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Weeknight Meatball Bolognese

  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: Serves 4


Weeknight bolognese using mini frozen meatballs as a shortcut, chunky carrots for texture and cream because creamy pasta is all we need in this life.


  • 1/4 large onion, diced
  • 1 cup chopped carrots (2 handfuls baby carrots or 2 medium carrots, give or take)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 cups beef stock
  • 28 ounces canned whole tomatoes in their juices
  • 3 cups frozen mini meatballs (about 10 ounces total)
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 10-12 ounces spaghetti for serving, cooked to al dente
  • parmesan cheese for sprinkling


  1. Preheat a large deep skillet to medium-high heat with a drizzle of olive oil. Add the onion and carrots and cook, stirring, for about five minutes with a sprinkle of salt. When the onions have softened somewhat, add the garlic and tomato paste to the pan. Stir the tomato paste to coat the vegetables, and let cook for one minute.
  2. Add the stock and tomatoes to the skillet, breaking up the tomatoes with your hands as you put them in the pan. Stir to combine, and let the sauce simmer for 15 minutes without reducing the heat, stirring every few minutes.
  3. During this time, I like to cook and drain the pasta. After 15 minutes, add the meatballs to the sauce and cook for 10-15 minutes more, stirring, until the meatballs are hot and cooked through and the carrots are soft. Taste the sauce and add pinches of salt to your preference until it is very flavorful.
  4. When the meatballs and carrots are cooked, add the cream and pasta to the skillet. Toss the pasta with the sauce, taste one more time for seasoning, add some more salt, and serve topped with parmesan. Enjoy!


This is the Staub Braiser that I use in this and tons of other recipes. It's big enough for making the sauce and tossing all of the pasta, which I love.

  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes

Keywords: kid friendly dinners, spaghetti, bolognese