The 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.
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.
I don’t know if I can technically call this a traditional 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.
What is a Bolognese Sauce?
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.
It’s excellent for making an easy Spaghetti Bolognese topped with a little ricotta cheese or grated parmesan.
How do I make Bolognese?
This easy meat sauce is so simple 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.
Heat the oil over medium-high heat.
Add the veal cooking until browned
Add the beef and cook until browned. Remove both with a slotted spoon.
Repeat with the pork and then brown the sausage.
Add the onions and carrots, cooking until softened.
Stir in the garlic and oregano cooking for an additional 1-2 minutes.
Stir in the wine and add the meat back to the onions.
Stir in the tomatoes and remaining ingredients.
Turn the heat to low and simmer for 2-3 hours.
Taste before serving and season as needed.
How To Make in the Slow Cooker
You can make this Bolognese sauce recipe in a crock pot easily by adding all the cooked meat to a slow cooker and then stirring in the other ingredients. Cook on high for 4 hours or low for 6-8 hours.
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.
What To Make With Leftover Bolognese Sauce
- Easy Bolognese French Bread Pizza
- Baked Gnocchi Bolognese Skillet
- Lasagna Bolognese
- Want a vegetarian version….try this easy Mushroom Bolognese!
Either way, this is easy Bolognese recipe is so bold, hearty and full of savory goodness that you will thank me some day.
Don’t want to wait for your sauce to simmer all day, make this easy Pressure Cooker Bolognese in under an hour!
More Easy Italian Recipes
- Easy Italian Meat Sauce….ready in 30 minutes!
- Spaghetti Aglio e Olio….ready in 10 minutes….YES!! REALLY!
- The Very Best Baked Ziti….seriously.
- Ten Minute Fettuccini Alfredo
- Easy Pasta Puttanesca is a pantry classic!
Want MORE easy family meals? Follow us over on Instagram!
Get the Recipe: The Very Best Bolognese Sauce
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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)
7 Comments on “The Best Bolognese Sauce Recipe”
Try serving this on Pappardelle pasta…heavenly!
Never add cream to Bolognese, just add more red wine.
YES! That’s a great tip!
I like the idea of fire roasted tomatoes, but it’s hard to beat San Marzano tomatoes. Maybe one can of each???
That’s an excellent idea!
Seems like a fine sauce. I make a traditional Ragu alla Bolognese and it has along with the Sofrito or onion,carrot, and celery, ground beef and pork (ratio abt 2:1) the mince is added to the sofrito abt 5 minutes into the sauté and further broken down with a spoon until in fine pieces. Continue to sauté until you cook off some of the water and also salt when you put in the mince (careful as simmering very low over 4+ hrs makes it more salty). Next add a cup or more of red or traditionally white wine. Continue for 5 minutes more to flash off the alcohol and then add fresh ground black pepper and 16oz Passata Di Pomodoro, and one can of crushed San Marzano tomatoes and mix in well. Next, as it is coming back up to a hard simmer, add 1 cup or 2 of un salted beef or chicken broth and keep a few cups of that aside or just water to add along the 4+ hour cooking time and bring up to a good bubble and lower to a very gentle bubble and cover cracked with a wooden spoon. Every 20 or so minutes give it a stir and add liquid as needed. About 30 minutes or so from the end add 8oz of whole milk and finish cooking.
There are NEVER any herbs or garlic in a true Ragu. I will sometimes add oregano and some garlic but it’s amazing on its own.
In Bologna there is a restaurant called RAGU and the two first items on their small menu are traditional Ragu ala Bolognese and Ragu Antico or ancient which is with pancetta and chicken livers.