10 ways to upgrade your spaghetti bolognese

Jill Dupleix's benchmark spag bol (recipe below).
Jill Dupleix's benchmark spag bol (recipe below). Photo: William Meppem

Spaghetti bolognese is so familiar to us all, it's like part of the family, welcome home any time. But here's the thing. Could it be better? What would make it even more delicious? Here are 10 ways to riff on it.

1. Swap the minced beef for hand-chopped beef as per the traditional ragu of Bologna, and cook it long and slow.

2. Instead of 1kg minced beef, use a mix of minced beef and minced pork, veal or chicken for extra sweetness.

3. Swap the diced bacon for diced pancetta, smoked lardons, pork jowl (guanciale) or mortadella, for contrasting textures.

4. Add 100g dried wild mushrooms, soaked in warm water for one hour and chopped. Strain the water and use to replace some of the stock.

5. Add a finely chopped red capsicum or baked eggplant to up the veg count.

6. Add 400g chicken livers, cleaned and chopped, for extra richness (and if you like the sound of that, consider a handful of chopped, blanched brains as well).

7. Add a dash of soy sauce, for a deeper savouriness.

8. Add two cloves, because cloves are awesome.

9. Beef up the greenery with the classic "song" of herbs – parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme (sing along now).

10. Finish with two tablespoons cream or milk, to pull it all together as one.