Skip the hours of simmering with this quick and easy Weeknight Spaghetti Bolognese meat sauce on your table in under 30 minutes! BIG, bold, complex flavors in super LITTLE time! This divine semi-homemade spaghetti sauce is a family favorite recipe I make more than ANY OTHER RECIPE! The recipe that always comes to the rescue when you don’t feel like cooking but want your food to taste like its been simmering for hours and BONUS, it freezes super well!
I have a confession. As a food blogger, after I perfect a recipe to share, I hardly ever make it again. Instead, I am either experimenting and creating the next best recipe to share with you OR I’m too burnt out of cooking. Yes, it happens. But there is one recipe I make again and again and again, this comforting, busy Weeknight Spaghetti Bolognese! Not only do I absolutely crave its hearty, rich, meaty sauce bursting with flavor but it is SO effortless and almost instant, I don’t dread whipping it up even when I don’t feel like cooking AKA the back pocket weeknight wonder.
Bolongese is named after the cooking style in Bologna, Italy. Bolognese Sauce is thick, and meaty, simmered with minced onions, carrots and celery and often enhanced with wine, milk or cream. So if you are looking for a tomatoey, liquidy sauce, more marinara style – this is not it. Now, I’m not going to claim this is the best bolognese sauce recipe ever and its definitely not an authentic hard core bolognese sauce with pancetta that requires up to all day simmering, standing and stirring, BUT it tastes like it.
The secret? Chicken bouillon and quality jarred marinara sauce (like Barilla or Classico). The bouillon replaces the chicken broth which doesn’t have time to reduce in this quick and easy version and it infuses the sauce with intense flavor, just as if it had been simmering and reducing all day. The jarred marinara sauce, on the other hand, has been simmering all day – just not in your kitchen. A quality jarred sauce replaces much of the work (and time) for you by using quality vine-ripened tomatoes and aromatic herbs.
I have found that when I have used just tomato sauce or crushed tomatoes alone to create my homemade sauce, it needs the hours of simmering to develop flavor and not just taste like acidic-y tomatoes, whereas, using jarred marinara in combination with other ingredients creates the full body taste and texture you expect from classic Spaghetti Bolognese. And that’s how this Weeknight Spaghetti Bolognese can be on your table in 30 minutes and taste THIS GOOD. For an uber quick and easy meal, you can freeze this Weeknight Spaghetti Bolognese sauce and it will still taste THIS GOOD.
In addition to our sauteed minced onion, garlic, carrots and celery, and jarred marinara, we add a small can of crushed tomatoes for volume and texture, a splash of balsamic vinegar and sugar to add dimension and plenty of dried herbs – basil, parsley, oregano and thyme to add loads of flavor and a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes to waken it up a bit.
You simmer all of this deliciousness for 10 minutes then stir in 1/4 cup heavy cream and simmer an additional 5 minutes. The addition of heavy cream is definitely optional and is found in more classic bolognese sauce recipes. It adds a creamy richness and rounds out the acidity, but you can certainly leave it if you don’t have it on hand (as I often don’t) or are trying to save calories and it will still taste delicious. You can also omit the the celery and carrots if you don’t have them or are feeling extra lazy and this Weeknight Spaghetti Bolognese will still taste amazing. promise. Just be sure to garnish with extra Parmesan. It makes everything better.
Divine, comforting, rich and complex Weeknight Spaghetti Bolognese, on your table in under 30 minutes – come and get it!
Want to try this Shortcut Spaghetti Bolognese?
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