Poor Man’s “Every Day” Bolognese

Poor Man’s “Every Day” Bolognese

You have heard me say this many times but it is worth a quick repeat. Whenever you make an authentic Italian recipe, you are opening yourself up to criticism. Probably no where else in the world is each region, each community, even each family, more different and stakes claim to doing that recipe the “best.”

Bolognese is no exception.  Various meat cuts, certain tomatoes, what veg you add, and even the actual pasta you serve it with ALL make this recipe unique, and subtely different. At its core, however, the bolognese is essentially a tomato sauce of sorts with a slow cooked meat, whether pork, beef, or whatever cut is laying around.

My version, which I have made dozens of times, has been adapted from Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution cook book, which I love (Jamie’s Dinners the fave, followed closely by Jamie’s Italy).  Like other pasta recipes of the Naked Chef, this one is definitely “loosely” interpreted. I love it, and so do my kids.  It is simply a perfect blend of a lot of veg, a little bit of pork and beef, and can be served as a lasagna base, over spaghetti or even tossed lightly with some rigatoni or ravioli. It is utilitarian. This recipe is already “doubled,” meaning, it can handle at least 2 lbs of pasta, or 2 good size dinners. It feeds my immediate group well on a weeknight for sure.  Since it is doubled, keep one in the fridge for one of the next meals, and freeze the second batch for a night you are running behind, or just don’t want to push yourself. Enjoy.

Poor Man’s “Every day” Bolognese


  • 2 slices of bacon, chopped
  • 2 medium onions, roughly chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely sliced
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 tsp oregano
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 pound italian sausage (or ground pork)
  • 1 28 oz can of whole tomatoes
  • small bunch of fresh basil
  • small handful parmigiano-reggiano
  • 1 pound spaghetti


  1. Cook bacon over medium high heat. Add oregano and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add all veg and saute for about 7 more minutes. Stir in meat, tomatoes, and add 1 can of water (from tomatoes).
  2. Finely slice the basil stalks and add to mixture (reserve leaves).
  3. Bring to a boil and let simmer for about an hour. Remove from heat. Add parm and finely chiffonade basil leaves.
  4. Stir and serve.


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