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Spaghetti bolognese with chilli and thyme

Schwartz asked me to make one of their recipes: this comforting, herby spag bol spiked with a little chilli. I was happy to help, loving this classic as we all do. Seriously, does anyone you know dislike it? If so, immediately unfriend them, as they are clearly mad. I was especially happy to do it as I love the additions of dried herbs and spices. Dried thyme, along with rosemary, mint and oregano is one of my favourite ingredients and a Godsend in winter months when you need flavour but have no basil and parsley growing (for me, they must be fresh). There’s a good, robust hit of thyme in this recipe – and it’s all the more enjoyable for it. Chilli powder in a spag bol is a new one on me, but it’s worth a try, I held back a little as my kids are only 4 and 2, but go for broke if your family can handle it.

My other spag bol tips are… (you’re on the edge of your seat right now aren’t you): use great quality beef mince from your local butcher. (I literally am in love with my butchers, Watson’s farm shop in Hope. They are immense, been serving this little village for a couple of hundred years, the same family. How lucky am I to have those guys on my doorstep? VUUURY.) Then once you have your quality mince, cook it for a long time – this recipe dictates an hour and I think that’s fine. Do it for at least that long, on a low, low heat and with the lid on. Lastly use good quality pasta, not the cheapest one available. Tagliatelle, spaghetti, linguine are all great for this dish – but spend a few extra pennies and the different is noticeable (and of course cook it for just under the time it says to attain that all important al dente texture). Serve with freshly grated parmesan and you’ll be in for a right good treat.

Serves: 4 adults
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour
Total time: just over an hour

450g beef mince
1 onion, diced
1 tablespoon Schwartz dried thyme
1 teaspoon (or more, as your taste dictates) Schwartz chilli powder
275ml (1 large glass) of red wine
1 tablespoon of tomato puree
1 tin chopped tomatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper
400g spaghetti

Freshly grated parmesan to serve


  1. Let the onion sweat in the oil for a few minutes until soft. 
  2. Add the mince and brown. Throw in the thyme and chilli and cook out for a minute or two. 
  3. Now the tomato puree. And the red wine. Cook that off for a couple of minutes now. 
  4. And finally the tinned toms. Season. Bring to the boil then simmer, lid on, for 1 hour. 
  5. When it’s 20 mins away from being ready, put a large pan of water on to boil. When boiling add the pasta and cook until al dente. Reserve half a mugful of pasta water and drain. 
  6. Combine the pasta and sauce and toss well, adding a splash of the pasta water to avoid it going claggy. Serve with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and some parmesan.

I was paid to write this post for Schwartz and sent the herbs and spices to make the dish. I am happy to work with them as I love their products. If you think I would like your products and would like me to write a paid sponsored post using them please email 



  1. Nana
    December 9, 2014 / 2:32 pm

    This all sounds a delight Rachel and as you know I make a mean spag bol…. my secret ingredient is Henderson's Relish or failing that Worcester sauce as well as Oxo's which all goes to making to a good Ragu ,well done …again xx

  2. January 15, 2015 / 10:38 am

    You definitely need that bite from HP, Henderson's or L&P don't you. Thanks for the comment! XX

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