomato paste to the pan or pan before the wet ingredients are in the pan. Simply push the other ingredients such as meat and vegetables to the side, add the tomato paste in the middle and let it simmer briefly. In this way the tomato paste caramelizes – and acquires a perfect aroma, while the metallic undertone disappears.

In the case of Bolognese, the meat should be fried first, then the vegetables and then the tomato paste. If it has a brick red color, it is the best – and the liquid ingredients can now be put into the pot.

Mistake #2: You forget the vegetables

Speaking of vegetables… some limit themselves to minced meat and tomato ingredients when preparing Bolognese. In fact, a true Bolognese also contains vegetables – especially chopped carrots and celery. It is very important to give the sauce a typical aroma.

According to the recipe, onions and garlic are also used – although this can really be debated…

Mistake #3: You’re not using the right meat

If you want to make a real bolo, you have to pay attention to choosing the right meat. For convenience, mixed minced meat is usually purchased – although this ratio is not correct for ready-made versions. On the other hand, only yellow meat can be very dry.

A mixture of about 2/3 ground beef and 1/3 pork is ideal. This meat remains salty and fragrant.

Also, ground beef is not the only meat that should end up in Bolognese. Ideally, in addition to the mince, you should also fry some cured Italian bacon – such as pancetta or guanciale. This ensures maximum taste, trust us!

Mistake #4: You don’t give yourself enough time

Yes, sometimes you really don’t have time to spend a long time in the kitchen. If this is the case for you, you should choose a different dish, because a really good Bolognese takes a little more time. When all the ingredients in the pan are finished, the sauce should cook for a while on low heat. You definitely need to plan a couple of hours for this – otherwise the whole thing will be a bit boring.

If time constraints are often on your agenda, but you still don’t want to do without the regular Bolo fun, you can make a larger batch ahead of time and then easily freeze it while you’re at it.

And if you’re looking for inspiration for quick pasta dishes, we’ve got the right ideas for you:

Mistake #5: You overcook the pasta

Getting the perfect bolognese sauce is quite a challenge. But once that’s done, there’s another obstacle: pasta. If this is overcooked, then the whole dish will suffer.

Pasta should always be cooked al dente, that is al dente. But it doesn’t always work – a typical mistake when making pasta. So pay close attention to the pasta package instructions – and test a minute before the end of the specified cooking time to see how firm the pasta is to the touch. So you are guaranteed not to miss the ideal time.

Little fun fact: Although the dish is known as spaghetti Bolognese, Italians do not recommend spaghetti as the best type of pasta for the sauce. Giorgia Zabbini from the Bologna city council once revealed in an interview with Travelbook that almost all other types of pasta are better. The whole thing has a logical reason: in the best case, the pasta should be combined with the sauce. On the other hand, with the spaghetti, the sauce easily boils.

By the way, you can read more about the topic “The right pasta for the corresponding sauce” in our guide.


Want a little challenge? Then you can make your own pasta without the Bolognese sauce. Watch our video and learn how it works:

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