Orecchiette Beef Bolognese


Can someone explain the chokehold that spaghetti bolognese has on the Western pasta-eating world? What is it about this dish specifically that’s managed to worm its way into the once-a-week menu for millions of households? We imagine it could be its versatility; the rich nature of the sauce does a great job at disguising cheap cuts of meat, and back-of-the-fridge vegetables that have seen better days. It’s mild and warm and comforting enough to be a certified classic. Here’s our humble take on this much loved dish.

What you need



  • 500g orecchiette


Bolognese sauce

  • 500g beef mince
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 celery stick, diced
  • 1 parmesan rind 
  • 1 tsp. Vegemite 


Optional to serve: 

  • Grated parmesan
  • Fresh basil leaves 
  • Chilli flakes 


Step 1

Heat olive oil in a pot on medium heat and add carrot, onion, celery and mushrooms and cook for about 5 minutes or until onions are translucent. 

Step 2

Add beef and cook for about 15 minutes or until browned.

Step 3

Add tomato paste and cook through for a further 3 minutes, before adding the oregano and thyme. 

Step 4

Deglaze the pot with the red wine, then add the remainder of the sauce ingredients and stir through. Cook on medium-low heat for 45 minutes. Taste the sauce for seasoning and adjust. If the sauce appears too thin – cook uncovered for a further 5-10 minutes until the sauce reaches desired consistency. Remove parmesan rind and bay leaves and discard. 

Step 5

Once sauce is done, cook orecchiette as per packet instructions and drain.

Step 6

Serve pasta with a generous amount of bolognese on top. Optional: sprinkle with parmesan, basil leaves and freshly cracked pepper (or chilli flakes). Buon appetito!


  • Simmer, simmer, simmer: If you’re making this for a weeknight dinner and just want to have a medium effort, nourishing meal and soon, then follow the recipe above. But if you have time, let this simmer over low heat for an extra hour or even two, topping up with water if necessary. Bolognese, like ragu, tastes better the longer it is cooked. Tastes even better the following day. 
  • Little bit of leftover sauce? My favourite treat as a kid was bolognese on toast with a slice of melted cheese for breakfast. I preferred that to the pasta the night before, if I’m honest. Try it! 
  • Lots of leftover sauce? Make a larger batch and freeze it to use for your next pasta meal! Pasta doesn’t always freeze the best (depending on how it’s stored, the edges can dry up), so we recommend just freezing the sauce and heating it up in the microwave or over the stove with a bit of water. Serve with a fresh batch of cooked pasta. 
  • Beef vs Pork: Since everyone and their mum has either tasted or made their fair share of bolognese sauces, there are so many points of contention when it comes to the perfect bolognese sauce. Many swear on a half beef, half pork ratio for this one. Or to add a few rashers of diced bacon. If you’re looking for a more fatty mouthfeel for your bolognese, this combination could be a winner for you. 
  • Vegemite: We’re Australian here at Rooted By Food, hence the Vegemite. The Vegemite acts like beef bouillon paste in this recipe, adding saltiness, richness and umami. If you’re not a fan, trust us you won’t taste it! And if you don’t have Vegemite where you are, you can use any yeast extract, or swap for a beef bouillon paste or even miso paste.

Leave a Reply