Spicy Bolognese

spaghetti 1

We eat a lot of spaghetti around our house.

A lot.

Like, maybe every week. If not that often, then at least every other week. Let’s face it, it’s quick, easy, economical, and even the pickiest toddler will eat it.  I have my go-to sauce that I typically make, and, since my guys insist on having some sort of meat with their pasta–I usually add in my homemade meatballs.  If you haven’t made your own meatballs before, you’re totally missing out.  Seriously, they are so, so easy, and better than anything that you can get in the freezer case.

When I found out that this month’s Crazy Cooking Challenge was for spaghetti and red sauce, I was a little hesitant to participate.  Simply because I love the way we usually prepare our spaghetti, and what can I say–I’m boring a creature of habit.  But then I decided this Challenge would be a great opportunity to try a different version of one of our favorite meals.

spaghetti 2

After searching Pinterest (time-suck, much???), I finally stumbled on the recipe I wanted to try: arribiata sauce from Live Love Pasta.  It caught my attention because arrabiata sauce is basically a spicy marinara–and you know how I feel about spicy foods!  Love ’em!

If you’re not into the spicy scene, don’t worry.  The red pepper flakes listed in the recipe below won’t make this dish overly spicy (my four-year old gobbled it up).  But if you want a little extra heat, by all means, add a little more (we did!).

And, of course, I changed the recipe some, adding in meat, a bit of heavy cream to thicken the sauce, and a few extra spices.  It was a nice change from our norm, and now I have a new red-sauce recipe in my arsenal to change things up every now and then!*

spaghetti 3

*Cheese-sprinkles courtesy of Doodle

Spicy Bolognese
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound lean ground sirloin
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 1 28-ounce can tomato sauce
  • ¼ cup tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh basil leaves
  • freshly grated parmesan cheese
  1. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the ground sirloin and cook until the meat has started to brown, about 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in the garlic, oregano, and red pepper flakes and cook for one more minute.
  2. Pour in the wine to deglaze the bottom of the pan, scraping up all of the yummy brown bits.
  3. Add the tomato sauce, tomato paste, lemon juice, and salt and pepper. Simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes.
  4. Add the heavy cream and basil, and simmer for an additional 10 minutes, until thickened.
  5. Toss with spaghetti noodles and parmesan cheese.

I’m linking up over at Mom’s Crazy Cooking Challenge today, and if you haven’t checked out Tina’s site, you should. She’s got some great stuff over there.


Check out my previous Challenge entries:

Dark Chocolate Cake with Hot Chocolate Buttercream
Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup
Eggnog Fudge
Loaded Mashed Potato Casserole

And be sure to check out all of the other great recipes from this month’s participants!



  1. ButterYum

    Super yummy photos…. I love a good bolognese, and if it’s spicy, all the better!

    I hope you’ll stop by and visit my CCC – Spaghetti Pie


  2. Kristin

    I love how some of us didn’t want to participate because we loved our red sauces so much!

  3. Terry

    Looks amazing! I like it when a challenge gets me out of my comfort zone, this was my first try at baked spaghetti! We do tend to be creatures of habit. #18

  4. amy @ fearless homemaker

    sounds awesome! i’m with ya – we have pasta at least once a week (it’s scheduled for tomorrow already!). while i love our standard go-to recipes, it is fun to try something new every now + then. good for you!

  5. Jen @ Juanita's Cocina

    I was in the same boat as you! I love my own spaghetti sauce and was unsure I’d like anything else!

    This one looks great and I hope you had as much fun as I did this month!


  6. April @ Angel's Homestead

    My family is the same way, they’re like the old Wendy’s commercials, “Where’s The Beef?!” lol Your sauce looks great.

  7. Joan Hayes@chocolate and more

    Everyone is putting red wine in their sauce and I’ve never even considered it. Must be good so it’ll be in my next batch for sure!
    I’m with you about the creature of habit, some things you just get in the routine of making, and having the whole family enjoy, that you don’t want to (are afraid to) change up.

  8. Hayley

    Looooook how good that looks! Even though you’re already well aware of how good it looks and tastes (duh, Hayley) it still begs pointing out. It looks SO good and I LOVE spaghetti. Talk about comfort food! You had me at spicy. And I kind of want to snuggle where the cheese has already melted.

  9. Shirley

    This looks so amazing! Makes me so hungry. YUM

  10. Jennifer

    Looks yummy!

    Jen #19

  11. A Scientist in the Kitchen

    I like a good spicy bolognese as well. Here in Thailand, spaghetti sauce usually have lots of chilis… yum!



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Hello There!

Interestingly enough, I didn’t grow up with an interest in cooking.  In fact, I informed my mother on multiple occasions that I was not getting an advanced education so I could spend my evenings preparing meals.

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