Beef Cheek Spaghetti Bolognese Recipe

March 13, 2015 — Leave a comment

I post a decent amount of food pictures. If you ask me, I’ll gladly share the recipe. I have a recipe blog on the back burner (it has about 40 completed recipes currently), but I’m just too busy to maintain it at the moment. So, in the meantime, I will share the occasional recipe here on my startup blaa blaa blaa blog.


This is a classic bolognese recipe. Super simple, but with a twist: it’s extra delicious when you make it with fresh ground beef cheeks and bacon. I encourage you to buy a meat grinder and do this part yourself. You will be surprised at how much better things taste when you grind your own meat.


Beef Cheek Bolognese
Serves 6
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Prep Time
45 min
Cook Time
3 hr 30 min
Total Time
4 hr 15 min
Prep Time
45 min
Cook Time
3 hr 30 min
Total Time
4 hr 15 min
624 calories
18 g
162 g
28 g
59 g
11 g
501 g
903 g
11 g
0 g
13 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
Amount Per Serving
Calories 624
Calories from Fat 248
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 28g
Saturated Fat 11g
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2g
Monounsaturated Fat 11g
Cholesterol 162mg
Sodium 903mg
Total Carbohydrates 18g
Dietary Fiber 2g
Sugars 11g
Protein 59g
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
  1. 900g Fresh beef cheeks
  2. 100g pancetta
  3. 100g smoked bacon
  4. (1) large cooking onion
  5. (1) large carrot, peeled
  6. (1) red chili pepper, chopped (pith and seeds removed)
  7. (4) cloves garlic
  8. Fresh Thyme
  9. (2) 156ml cans organic tomato paste
  10. 500 ml whole milk (NOT skim, NOT 1%, NOT 2%)
  11. 500 ml homemade beef stock
  12. 500 ml white wine
  13. 500g spagetti
  14. Salt, plus more salt
  15. Pepper
  1. *You can ask your butcher to pre-grind the cheeks, or do it yourself. Either way, you want to do this on the day you cook: Ask them to grind the bacon and mix with the beef cheeks.
  1. Make sure the beef cheeks are really cold.
  2. Cut into cubes appropriate for your grinder. Do the same with the bacon.
  3. Alternate grinding beef chunks and bacon.
  4. Re-grind everything again. (This can be messy. If you have time between grinding sessions, put the beef in the freezer for 15 minutes to firm it up)
  5. Set aside.
  6. Box grate your onions and carrots. Set aside.
  7. Smash & chop the garlic. Set aside.
  1. In a large heavy bottom pot, over medium high heat, pour in a few glugs of good olive oil.
  2. Toss in the ground beef and bacon mixture. Stir until it's brown. During the browning process you are going to add salt - keep tasting and adding salt until you get the level correct. This is important. (Do you know when you are in a great restaurant, and you're all like "man, this tastes amazing". "You're welcome", says salt! Look, just don't eat processed foods throughout the day and when it comes time to cook at home you will have zero sodium in your diet and now have the freedom to put the needed amount of good kosher salt in your food). Remove from heat and set aside.
  3. In a separate pan, over medium high heat, pour in a glug of olive oil. Add the onions and carrots. Stir frequently for about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and chili and stir for another minute. Remove from heat and add to the pot with the beef. If this pan needs deglazing, use the beef stock to do so. Then set aside.
  4. Put the beef and veggie mixture back over medium heat and get the temperature up. Add the wine and reduce a bit.
  5. Add the stock at this point. Or, if you had deglazed the pan, pour that in now.
  6. Bring the heat back up and add the two cans of tomato paste. Stir.
  7. Add the whole milk. Stir. Reduce heat to low (as low as it can go).
  8. Grab a handful of thyme and start stripping it. Add to the bolognese.
  9. Check your salt levels.
  10. Crack in some pepper.
  11. Cover and simmer over low for a few hours. Stir occasionally - there is a lot of milk fat in there that can burn.
  1. Pick a really good dried spaghetti. I have been using Martelli lately and it's fantastic. You can get it at the Cheese Boutique or at Festival on College St at Grace.
  2. Fill a huge pot with water and add more salt than it feels like you should. Seriously, if you taste the water it should taste like a really salty soup. If you skip this, no matter how great the sauce you just made is, your pasta will not taste right. I free pour at this point in my life but the best way to know if you have salted the water correctly is to taste it. You're going for "salty soup". Bring to a boil.
  3. Add your dried pasta, cook until al denté. Drain in a collander. NEVER rinse your pasta EVER. Under ANY circumstance.
  4. Put the pasta in a large mixing bowl and add two ladles of the sauce. Stir gently until the pasta is coated.
  1. With a set of thongs, place a healthy amount into serving bowls. Add a good sized ladle of the bolognese on top of the pasta. Top off with some fresh grated (yourself) parmesan reggiano and some fresh cracked pepper.
  2. That's it! Enjoy!
  1. At some point during that process, start drinking wine.
Jeremy Potvin


Jeremy Potvin