Classic Bolognese Sauce Recipe

Easy Bolognese Sauce

classic bolognese sauce recipeAuthentic Bolognese sauce, also known as ragù, is a long simmered Italian meat sauce. Many confuse it with a meat marinara but a Bolognese sauce recipe is much more complex. It is a sauce built around meat that includes tomatoes, dairy, wine and stock. Rather than a tomato sauce with bits of meat throughout, the meat is the star and makes up a large portion of this hearty sauce. You get the full flavor of the meat (many use veal, pork, and beef), sweet acidity from the tomatoes, the delicious base flavors of the sofrito and lovely nuances of wine. The meaty sauce which most believe originated from Bologna is also said to be from Imola. We may never know its true origin but Bolognese was invented with the intention of creating a tasty, filling and inexpensive meal. The original recipe included inexpensive vegetables and locally raised meat (originally ground beef and pancetta).

Place of Origin: Recipe difficulty:
Italy Medium
Preparation Time: Cook Time:
15 minutes 4 hours 15 minutes
Yields: about 8 cups, good for 8 servings

Sauce Bolognese Ingredients

  • Olive oil
  • ¼ cup butter or margarine
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 stalks of celery, finely diced
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and
    finely diced
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 4 oz. pancetta, cubed
  • 2 lbs. lean ground beef
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 28 oz. can San Marzano tomatoes
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • Salt
  • Black pepper

How to Make Bolognese Sauce?

Recipe for Bolognese Sauce – Step by Step Instructions:

1. Add about 2 tablespoons of oil to a large saucepan along with the butter.
2. Heat over medium.
3. When butter is melted and the oil is hot, add the garlic, celery, carrots, and onions.
4. Season with salt, a little black pepper and cook for 5 minutes while stirring or until the vegetables sweat down. This is the sofrito.
5. Toss in the pancetta and cook while stirring for an additional 10 minutes or until golden.
6. Increase the heat to high.
7. Slowly add the ground beef as you break up the beef with a wooden spoon.
8. Sprinkle with a little salt and black pepper.
9. Cook for 15 minutes while stirring or until browned (you want a few crispy bits in there). Color equals flavor.
10. Reduce to medium heat when the meat has caramelized.
11. Pour in the white wine to deglaze. Be sure to scrape the pan to loosen the bits of flavor collected at the bottom.
12. Cook for 2-3 minutes to give the meat time to soak up the wine.
13. Crush the tomatoes with your hands and add them to the saucepan with the canning juices followed by the beef stock and milk.
14. Season with salt and black pepper. Stir.
15. Bring to a boil, reduce to a low simmer and cover halfway to allow steam to escape.
16. Leave to simmer for 4 hours.
17. Stir every 30-45 minutes or so. If sauce begins to stick too much, add water or stock as needed.
18. Remove from the heat and serve. The sauce should be thick.

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Ideas to Use – Spaghetti Bolognese

Traditional bolognese sauce is best paired with a thick pasta like pappardelle or tagliatelle. The thick pasta holds up to the sauce nicely. To serve, cook the pasta in heavily salted boiling water, reserve about ½ cup of pasta water prior to draining and toss the pasta in the sauce. The starchy pasta water will meld the pasta and sauce. Bolognese can also be used for Italian sandwiches, served with crusty bread and used to make various pasta bakes.

best spaghetti bolognese sauce

Spaghetti bolognese

Homemade Bolognese Sauce is fit for:

Gluten free and ketogenic diets.

This Bolognese sauce recipe requires some time but the end result is worth the wait. The sauce is fantastic and so flavorful. The pancetta and beef meld beautifully but you can include and or substitute with lamb, veal or ground pork. You may even want to add some dried herbs to the sauce or deglaze with red wine instead of white to give the sauce new life.

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Category: Pasta sauces, Savory sauces

Origin: Europe, Italy

Diets: Gluten free, Ketogenic diet

Meals: Bread, Pasta, Sandwich

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