Creatively Transforming Food

Bolognese Sauce


Bolognese Sauce is just another fabulous pasta variation. I probably could eat pasta several days a week. It’s so versatile to accommodate any occasion whether it be celebratory, romantic, or just a family night meal. One night I was skimming through my Instagram and found my (former) sister-in-law’s post of a day of cooking chili and Bolognese sauce to store in her freezer and give to her daughter who was about to start a new career. That’s one sauce I had never made before, but I ventured onto this journey of exploring its creation. Almost simultaneously the New York Times Food had posted Marcella Hazan’s recipe for her Bolognese Sauce, which is known to some as “the gold standard.” While also referencing one of my recent cookbook purchases, Nonna’s House by Jody Scaravella,  where I located another recipe for a traditional Bolognese ragu,  I started to devise a plan to develop this recipe.

Considering I look forward to feeding family and friends as much as I can and the time commitment needed for this sauce, I doubled the recipe and made a few alterations. According to , Bolognese sauce is known to have originated in Bologna located in northern Italy. In Italy, a “ragu” is a slow-cooked meat-based sauce. It’s usually served on large pasta shapes which will “hold” the meat. It can be served tossed with the pasta, as shown above at the top of the post, or ladle on top your desired amount of sauce. My preference is the latter, seen below, with my little grandson Weston’s favorite shape, bowties. It definitely holds the meat sauce well, and he likes a lot of this sauce. If a 3 year old devours this, doesn’t it say something about its flavor?

To start, saute the red onion in the olive oil and butter until translucent.

Then add in the carrots, celery and garlic. Simmer for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the pork and ground chuck or your desired combinations of meat. Crumble, stir and cook until their pink color has dissipated.

Stir in the milk and continue cooking at a slow simmer until its no longer visible. At this point, grind or sprinkle on the nutmeg.


Add the wine and continue to simmer until evaporated.

If you are using the peeled San Marzano tomatoes, crush them before adding to the saucepan. These are absolutely the best quality of tomatoes to use in a ragu! I wouldn’t use any other.

Continue to cook at a very low simmer, uncovered for about 3 hours. Stir occasionally. If needed, add a little bit of water or more stock to keep it from sticking. Season with salt and pepper to finish.

Butter one pound of hot pasta with one tablespoon of butter.

Ladle two robust cups full of sauce over hot pasta, cooked al dente, and toss to combine and coat. Taste it. If you want more flavor of the sauce, add more sauce and toss again. Why hot? It helps the pasta absorb a lot of flavor from the ragu’s liquid. Pasta, such as bowtie like seen above, with little crevices to catch this luscious sauce are wonderful to use. Aren’t the colors amazing??? Feel free to sprinkle on some chopped parsley for some additional color before tossing.

Top with grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Perfection! If you allow the sauce to savor in its glory in the fridge for a day and heat it up, it will be even  more flavorful, if one can imagine! Extra sauce freezes well or better yet, give it away for others to enjoy!

Bolognese Sauce

Prep time: 

Cook time: 

Total time: 

  • 2 T. extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 T. butter
  • 1 c. finely chopped red onion
  • 1 c. finely chopped celery
  • 1 c. finely chopped carrot
  • 1 T. pressed garlic
  • ½ pound ground pork (80%)* see note below
  • 1 pound ground chuck (80%-20%)
  • 2 c. whole milk
  • ¼ t. freshly ground nutmeg
  • 2 c. dry white wine
  • 1 c. beef broth- I used Better that Bouillon Beef Base.
  • 28 oz. can San Marzano peeled tomatoes or crushed tomatoes
  • 1½ t. Kosher or sea salt
  • ½ t. freshly ground pepper
  • parmigiano-reggiano cheese, freshly grated
  1. Melt butter with olive oil over low heat.
  2. Saute onion until translucent.
  3. Add carrots, celery and garlic.
  4. Add in ground meat until crumbled and cook until no longer pink.
  5. Stir in the milk over medium heat and cook for approximately 10 minutes.
  6. Grate or sprinkle in the nutmeg.
  7. Pour in the white wine and stir until blended in. On medium-high heat, bring to a boil and stir occasionally for about 10 minutes.
  8. Crush the tomatoes if using whole, peeled tomatoes and add to saucepan.
  9. Stir in beef broth, salt and pepper.
  10. Cook on simmer until very thick 3-4 hours.
  11. Butter pasta with 1 T. of butter.
  12. Pour two robust cups of sauce over the pasta and stir to coat pasta. If desired, you can put desired amount of sauce over individual portions of pasta.
You may also use a combination of ground veal, pork and chuck, ½ pound of each.








Related Posts

Orecchiette Pasta with Sausage and Broccoli Rabe

Orecchiette Pasta with Sausage and Broccoli Rabe

Orecchiette Pasta with Sausage and Broccoli Rabe is a satisfyingly delicious pasta sensation! Families are busy and this will ensure quality time at your gathering table with your loved ones! Alter this a bit for a lighter healthier dish still full of wonderful flavor. Any leftovers make […]

Classic Marinara Sauce

Classic Marinara Sauce

Classic Marinara Sauce is a quick trip to Italy in your own kitchen without the airfare cost! A sweet friend of ours and her husband were over for dinner this weekend. She indicated that she struggled with making some marinara sauce last week so I thought I  would […]