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The best bolognese

The best bolognese

Martha Collison's bolognese recipe has a twist. She was told about someone who used a double espresso as the secret ingredient to the perfect bolognese sauce and was extremely sceptical. But on testing many variations, is now blown away by the depth of flavour it brings and how harmoniously it works with the beef.

4 out of 5 stars(10) Rate this recipe
  • Serves4
  • CourseMain meal
  • Prepare30 mins
  • Cook1 hr 30 mins
  • Total time2 hrs

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  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 77g pack Cooks’ Ingredients Beechwood Smoked Pancetta
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 stick celery, chopped
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • 200g chestnut mushrooms
  • 500g pack Essential 10% Fat British Beef Mince
  • 1 beef stock cube
  • 400g can chopped tomatoes
  • 75ml strong-brewed coffee (such as espresso)
  • 150ml whole milk
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 x 350g fresh pappardelle, to serve
  • Parmigiano Reggiano, grated, to serve


  1. Warm the olive oil in a large saucepan over a high heat, then add the pancetta. Cook for 2-3 minutes, until crisp and the fat has rendered down. Add the onion, celery and carrot. Sauté for 10-15 minutes, or until softened and reduced down.

  2. Finely chop or blitz the mushrooms briefly in a food processor to break them down into small pieces. Add to the pan, then crumble in the mince, and stir, breaking up any large chunks using the spoon, until browned all over.

  3. Add the stock cube, tomatoes, coffee, milk and bay leaf. Stir well, cover with a lid and simmer on the lowest heat setting for at least 1 hour. The longer you simmer, the more intense and complex the flavour becomes. Continue to simmer until the liquid has reduced down almost completely. Season to taste and remove the bay leaf.

  4. When ready to serve, cook the pappardelle according to pack instructions. Drain, reserving a small amount of cooking water in a mug, then add the pasta to the sauce and mix well. Add a splash of the starchy pasta water to loosen the sauce so it coats each piece of pasta well. Divide between shallow bowls and serve with lots of freshly grated cheese.

Cook’s tip

Meat sauces such as bolognese benefit from an overnight stay in the fridge before reheating the next day, to allow the flavours to deepen and develop further. Try making the day before for the best results.


Typical values per serving when made using specific products in recipe


3,891kJ/ 925kcals



Saturated Fat












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