After a winter exploration around Melbourne’s best sights including bayside beaches, European delis and city laneways, a final quick bite at Pellegrini’s Espresso Bar inspired this recreation of their iconic bolognese sauce recipe. We think it’s on the money, but you be the judge!

Pellegrini’s Style Bolognese Sauce Recipe

1 tbsp Extra virgin olive oil
½ Onion, finely chopped
1 small carrot, cut into fine cubes
2 medium carrots, rough cut into 1cm thick half rounds
2-3 bacon rinds, cut into fine cubes
2 tsp dried Italian herbs
2-3 small bay leaves
3 cloves garlic, crushed
500g course ground beef, well seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tbsp tomato paste
1 tin Italian crushed tomatoes
2-3 tsp Vegeta stock powder
½ cup water
½ tsp freshly ground nutmeg
1 tbsp freshly grated Grana Padano cheese
⅓ cup full cream milk
Butter and additional grated Grana Padano to serve


1. In a heavy-base deep-pan, over medium heat, add extra virgin olive oil, onion, carrots, bacon, Italian herbs and bay leaves. Slowly cook until the onion becomes transparent. Occasionally stir through herbs and carrots and continue cooking until carrots soften slightly.

2. Add garlic and stir through to cook gently for a few minutes.

3. Add seasoned ground beef and thoroughly brown the meat, breaking it apart with a spoon and stirring well.

4. Add the tomato paste and stir through the meat, cooking the paste with the beef for a few minutes.

5. Add tinned tomatoes, stock powder, water, freshly ground nutmeg, reduce heat to a low simmer, cover and cook for one hour.

6. Further reduce heat by adding a pizza tray beneath the pan (if using a gas flame), add Grana Padano cheese and milk and further cook (covered) for 2-3 hours, stirring occasionally. Adjust the sauce with a few drops of water if you feel it becomes too thick.

7. Before serving, using a tablespoon, carefully skim the fat away and discard. If your ground beef contains a lot of fat, stir the bolognese to bring more fat to the surface and skim again. Repeat if necessary.

8. Further cook for 30 minutes to one hour. The carrot chunks should become extraordinarily tender and darker in colour. The carrots will have absorbed much of the tomato, beef, and stock flavour at this stage; the bolognese is now ready for serving.

To Serve

Cook your spaghetti in salted water ’till al dente. Serve the spaghetti piping hot with a dollop of butter and then a generous amount of bolognese sauce. Top with freshly grated Grana Padano cheese.

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