One Pot Pasta Bolognese is a quicker version of Spaghetti Bolognese using two handy shortcuts: cook the pasta in bolognese sauce and serve it with a thick, tangy sauce instead of the usual crushed tomatoes.
For those skeptical of this one-pot pasta cooking method, see why it works below!
Before I jump into the recipe, I have a message for purists who are skeptical (and some even take offense!) of this one-pot pasta cooking method:
A Message for the One-Pot-Pasta Cynics!
I don’t blame you for not to be sure. recipe. I’ve tried my share of one-pot pasta, and the two biggest offenders are the unappetising, sticky sauce from all the starch in the pasta, and the undercooked pasta.
But here’s why this one works and tastes so good:
1-Passata – thicker than the usual crushed tomatoes used in classic spaghetti bolognese, so it can soak up the extra starch without tasting ‘hard’; and
2-it’s saucier- than traditional bolognese, the extra liquid is because we first have to cook the pasta evenly with a thinner meat sauce, then add more sauce to coat the starch (another times, less starch broth). Note: I said SAUCIER.
No, this is not a traditional Bolognese recipe, and although some people who see this recipe will say that their Nonas will roll in their graves, there is actually pasta in Italy that is cooked in a pan (orzo /risoni are common).
Is as good as a classic bolognese, simmer for a few hours to blend the flavors, beat the tomatoes into a smooth sauce, let the meat soften and melt, then pour over the cooked Italian in a pan of water salty In the noodles?
Of course not.
But for convenience and speed, the marginal loss of quality is a very small price to pay.
And it’s always delicious.
So purists, put your horses down and try it! I will never post a recipe that I am not proud of.
One Pot Pasta Bolognese
The idea of this one pot pasta recipe is to get the liquid to pasta ratio just right so that when the pasta cooks, it absorbs the excess liquid, leaving you with a juicy pot of pasta and bolognese!
It’s really all you know and love about classic spaghetti bolognese – and with a few handy shortcuts, you can do the same thing in less time, less effort and only one pot to wash Results delicious:
1-Tomato Passata (aka Tomato Sauce) – creates a thick, rich meat sauce without simmering for 20 minutes; and
2-Pasta cooked in sauce – from the extra liquid The sauce starts so we can cook the pasta as usual in a large pot of boiling water!
Here’s a little preview of what it might look like. rich! Thick!
Ingredients in One Pot Pasta Bolognese
It’s made with essentially the same ingredients as traditional bologna, with a few key differences:
- Tomato passata instead of crushed tomatoes – for a thick, tangy tomato sauce. New to tomato passata? Read it here; and
- Bouillon/beef broth instead of cubes – adds extra flavor to the sauce and thins it out at first so we can “cook” the pasta. In a classic bolognese, we use stock cubes and do not add water (unless we cook slowly).
A few quick notes on the other ingredients:
- Ground Beef / Ground Beef – I usually use lean meat, but any fat percentage will do here. The recipe also works with lamb, pork, chicken, and turkey;
- Tomato sauce – to give a light tomato flavor and thicken the sauce;
- Worcestershire Sauce – tasty. The best secondary soy sauce (yes, it really won’t make it taste Asian, I promise!);
- Dried Italian Herb Blend – I use a store bought premix for convenience, but here are many options (dried and fresh rosemary, thyme), or you can even omit it. Included in recipe instructions;
- Chili Flakes (Red Pepper Flakes) – I like it a little spicy, but it’s 100% optional!
Garlic and Onions – Essential Flavor Bases!
Different types of pasta? Chapter
Absolutely! It can be made with any long or short pasta. Pasta that requires a longer cooking time will simply need to sit longer on the stovetop, with a little boiling water added as needed to keep it juicy.
Short pasta dishes (like macaroni, spirals) don’t need as much liquid.
How to make One Pot Pasta Bolognese
It starts out like your everyday Bolognese – until you add beef broth and the Bolognese seems to get very watery. But that’s exactly what you want – so we can cook pasta like you do in a pot of boiling water!
- Cook the garlic, onion and beef as usual;
- Add tomato passata, beef broth and all;
- Stir well – the sauce will look runny, that’s exactly what you want!
- Bring the sauce to a boil, then add the pasta as you would to a pot of boiling water;
- Let stand 30 seconds to begin to soften, then immerse in liquid;
- Cook for 12 minutes, until finally stirred evenly until you have a large pot of perfectly cooked Spaghetti Bolognese!
Want meatless pasta in one pot?
Switch to this one pot vegetable pasta recipe. Vegetables can’t handle the quick cooking called for in this recipe, so it’s best to use short pasta that can be simmered.
I really love this scrumptious one-pot pasta, and how the Bolognese is so rich and thick and sticks to the pasta instead of ending up like a pool at the bottom of the bowl.
Seasoned cooks will appreciate this cooking method for emulsifying pasta sauce and pasta, an essential step in pasta recipes, usually at the end by adding the cooked pasta to the pot with the pasta sauce. I do this for all my pasta recipes that aren’t quick and easy recipes like this (as Italians and respectable restaurants do!).
For those wondering – if this one pot pasta is so good, why isn’t all pasta cooked like this?
The answer is that this method of cooking pasta relies on a certain level of precision in liquid to pasta ratios, minimum batches, certain types of pasta sauces for the desired cooking time, and vigorous stirring.
This cooking method also means that all the starch in the pasta ends up in the pasta sauce, which is not ideal for many types of pasta sauces as they end up being too tough.
Here are some examples of pasta that cannot be prepared with this one-pot method:
- Mushroom Pasta – no, because there is not enough sauce to cook the pasta;
- Creamy Chicken Pasta with Creamy Tomato Sausage Breast – sauce becomes too viscous;
- Creamy Garlic Shrimp Pasta – too delicate for this cooking method;
- Sausage meatball pasta – not enough sauce. The one-pot method needs to be adjusted; and
- Shredded Beef Ragu Pasta – asks for slow cooked then shredded beef.
Not good for a boiling pot – too bulky.
The lesson here is that one-pot macaroni recipes can produce wonderful results, but must be used selectively for the right recipe. I’ve shared a few over the years – here are some reader favorites: