. 3 Summery Alternatives to Bolognese to go with your Spaghetti

3 Summery Alternatives to Bolognese to go with your Spaghetti


Spaghetti Bolognese is every Italian’s nightmare. Despite the popularity of the dish around the globe, it is far from authentic, with many Italians referring to our beloved ‘spag bol’ as an outright abomination to Italian cuisine.

In Italy, ragù alla bolognese is actually served with broad, flat pasta, like tagliatelle or fettuccine. According to the Italian cuisine experts over at Pasta Evangelists, spaghetti, on the other hand, “with their thin strands and rough surface, are an ideal match for lighter sauces — whether that’s an olive oil-slicked pesto, a glossy tomato sugo or a creamier concoction like carbonara.”

With that in mind, we’ve put together three authentically Italian recipes to liven up summer spaghetti dishes. Buon appetito!

1. Spaghetti alle vongole

In Italy, spaghetti alle vongole, which means “spaghetti with clams”, is a highly popular dish. It’s delightfully fresh and ideal for summer — packed with sweet clams, warm cloves and vibrant chilis.

Even a novice cook can produce this traditional Neapolitan dish quickly and easily, making it an excellent choice for summer dinner parties. With just a handful of ingredients, this delectable main can be rustled up in under 20 minutes.


Serves 4

  • 4oz fresh clams
  • 4oz spaghetti
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 small fresh chilis, chopped
  • 1 handful of fresh parsley, chopped
  • Extra virgin olive oil, to drizzle
  • White wine, to taste
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


  1. Clean the clams by soaking them for 20 minutes in heavily salted water, then rinse well.
  2. In a large frying pan, heat a generous drizzle of olive oil. Sauté the garlic and chili for 2 minutes or until softened.
  3. Add the clams to the frying pan along with a glug of white wine and stir well.
  4. Cover and cook on high heat for 2-3 minutes until the clams have opened.
  5. Take off the heat and discard any clams that have not opened.
  6. Boil the spaghetti in a pan of salted water for 8-10 minutes, then drain.
  7. Transfer the spaghetti to the clam sauce and toss well.
  8. Garnish with salt and pepper and chopped parsley, then serve.

2. Spaghetti alla puttanesca

Spaghetti alla puttanesca is a traditional Italian dish from Naples. There are a number of interesting tales that attempt to explain its origin — as well as its unusual name, which poetically translates to: “pasta in the style of a prostitute.” The dish is said to have attracted — ahem — clients from the street because of the aroma it created while cooking, and was favored by the women for a quick, substantial meal between customers.

The saucy main has gained popularity in Italian cooking despite its dubious beginnings, and we adore how simple it is to prepare. It’s an easy summer dish with pantry-friendly ingredients of anchovies, tomatoes, olives, capers, and garlic.


Serves 4

  • 14oz spaghetti
  • 2 cans crushed tomatoes
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 6 anchovy filets, minced
  • ½ cup whole black olives
  • 1 tbsp capers
  • 2 tsp fresh oregano
  • 1 pinch chili flakes
  • Extra virgin olive oil, to drizzle
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


  1. Bring a large pan of salted water to a boil.
  2. Heat a generous drizzle of olive oil in a large frying pan. Once sizzling, fry the garlic, chili flakes, olives, anchovies, and capers for 5-6 minutes.
  3. Stir in the oregano and the tomatoes. Simmer on a low heat for 10 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, cook the spaghetti in the pan of salted water for 8-10 minutes or until al dente.
  5. Take both pans off the heat. Drain the spaghetti and transfer to the sauce.
  6. Toss well and season with salt and pepper and a drizzle of olive oil, then serve.

3. Spaghetti con la bottarga

If you are unfamiliar with the unusual ingredient that is bottarga, then allow us to introduce you. Bottagra is a delicacy of salted and dried fish roe sack that is enjoyed in a multitude of dishes all over the world.

For authentic spaghetti con la bottarga, opt for the finely grated roe of gray mullet. Simply combine with lashings of garlic, lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil to create a decadent dish that’s synonymous with a summer evening on the Mediterranean. 


Serves 4

  • 12oz dried spaghetti
  • 2oz mullet bottarga
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • ½ tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 handful of fresh parsley, chopped
  • Juice and zest of 1 lemon
  • Extra virgin olive oil, to drizzle
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


  1. Slice the bottarga along its length using a sharp knife. Peel away the membrane and discard.
  2. Finely grate the bottarga using a Microplane then set to one side.
  3. Heat a generous glug of olive oil in a large sauté pan. Then fry the garlic and red pepper flakes for about 3 minutes or until golden brown.
  4. Remove from heat, add the bottarga then stir well.
  5. Boil the spaghetti in a pan of salted water for 8-10 minutes.
  6. Drain the pasta and transfer to the sauté pan mixture.
  7. Add the parsley, lemon juice and zest, toss well then serve.