Good ‘ol Corned Beef (Bully Beef) Spaghetti

Date: 23 Apr 2014 Author: Jacqui Categories: Food, Main Dishes, Pastas 0

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This is an old recipe which probably dates back to the second World War.  In Malta, back then, fresh meat was scarce, so families used canned Corned Beef  to replace fresh meat.  It was more know as Bully Beef.  The word bully is actually an anglicized version of French bouilli, from boeuf bouilli which means boiled beef.  Rather than as a pasta sauce, it was more used as a filling for meat pies.

Many back home, still make this pasta dish, I myself included, with maybe a few extra ingredients added.  And it is not just out of nostalgia, but because I just love it!  (Serves 2)


  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and finely diced
  • 1 celery stick, finely diced
  • 1 small potato,  diced
  • 1 can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp Gluten Free Beef Stock Powder
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1/2 tsp curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp mixed spice
  • 1/2 tsp chilli (optional)
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 1 small can Corned Beef (198g)
  • 2/3 cups frozen peas
  • Olive Oil
  • 300g Gluten Free Spaghetti
  • Parmesan Cheese to serve


There are many versions to make this.  This is how I usually make it.  Put a tablespoon of olive oil in a pan and sautee the onion until soft, add the carrots, the celery and potatoes. Sautee them for a few minutes, stirring continuously.  Add the red wine, the water and the stock to the vegetables.  Add also, the tomato puree, bayleaf, spices and season.  Bring to a boil and leave to simmer until the potatoes are very soft.  If it starts to get dry add, some more hot water.  When the potatoes are done, add the can of crushed tomato, the crushed garlic and combine well.  Again bring to a boil.  Lower the heat and add the finely chopped corned beef.  Let cook for about 20 minutes and then add the frozen peas.  In the meantime, boil the spaghetti.  When the pasta is ready, mix the sauce in the pasta, add a splash of olive oil and combine.  Plate and serve with Parmesan Cheese on the side.

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