This easy recipe for beef bolognese sauce is delicious over creamy polenta. Have a cozy, comforting dish on the table in just 30 minutes!
This beef bolognese is one of my go to meat sauce recipe! Its simple, relatively quick and delicious. And absolute perfection served over warm, creamy polenta! On a cold night, this dish is all I need to warm me up from my head to my toes. So cozy!
Although it closely resembles it, this is not your traditional bolognese. Traditional bolognese sauce often includes a mixture of beef and pork that is simmered for hours. This is definitely a shortcut method. While you can’t beat the flavour brought on by slowly simmering a sauce for hours, its not always possible and sometimes (often in our home) you just need a shortcut.
My bolognese is based on a Greek version of a meat sauce, similar to ones used in dishes like pastitsio, moussaka or “makaronia me kima” (pasta with meat sauce). It’s made with only beef (no pork) and gets a lovely hint of flavour from cinnamon.
How to make easy beef bolognese sauce
While a traditional bolognese simmers away for hours, this quick version is ready in less than half an hour!
To make the bolognese sauce, you will need:
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1/2 onion, chopped
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 cup water
- 2 tablespoons parsley
- 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1/4 teaspoon sugar, optional
- 1 cinnamon stick
- salt and pepper to taste
To start, I heat up the olive oil in a skillet and add the beef. I brown the beef for a few minutes, breaking up any larger pieces as it cooks. Then I add the onion and continue to saute it with the beef.
Once the meat is cooked through and the onions are soft and translucent, I add the remaining ingredients and let it all simmer together. I often add a smidge of sugar to the sauce to cut the acidity of the tomato but that is entirely optional. 15 minutes of simmering is all that’s needed and you have an easy version of a bolognese sauce ready to go!
I served this bolognese over creamy parmesan polenta. Its so cozy and comforting! It’s also great served over pasta!
Hope you enjoy this quick dinner option! Bon appetit!
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Easy Beef Bolognese with Creamy Polenta
- For the beef bolognese
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 lb ground beef
1/2 onion, chopped
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup water
2 tablespoons parsley
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/4 teaspoon sugar*, optional
1 cinnamon stick
salt and pepper to taste
- For the polenta
3 cups chicken broth
3/4 cup grits or polenta
2 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese + extra for serving
- Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat and add the beef. Brown the beef for a few minutes, being sure to break up any large pieces. Add the onions and continue to saute until the beef is cooked through and the onions have softened. Add the tomato paste, water, sugar, parsley, Italian seasoning, and cinnamon stick. Cover the skillet and let it simmer on low heat for 15 minutes. Add more water if needed. Discard cinnamon stick.
- Bring 3 cups of chicken broth to a boil. Add the polenta and lower to medium heat. Cook for approximately 15 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in butter, Parmesan cheese and pepper.
- Spoon polenta into dishes. Top with the beef bolognese and sprinkle with freshly grated Parmesan.
- Sugar is added to the sauce to help cut the acidity from the tomato paste.