The Very Best Bolognese Sauce Recipe

The Very Best Bolognese Sauce recipe ever!  This tried and true favorite is the perfect Sunday dinner. Simmered for hours, the flavors are bold and beautiful…exactly what a homemade meat sauce should be.  Truly comfort food at it’s finest.

Pasta Bolognese on a white plate on a blue background with a wedge of parmesan in the background.

I’m not a fan of red sauce (gasp!), which is kind of funny that this is one of my favorite things to make.  I’m perfectly content with pasta drizzled with an exceptional olive oil, chopped parsley and grated parmesan. (Hello, Spaghetti Aglio e Olio!!!) 

But it’s the whole process of browning the meat and sauteing the onions, carrots and garlic and then letting the whole thing simmer on the stove for hours….that’s kind of therapeutic for me.  PLUS, it makes sooooo much that I can freeze enough for two more meals….which means that’s two nights off from cooking dinner but we can still have a very satisfying family dinner without ordering take out.

Close up shot of pasta bolognese sauce on a white platter with basil and parmesan shavings.

I don’t know if I can technically call this an authentic Bolognese sauce recipe, but that’s what we refer to it as in our house.  It’s definitely a meat sauce but since I’m not Italian I’m not 100% sure what the technical definition is as far as an Italian grandmother would state except that I don’t add cream to my sauce.

And, from what I’ve gathered, a Bolognese contains celery and maybe a few other things that I don’t use.

Overhead shot of pasta bolognese on a white rectangle platter with two round plates and pasta with a gold fork.

Sooo, what is a Bolognese Sauce?

Classic Bolognese Sauce is a is an Italian sauce for pasta made with a blend of meat, such as beef or pork, slow cooked with onions, carrots, celery, garlic and tomatoes. Traditionally, milk or cream is stirred in for a rich, creamy texture which I do not do in this recipe.

If you want to go the traditional route, you can stir in 1/2 cup milk or cream to the Bolognese sauce at the end of cooking.

Pasta Bolognese with a gold fork with pasta twirled on it.

How do I make Bolognese?

This easy Bolognese sauce is so easy to make and feeds a LARGE crowd!  I like to make a big batch on the weekends and freeze 1/2 of it for easy weekday dinners.

  1. In a large, heavy dutch oven or stock pot, heat olive oil over med/high heat.
  2. Add the ground veal being careful not to crowd the pot. Cook over med/high heat until browned and remove with a slotted spoon to a large bowl.
  3. Drain all but 2 tablespoons of the fat, add the beef to the pot and cook until browned. Remove with slotted spoon and add to the bowl with the veal.
  4. Drain all but 2 tablespoons of fat and repeat with the pork.
  5. Drain all the fat and brown the sausage. Remove the sausage with the spoon and add to the meat mixture. Do not drain the fat.
  6. Add the diced onions and carrots to the pot and cook until the onions are translucent and softened stirring occasionally.
  7. Add the garlic and oregano, continue to cook for about 1-2 minutes.
  8. Add the wine to the pot and scrape any brown bits left on the bottom, stir and let the wine cook down for approximately 2-3 minutes.
  9. Add the meat mixture to the onions and stir to combine.
  10. Add all four cans of tomatoes and stir thoroughly. Stir in the parsley, basil, sugar, salt and pepper. Turn the heat down to low and simmer for approximately 2-3 hours stirring occasionally.
  11. Before serving, taste the sauce for seasoning (and stir in cream, if desired)….since this is a large recipe you may need to adjust the sugar, salt and pepper to suit your taste.

Pasta Bolognese on a white plate with a wedge of parmesan in the background.

If you’re not a fan of pork, you can make this recipe an all Beef Bolognese by replacing the sausage and ground pork with equal amounts of beef. I love to serve this simple Bolognese sauce over pappardelle and rigatoni. Leftover Bolognese is also fantastic in these easy recipes:

overhead shot of two plates with pasta bolognese on a blue background.

Either way, this is easy Spaghetti Bolognese recipe is so bold, hearty and full of savory goodness that you will thank me some day.  (Probably when you bust into your freezer stash of “Bolognese – But Not Really Bolognese” Sauce.)

Looking for more Italian classics to whip up on a whim? Try these family favorites:

White plate with pasta bolognese and gold fork with pasta twirled on it.

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The Very Best Bolognese Sauce

Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: bolognese sauce
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours
Servings: 12 servings
Calories: 496 kcal
Author: Kellie

An Italian classic, the BEST Bolognese Sauce recipe ever made!

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Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 lb ground veal
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 1 lb sweet italian sausage casing removed
  • 2 medium Vidalia onions or other sweet onion diced
  • 1 cup of finely diced carrots
  • 5 garlic cloves minced
  • 4 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
  • 1 cup red wine I used Chianti
  • 2 28 ounce cans fire roasted crushed tomatoes You can use regular but try to use fire roasted if available, I love Muir Glen!
  • 2 28 ounce cans pureed tomatoes
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 3 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. In a large, heavy dutch oven or stock pot, heat olive oil over med/high heat. Add the ground veal being careful not to crowd the pot. Cook over med/high heat until browned and remove with a slotted spoon to a large bowl. Drain all but 2 tablespoons of the fat, add the beef to the pot and cook until browned. Remove with slotted spoon and add to the bowl with the veal. Drain all but 2 tablespoons of fat and repeat with the pork. Drain all the fat and brown the sausage. Remove the sausage with the spoon and add to the meat mixture. Do not drain the fat.
  2. Add the diced onions and carrots to the pot and cook until the onions are translucent and softened stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and oregano, continue to cook for about 1-2 minutes. Add the wine to the pot and scrape any brown bits left on the bottom, stir and let the wine cook down for approximately 2-3 minutes.
  3. Add the meat mixture to the onions and stir to combine. Add all four cans of tomatoes and stir thoroughly. Stir in the parsley, basil, sugar, salt and pepper. Turn the heat down to low and simmer for approximately 2-3 hours stirring occasionally. Before serving, taste the sauce for seasoning....since this is a large recipe you may need to adjust the sugar, salt and pepper to suit your taste.

Recipe Notes

Bolognese sauce can be frozen in an airtight container for up to 6 months.

Nutrition Facts
The Very Best Bolognese Sauce
Amount Per Serving (1 g)
Calories 496 Calories from Fat 288
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 32g 49%
Saturated Fat 11g 55%
Cholesterol 113mg 38%
Sodium 554mg 23%
Potassium 997mg 28%
Total Carbohydrates 18g 6%
Dietary Fiber 4g 16%
Sugars 10g
Protein 28g 56%
Vitamin A 44.5%
Vitamin C 23.2%
Calcium 12%
Iron 25.8%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Mangia! Mangia!

Landon got a little impatient while I was shooting the photos….he took a break from the sandbox to steal some pasta.  (Note:  This photo was from the original post, photos have been updated above as of September 2015)

4 comments on “The Very Best Bolognese Sauce Recipe”

  1. Pingback: Pasta with simple tomato sauce – articles4friends

  2. Try serving this on Pappardelle pasta…heavenly!

  3. Pingback: Mushroom Bolognese

  4. Pingback: Easy Bolognese French Bread Pizza - The Suburban Soapbox

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