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INGREDIENTS ( To serve 4)


1 lb (450g) spaghetti

I large onion

2 cloves garlic

6oz (1 75g) mushrooms

1 tablespoon virgin olive oil

1 lb (450g) minced beef

14oz (400g) tin tomatoes

2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme, marjoram and parsley, or 2 teaspoons dried mixed herbs

1-tablespoon tomato purée

1-teaspoon English mustard

1-2 glasses red wine

1 bay leaf

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

4oz (115g) Parmesan cheese



(1)   Finely chop the onion.

(2)   Crush the garlic

(3)   Thinly slice the mushrooms

(4)   Heat the olive oil in a pan

(5)   Sauté the onion and garlic over a low heat for 15 minutes, until soft and lightly coloured

(6)   Add the mushrooms and stir-fry over a moderate heat for a further 3 minutes

(7)   Spoon the mixture into a bowl and leave to one side

(8)   Reduce the heat and add the minced beef

(9)   Cook slowly over a low heat for 5 minutes until the meat juices appear, breaking up the meat with a spoon

(10) Raise to a moderate heat and cook for another 5 minutes, until browned

(11) Bring a large pan of water to the boil, ready to cook the spaghetti

(12) Drain the tin of tomatoes

(13) Add them to pan with the minced beef,  the onion and mushroom mixture, the mixed herbs, tomato puree, mustard, wine and bay leaf

(14) Bring to the boil, and then reduce the heat and leave to simmer slowly for 30 minutes, adding more wine if necessary to keep the sauce moist

(15) Remove the bay leaf and season

(16) Cook the spaghetti in the pan of boiling water, according to the instructions on the packet, leaving the pasta cooked but slightly firm

(17) Drain and serve with the bolognaise sauce, and a bowl of Parmesan to pass around.


Over 200 pasta shapes have been invented to date, but the long-established favourite is spaghetti; and even this can be bought in a large assortment of thicknesses and lengths. ‘Spaghettini’ are thin strands of spaghetti and ‘spaghettoni’ are thick. This recipe is a healthy version of a traditional Italian dish. The use of lean meat reduces the fat content, and by cooking it slowly you will need less oil. If wished, you can use wholewheat spaghetti for extra fibre, and replace some of the minced beef with extra mushrooms. Serve with a green salad.


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