Mom’s Spinach Farfalle Bolognese is sophisticated comfort food at its best!

table set with plates of Spinach Farfalle Bolognese and glasses of red wine

(Photo by Laurie Smith)

When I was growing up, my Dad’s two sisters lived in Denver and their families all came to our house for Christmas Eve dinner. Every year Mom always made this scrumptious Spinach Farfalle Bolognese casserole. Why? Well, because (1) it’s a crowd pleaser, (2) she could make it ahead (especially important during the holidays!), and (3) it expands easily – so as our family expanded through marriages and kids, the casserole dish just kept getting bigger, too! Everyone, from little kids to grandparents, love this dish. It’s sophisticated comfort food at its best.

White baking dish with Spinach Farfalle Bolognese

(Photo by Laurie Smith)

This scrumptious pasta casserole is very easy to put together, but does take a bit of time as you need to let the sauce simmer for awhile to develop its flavors. Browned pork sausage and ground beef are simmered together with onion, garlic and herbs in a rich tomato-wine sauce. Then the sauce is mixed with al dente farfalle pasta and layered in a casserole dish with spinach, sour cream and lots of fresh Parmesan cheese. (Note: a traditional Italian Bolognese sauce will have cream or milk; mom used sour cream instead.) Oh, so yummy!

I frequently serve this scrumptious, hearty dish as part of a holiday celebration – check out mom’s typical Christmas Eve menu.

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Spinach Farfalle Bolognese

  • Author: (From "A Well-Seasoned Kitchen" by Sally Clayton and Lee Clayton Roper)
  • Yield: 10 to 12 servings 1x
  • Category: pasta, beef, make ahead, easy entertaining


Mom’s recipe for Spinach Farfalle Bolognese is a crowd pleaser, can be made ahead and expands easily. Sophisticated comfort food at its best!


  • 1/2 pound bulk Italian pork sausage
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon chopped garlic
  • 1 can (15 ounce) tomato sauce
  • 1 can (6 ounce) tomato paste
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • 3/4 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 3/4 teaspoon chopped fresh basil
  • 3/4 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried marjoram
  • 1/4 teaspoon savory
  • 8 to 10 ounces dried farfalle (bow tie) pasta
  • 2 packages (10 ounce) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • 2 cups sour cream
  • 1 1/2 cups grated Parmesan cheese


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Crumble sausage and ground beef in a large nonstick skillet and cook over medium-high heat until meat is no longer pink, stirring and breaking up meat into small pieces.
  3. Add onion and garlic and continue cooking, stirring frequently, until onion is soft.
  4. Stir in tomato sauce, tomato paste, red wine, 1/2 cup water, and seasonings (rosemary through savory). Bring to a boil; immediately reduce to low and simmer, uncovered, for about 30 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  5. While Bolognese sauce is simmering, cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain.
  6. In a medium bowl, mix together the spinach and sour cream.
  7. Mix cooked pasta with Bolognese sauce. Spread half of the mixture over the bottom of a 2 1/2 to 3 quart casserole dish. Dot the top with half of the spinach-sour cream mixture and spread to make an even layer. Sprinkle with half of the cheese.
  8. Repeat the layers and top with the remaining cheese. Bake, uncovered, for 40 to 50 minutes or until heated through and lightly browned on top.


Make ahead: Can be prepared but not baked up to 24 hours in advance, covered and refrigerated. Bring to room temperature before baking.


Lee Clayton Roper


I’m Lee Clayton Roper, and I’m passionate about making cooking and entertaining easy, elegant and fun. Here you’ll find scrumptious recipes, helpful tips and seasonal menus that will spark inspiration in your kitchen!
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Access more recipes in Lee's award-winning book, Fresh Tastes!

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