Ophelia's Bolognese Sauce

We all have comfort dish, and youngest daughter's favourite is Bolognese. It has to be mum's special bolognese and the secret is the sauce. Works great with pasta, rice or baked potatoes, and is always popular with kids and those who are kids at heart.

Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: cook time



  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 4 small mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, peeled and grated
  • 1 courgette, grated
  • 300g minced beef or lamb
  • 500ml tomato passata
  • 1 tbsp caster sugar (optional)


  1. Heat the oil in a large heavy based saucepan over a medium heat. Sauté the onion in the oil for a couple of minutes until transparent. Add the garlic and mushrooms and sauté for a couple of minutes, stirring with a wooden spoon. Stir in the oregano, carrots, courgette and mince and mix until all the ingredients are well distributed. Cook for a couple of minutes so that the minced is beginning to brown. Pour in the passata and stir so that is well combined with all the ingredients. Add around 200ml of water or beef/vegetable stock. Bring to a simmer then reduce the heat to low and leave to slowly simmer for an hour stirring regularly so that the base doesn't burn, if the sauce is too reduced add a little water.
  2. The sauce should be reduced but not dry and the mince tender when ready. Add the sugar (optional), this just helps to bring out the tomato flavour. Season if you wish with a little salt and for order children a little soy sauce really brings out the flavour but be careful not to make it too salty. Serve with pasta, rice, baked potatoes or make a lasagne. For babies use tiny pasta such as orzo.
* This makes 6-8 portions for a toddler and more for a baby. For 6-12 months purée the sauce. Freeze in portions for 2-3 months. Also, change ingredients to suit any allergies.