Quick and Easy Spaghetti Bolognese Recipe

Named after the rich cookery style of Bologna, Italy, Bolognese refers to dishes served with a thick, full-bodied meat and vegetable sauce, often enhanced with wine and milk or cream. The Italian term for this sauce is ragu Bolognese, or simply ragu. While we love the images of a cook standing over the stove for hours, stirring the family's secret recipe for Bolognese until it is just right, we have simplified the technique so you can create a tasty meal in under 30 minutes. Create a satisfying meat sauce by cooking Italian sausage, peppers, sweet onions and garlic, then add a quality jarred pasta sauce, such as Barilla or Classico. We know what you are thinking; Grandmother would never use a jarred sauce. But if she could taste this recipe, she may just give a nod of approval. Remember to reserve some pasta water when you boil the spaghetti noodles, because adding the starchy water to the meat sauce adds richness and creaminess. This recipe for Bolognese freezes beautifully, so think about making a pot or two and freezing in appropriate containers for a quick dinner or snack at a later date.

Quick and Easy Spaghetti Bolognese
Photo: Greg DuPree
Active Time:
15 mins
Total Time:
25 mins
Serves 4 (serving size: about 1 1/2 cups pasta, about 1 1/4 cups sauce)


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • 1 pound sweet Italian sausage, casings removed

  • 1/2 cup chopped sweet onion

  • 1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper

  • 2 garlic cloves, minced

  • 1 (24 oz.) jar tomato and basil pasta sauce (such as Barilla or Classico)

  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar

  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

  • 1 (16 oz.) package spaghetti or linguine noodles

  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

  • Shaved Parmesan cheese (optional)


  1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Add sausage, onion, bell pepper, and garlic, and cook, stirring, until sausage is browned and vegetables are tender, 8 to 10 minutes.

  2. Stir in pasta sauce, sugar, salt, and black pepper; bring mixture to a boil over medium- high. Reduce heat to low; simmer 15 minutes.

  3. Cook pasta according to package directions, reserving 1/2 cup cooking water. Stir chopped basil into meat sauce. Stir in up to 1/2 cup reserved cooking water, adding 1/4 cup at a time, if needed, to reach desired consistency. Serve sauce over cooked spaghetti. Garnish with shaved Parmesan cheese, if desired.

Time-Saving Tip

Pasta is one of the quickest meals you can make, but there's an easy way to get it on the table even faster: When you're filling your stockpot from the tap, use very hot water to kickstart the boiling process. (Try this to speed up blanching or boiling vegetables too.)

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