Risotto Bolognese | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Risotto Bolognese

Beef Dinner

Risotto Bolognese is a mash up of two classic Italian dishes. Stir your rice right into your slow cooked homemade bolognese sauce for a hearty one pot dinner. The flavor is deep and rich and irresistible.

Risotto Bolognese | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Now that we have a new flat with a spacious kitchen, I find myself wanting to be in there all the time. It’s not quite our dream kitchen yet, but I like being in the space and daydreaming about what we could turn it into. I find myself wishing I could spend all day every day in my kitchen somehow. 

If you’re looking to spend a lot of daydreaming time in your kitchen, you should definitely make risotto. Few recipes lend themselves so perfectly to spacing so well. 20 minutes of constant stirring is the perfect excuse for uninterrupted reflection. 

Risotto Bolognese | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Why should you make Risotto Bolognese?

Risotto Bolognese is a bit of a project recipe. This is not something you can make on a Tuesday after soccer practice. This recipe is for those times when you really feel like cooking, when you want to linger in the kitchen and revel in your domesticity. The good news is, this makes so much risotto that you won’t have to cook for two more days.

We start by making bolognese sauce from scratch. If you have a food processor, it’s really easy. Get out your biggest oven proof pot because this dish has a built in nap time while your sauce bubbles away for an hour. I’m telling you, this is a cook’s indulgence.

Risotto Bolognese doesn’t require any special skill, just a bit of attention. And I mean a bit. It all pays off once you get it on the table, though. We took the time to develop deep flavors. I could eat this by the bucketful. 

Risotto Bolognese | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Let’s take the time to make something awesome.

Looking for more awesome risotto recipes? Try this sunny Lemon Risotto.


Risotto Bolognese

Risotto Bolognese | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Risotto Bolognese takes time, but the result is completely worth it.

  • Author: Renee Rendall
  • Prep Time: 40
  • Cook Time: 60
  • Total Time: 1 hour 40 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Italian


  • 1 onion, peeled and quartered
  • 1 carrot, peeled and cut into large chunks
  • 1 stick celery, cut into large chunks
  • 1 small garlic clove, peeled
  • small handful of fresh parsley
  • 75 grams bacon
  • 50 grams plus 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon olive oil
  • 250 grams ground beef
  • 80 ml marsala
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon tomato puree
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 to 2 liters beef stock, divided
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 500 grams risotto rice
  • 6 tablespoons grated parmesan
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 150C and dig out a big oven proof pot.
  2. Add your onion, carrot, celery, garlic, parsley and bacon to your food processor. Blitz away until you have a colorful mush. Don’t put your processor away yet. We’re using it again in a minute.
  3. In your large pot, heat the butter and olive oil. Add your veggie/bacon mush to the pot, and cook for about five minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Add the ground beef and break it up with your wooden spoon. Allow it to brown, then add in the red wine.
  5. Tip your can of chopped tomatoes into your food processor and crank it up until smooth. It will only take a couple seconds. Add to the pot and give it a stir.
  6. In a small dish, stir together the milk and tomato puree. Add that to your pot along with 500 ml of your beef stock and your bay leaves. Give it all a good mix.
  7. Bring this to a boil and then clamp the lid on your pot. Transfer it to the oven, and allow it to bubble away happily for an hour.
  8. Once your meat sauce is out of the oven, put it back on the stove over low heat, and fish out the bay leaves. Add your remaining stock to a sauce pan and bring it to a simmer. Make sure the rest of your ingredients are ready because you’re about to enter deep stirring reverie.
  9. Add your rice to your meat sauce and start your stirring. Depending on how much liquid is already in your sauce, you may need to add a ladleful of stock at this time.
  10. Continue to stir your rice for about 18-20 minutes, add another ladle of stock every time the liquid becomes absorbed. I never need all the stock, but if you need it and don’t have it ready, you’re screwed. Give your rice a taste to check it’s cooked through.
  11. When it’s ready, turn the heat off and stir in a tablespoon of butter and your parmesan cheese. Taste it to see if you want to add any salt and pepper.
  12. Serve hot with an extra sprinkle of parmesan.

Keywords: Risotto

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Recipe slightly adapted from Kitchen: Recipes from the Heart of the Home by Nigella Lawson.

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