Weeknight Gluten-Free Spaghetti Bolognese

Lately, I’ve been obsessed with the idea of making meals that give me a distinct sense of accomplishment in the shortest amount of time. Part of that comes from having the new baby in the house, as I’ve resumed full dinner-making duties, but maintaining my typical busy workdays (for a while there, my wife was taking the brunt of dinner duty, using my cookbooks and this blog as a reference). Sure, I could grab a jar of tomato sauce and toss it with some gluten-free pasta, but how long would it take me to make bolognese from scratch? Today’s recipe is the result of a recent project, where I worked to make a meal that’s the best of both worlds: something I can be proud of, but not keep my family waiting in the process.

The method is simple: sauté an onion, add some beef, then tomato sauce and spices; as the flavors marry, boil the pasta and blast some tomatoes under the broiler, then throw it all together. Your pasta options are many: gluten-free spaghetti, spiralized vegetables, or even Cappello’s grain-free fettuccine – whatever fits your dietary restrictions or budget.

Weeknight Gluten-Free Spaghetti Bolognese (Gluten-free, Paleo, Primal, Perfect Health Diet)

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: Easy

2 tbsp olive oil, divided
1/2 onion, coarsely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb ground beef
1/2 tsp salt, more to taste
1/2 tsp pepper, more to taste
1 can (14oz) tomato sauce
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried basil
2 bay leaves
1 package (8oz) gluten-free spaghetti (or the others linked above)
1 lb small tomatoes (cherry, grape, or red delight), sliced in half

to garnish:
juice of 1/2 lemon (~1 tbsp)
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
crushed red pepper
grated parmesan cheese

1. In a large skillet, warm 1 tbsp of the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until softened, about 4 minutes, then add the garlic; sauté until aromatic, about 30 seconds. Add the beef, salt, and pepper; sauté until mostly cooked through, breaking up chunks as you go, about 6 minutes. Add the tomato sauce, oregano, basil, and bay leaves, stirring to combine; bring to a simmer then reduce heat to low.

2. As the sauce simmers, prepare the pasta and tomatoes. Bring a pot of salted water to boil, then cook the spaghetti as indicated on the box (about 9 minutes, usually). Once the pasta is ready, drain and rinse under cold water until cool to the touch. As the pasta cooks, set your oven to broil and arrange an oven rack near the top. Brush the tomatoes with the remaining 1 tbsp olive oil, then broil the tomatoes until softened and starting to brown, about 5 minutes.

3. Fish out the bay leaves, then add the pasta to the skillet; toss to combine. Add the tomatoes and garnishes: lemon juice, basil leaves, parsley, crushed red pepper, and parmesan cheese. Taste and add salt or pepper as desired.

19 thoughts on “Weeknight Gluten-Free Spaghetti Bolognese

  1. Yum! I can hardly wait to try this Russ. I hope you don’t mind answering a question… What is the purpose of cooling the pasta down? Why not just time the end of cooking it to coincide with the finishing of the sauce? I usually rinse my pasta but not till cool to the touch. All the best to you and your family!

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    1. Hi Heidi, rinsing the pasta until it is cool is a standard step for me, to allow the reader/chef some flexibility in preparing the dish; cooling the pasta will stop the cooking process and help prevent the pasta from sticking together, so that if you make it a bit ahead of schedule it’ll be easier to work with (I also often toss the cool noodles in a bit of olive oil to prevent clumping). If you are able to time the dish so that the warm noodles go in the pot, that’s perfectly fine!

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  2. Oh yes you need easy to make food with a new baby and presumably not too much sleep! You are so right on how quick this is to put together, much nicer knowing you have made it from scratch, I bet this tastes even nicer the next day? Your suggestion of spiralized vegetable is exactly how I love a bolognaise.

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  3. Made this for dinner , and it was a huge hit! Used the Cappello pasta for the first time, and it was perfect. Actually better than other fresh pasta made with flour. This meal will be on the top of our list! Thank you, Russ, you did it again!

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  4. I made this tonight, following it exactly as written. This was my first introduction to gluten-free pasta. My husband and I both liked it enough to have it as a rotation to our weeknight dinners. The red peppers & grated parm are a must! Thanks!

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