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Bolognese Sauce

Ask ten Italian cooks for their Bolognese recipes, and you will get ten different recipes. Similar, but different. Some add milk, some don't. Some use a combination of meats, some use only beef. It goes on and on. I've made a lot of meat sauces, but this is my favorite. I have to say, though, I really don't measure anything, so it's a little different every time. But that's the fun of it. The basic technique is the same, though. You begin with a soffritto (aromatic vegetables), cook that until it's soft, add your meat, then add some wine, let that cook off, add your tomato and broth and seasonings. Let all that cook low and slow for a very, very long time. This is the basic recipe.

Bolognese Sauce


  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • olive oil
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 1/2 cup diced carrot
  • 1/2 cup diced celery
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 3 cups beef broth
  • 1 (15 oz) can of tomato puree or crushed tomatoes
  • 2 bay leaves
  • fresh thyme
  • 1 pound pasta


In a heavy pot, brown the meats. Remove the meat, drain the fat.  Do not wipe the pot.

In the same pot, add some olive oil and add the onion, carrot, celery. Let that cook slowly, for about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for a couple of minutes. Add your meat back in. Turn up the heat a little. Add the red wine and let the liquid cook off. Add the beef broth and then the tomatoes and herbs. Turn the heat to low and let this simmer, uncovered for at least a couple of hours. The longer the better. If it gets too dry, just add a half cup of water and keep cooking, letting the liquid cook off. Taste and salt and pepper as you like it.
Serve over pasta.

Yes, I grind my own meat. I know exactly what's in it that way. The KitchenAid grinder attachment works great. I couldn't do a lot of things without that KitchenAid mixer.  It's a wonder.  This is the one I have and I love it.






Favorite Pot used: Le Creuset Bouillabaisse Pot
KitchenAid Mixer: Professional 600 Series Bowl Lift Stand Mixer


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Reader Comments (9)

Just made this bolognese - wow! really really fabulous. thank you!

March 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBecky

A wonderful, flavorful homestyle bolognese! I have enjoyed this recipe many times thanks to you. It was wonderful over papardelle last night. Thank you.

September 20, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDarien Chin

Hi! What a beautiful site! I'm writing from Italy, this recipe of rag├╣ Bolognese it's really precise but if I can give you some advice, I alway add the bacon, after soffritto and before the wine! ;)

I do a tour in your site and recipes! Bye bye!

Vevi :)

February 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterVevi

I just made your Bolognese recipe once again! It is a fantastic and easy recipe to follow and the taste has so much depth! I just want to say THANK YOU for such a fantastic website!

March 2, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTammy

Do we use drained or undrained can tomatoes?

February 12, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterles

I made the Bolognese sauce for our Italian night at my Bible study. Didn't have plain pork, so I used pork was fantastic. I will be putting this in our meal rotation. SO good.

March 11, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSherry

I have made this 2x now and we love, love, love it! It's easy, aromatic and taste great! I actually prefer this to my stand-by spaghetti sauce I've made for +30 years!

May 20, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSusan

Bolognese Sauce gets its' name from the city of Bologna in Emilia Romagna. There are as many different recipes as there are cooks in Bologna, BUT they all use milk in the sauce. I'm sure your recipe is delicious and would really benefit from the addition of milk. It should be add after the wine has cooked down.
I also noticed another poster suggested adding bacon. I use ground pancetta to my basic meat mixture.

March 3, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterChuck Love

This is SO delicious! I made this about a year ago and forgot about it until I craved it one day out of the blue and had to search the internet high and low for this recipe. I will certainly write this recipe down and keep it in my recipe book because I don't want to lose it again!

March 23, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterMdesnoyers

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