Summer Bolognese

Summer Bolognese

Every now and then I come across a recipe that is so inspired I can only wonder how the world has gotten along without it for so long.  I’ve been a fan of Donna Hay for a long time, but her newest cookbook, The New Classics, is transformative in its originality.  The first recipe I had to try was the Summer Bolognese, which takes one of the more ordinary meals in the world – spaghetti with meat sauce – and transforms it into a 21st century revelation of freshness and flavor.  You can’t feel guilty about eating this pasta, and best of all, you can combine the ingredients at the end and serve it in the skillet, right off the stove.  Couldn’t be easier or more appealing!

Summer Bolognese

Summer Bolognese

Adapted from Donna Hay’s The New Classics

Serves: 4-6

Prep time: 30 minutes


  • 1 16-ounce box of thin spaghetti (I prefer to use thin spaghetti, for both the look and the more delicate texture.)
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons dried chili flakes
  • 1 pound of ground sirloin
  • 2 tablespoons thyme leaves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons superfine sugar
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • Salt and fresh pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice plus one tablespoon of lemon rind, finely grated
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 14 ounces grape and cherry tomatoes, half red and half green, or a mixture of different colored heirloom tomatoes
  • ½ cup kalamata olives, pitted
  • 3 tablespoons microgreens and baby herbs: basil, thyme, watercress
  • Parmesan, grated finely for dusting just before serving


  1. Summer Bolognese
    Cook spaghetti at a rolling boil in water that has been salted and sprayed with a bit of olive oil for 8-10 minutes, or until al dente.  Drain pasta and set aside in warm pan.
  2. Heat one tablespoon of olive oil in a large frying pan at high, and add the ground sirloin, garlic, thyme and chili flakes.
  3. Stir the mixture, breaking up clumps of beef  until browned.
  4. Add sugar and tomato paste and mix in.
  5. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Add wine and cook for another 5 minutes until the liquid is reduced, before adding remaining olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar and lemon rind.
    Summer Bolognese
    Summer Bolognese
  7. Remove from heat, scraping the mixture into one corner of the frying pan.
  8. Add the cooked spaghetti to another third of the frying pan, and the tomatoes and olives into the last third of the pan.
  9. Sprinkle with microgreens and herbs, and top with freshly grated parmesan. Serve immediately.
    Summer Bolognese
    Summer Bolognese

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