November 17, 2023

Thai Bolognese

Thai Bolognese

This delicious Thai bolognese is rich, hearty and packed with Thai and Vietnamese flavours. Perfect for enjoying on a cold winter weekend.



  • 3 stalks lemongrass, divided
  • 2 whole star anise
  • 4 tbsps unsalted butter, divided
  • 1/2 yellow onion (medium), finely chopped
  • 1 1/4 lb. ground beef (80/20)
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger, minced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp Chinese five spice
  • 1 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup tomato paste (from a tube)
  • 2 tbsps fish sauce
  • 2 tbsps low sodium tamari (or soy sauce)
  • 2 tsps coconut sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 2-3 large carrots (peeled and chopped into chunks)
  • 4 oz ricotta (about 1/2 cup packed)
  • 1 1/4 lb pasta of your choice (see tips in blog post)
  • 2 tbsps avocado oil
  • 1 bunch Thai basil
  • freshly grated parmesan, for serving
  1. Finely chop one lemongrass stalk (inner parts only) and set aside. Roughly chop the remaining two stalks (hard outer parts removed). Create a small cheesecloth bundle (or use a small nut milk bag) and place the lemongrass along with the the star anise inside, tie it up and set aside.
  2. Heat a large dutch oven over medium heat and melt half of the butter. Add the onion and cook for two minutes, stirring often. Add the ground beef and cook until no longer pink, stirring occasionally, and breaking it apart with the back of a spoon, about eight to ten minutes.
  3. Add the finely chopped lemongrass, ginger, garlic and salt and cook for another one to two minutes, until fragrant. Add the five spice, red pepper flakes and tomato sauce and cook for eight to ten minutes, until the tomato paste has turned deep red.
  4. Pour in the fish sauce, tamari and sugar and cook for two minutes. Pour in the chicken broth and the add the cheesecloth bundle to the dutch oven. Bring to a low boil and then reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for one hour.
  5. After one hour, add the carrots and cook for an additional 35 to 45 minutes, until the carrots are cooked through to your liking and fork tender.
  6. Once the carrots are tender, spoon in the ricotta and stir to incorporate. Set aside until ready to serve.
  7. Cook the pasta until al dente and set aside some pasta water for later.
  8. Heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat and add the avocado oil. Once hot, add the basil, working in batches, and fry until crispy, about 10 to 15 seconds. Set aside on a paper towel lined plate. You can do this ahead of time and keep it aside.
  9. When ready to serve, add the pasta to the bolognese (over low heat) and add a splash of pasta water if needed. Add the remaining butter and toss everything together until glossy.
  10. Divide onto plates and top with the Thai basil and parmesan. Enjoy!


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