Scott O'Brien

Spag Bol

Spag Bol


  • 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves , minced
  • 1 onion , finely chopped (brown, yellow or white)
  • 1 lb / 500g beef mince (ground beef) OR half pork, half beef
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) dry red wine (sub water or beef broth/stock)
  • 2 beef bouillon cubes , crumbled OR 2 tsp granulated beef bouillon (no water, just the powder)
  • 800g / 28 oz can crushed tomato (or tomato passata)
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 tsp white sugar , if needed (Note 3)
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme (or 1/2 tsp dried thyme or oregano)
  • Salt and pepper


  • Heat oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Cook onion/garlic for 3 minutes until light golden and softened
  • Turn heat up to high and cook beef until golden browned
  • Add red wine, bring to simmer, cook for 1 minute until alcohol smell is gone


  • Add remaining ingredients, except salt and pepper. Stir, bring to a simmer, then turn down to medium so that it bubbles gently.
  • Cook for 20-30 minutes without lid. Add water if the sauce gets too thick. Stir occasionally


  • Add 3/4 cup of water, cover with lid, simmer on very low for 2-2.5 hours stir every 30 minutes or so.

  • Cook pasta to serve