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20 minute Spaghetti Bolognese

You know when you come in from picking up the children from school, they are grumpy, the laundry needs sorting, the house is a mess, your husband is coming in late from work and you want to cook something quick for dinner that there’s a good chance your children will eat?  When this is the situation for me, I turn to Italian recipes and Spaghetti Bolognese is definitely my go-to 20 minute recipe.  Carbonara would be just as quick but I’m trying to be dairy free, I can make a tasty dairy free lasagne but it’s not fast enough…

Jamie Oliver is a personal hero of mine and I have his 30 minute recipe book, I’ve yet to get the 15 minute one but I’ve seen a few episodes of that series.  I think the concept is fab and I’m grateful he’s put time and thought to come up with the recipes.  However I do think he forgets the washing up and the fact that you have to grab things you need, wait for things to heat, boil etc.

I reckon 20 minute Spag Bol is do-able and here’s my schedule:


splash of olive oil

500g beef mince

Few slices of bacon (optional)

1 onion

4 cloves of garlic

2 carrots

1 courgette

2 teaspoons of pesto (optional)

2 tins of chopped tomatoes

frozen peas


Let’s Go!

First five minutes – Put the olive oil in a frying pan and turn up the heat.  Whilst that’s heating up, put water in a large pan and turn up the heat. If you’re using bacon, use scissors to cut it up into small pieces into the frying pan and then add the mince.  Whilst that’s browning, chop up the onion and garlic, peel the carrots and chop up the courgette.

Second five minutes – Once the meat is brown, add the vegetables.  This will include grating the carrots into the pan.  Fill the washing up bowl and wash the knife, chopping board and grater.  By this time the vegetables will be browning.  Add the pesto and stir through.

Third five minutes – Put the spaghetti in the now boiling water and put another saucepan filled with water on heat.  Stir in the tinned tomatoes and reduce the heat a little on this pan so the bolognese keeps bubbling.  Get your plates and cutlery out on the table.  Wipe down your surfaces where you have been cooking, rinse out your tomato tins and get your colander out.

Fourth five minutes – Give the bolognese a stir.  The water in the second saucepan should be boiling now so add in the peas.  The pasta should be cooked first, drain and put out on the plates.  Wash that saucepan, not the colander.  Once the peas are bobbing up to the top of the water, drain and put out on plates.  Wash second saucepan and colander.  Start serving the bolognese whilst shouting to the children to wash hands and come to the table.

Get the plates on the table and wash the bolognese pan.  I tend to cook too much of the pasta and sauce so Gareth and I can have leftovers for lunch the next day so obviously get those sorted before you wash pans!  Oh and I don’t dry anything, they are left on the draining board for Gareth to put away later, I figure it’s the least he can do.

Whilst the children are getting seated, grate some cheese (if they are so inclined) and voila you have your 20 minute Spaghetti Bolognese.  Hopefully things look like this in the next ten minutes…

2015-04-26 18.02.49-2 BLog - Spag Bol 2

If you have a tried and tested 20 minute meal – let me know!

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