The Best Homemade Bolognese
THE VERY best (freezer-friendly) bolognese sauce! So rich, so hearty, so perfect. Serve over pasta or gnocchi!
It’s cold. It’s snowing. And it’s parka season. Which can only mean one thing. It’s time to stay in with the heartiest, meatiest bolognese sauce tossed in al dente pappardelle pasta, some crusty bread, and a glass of (the leftover) wine.
This sauce is thick and very meaty but if you prefer a thinner consistency, a little bit of beef stock will work beautifully here. I, however, prefer my sauce super thick to coat up all that pasta (and crusty bread, of course).
You can also freeze the leftover sauce as it reheats very very well, making this perfect for your go-to weeknight meals. All you have to do is boil some pasta noodles prior to serving!
The Best Homemade Bolognese
- 1 ½ tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 medium sweet onion, diced
- 1 carrot, peeled and diced
- 1 celery rib, diced
- ¾ pound ground beef
- ¾ pound ground pork
- 4 ounces pancetta, diced
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ⅛ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¾ cups dry red wine
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 (15-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
- 1 pound pappardelle pasta
- Melt butter in a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion, carrot and celery. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 3-4 minutes.
- Add ground beef, ground pork, pancetta, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Cook until browned, about 5-8 minutes, making sure to crumble the beef and pork as it cooks; drain excess fat.
- Stir in tomato paste, garlic, oregano, red pepper flakes, nutmeg and cinnamon until fragrant, about 1 minute.
- Stir in wine, scraping any browned bits from the bottom of the pot.
- Stir in milk. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until reduced, about 5 minutes.
- Stir in crushed tomatoes. Bring to boil; reduce heat and simmer, covered and stirring occasionally, until thickened and flavors have blended, about 20 minutes.
- Stir in parsley; season with salt and pepper, to taste.*
- In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta according to package instructions; drain well.
- Serve immediately with bolognese sauce.
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This is the ultimate bolognese recipe. I’ve made Marcella Hazan’s and love that as well. But this is more intensely flavored, takes significantly less time, and I just can’t get enough of it. Everyone I’ve ever served it to has raved. I miss it immediately after taking my last bite. I follow the recipe exactly as written. If I’m not ready to serve after it’s simmered for 20 minutes I just put the lid on until ready to serve.
This version of bolognese was a big hit with our family. I used peppered turkey bacon instead of pancetta and topped off each serving with a touch of olive oil.
Just made this as written…. It’s sooooo good. yum!
If you invest another 30 minutes and let the carrots, onion and celery somer alone in a bit of water first, you’ll get an even deeper flavor.
Mmmmm. This is SO good. Thank you for this recipe. We loved it.
Ooooh, would love to try this but my husband can’t have the milk. Could I substitute with something else or just leave it out?
I’ve made bolognese with milk, ricemilk, oatmilk, cream, lactose free milk and all works nicely; the important thing is the fats that help tender the meat.. the lactose though helps with sweetening the sauce and balancing the acidity of the tomatoes, although that isn’t very important as long as you reduce the soffrito with wine/beer.
Also abuntant amounts of freshly grated quality parmeggiano.
I haven’t tried this, but it reminds me of Marcella Hazen’s Bolognese sauce. So it must be good!!!
Marcella’s is just wonderful. However, switches steps 4 and 5.
I love this recipe! We make it for every special occasion. Easy, rich. Try it over focaccia bread. Heavenly.
Your close with this recipe, now try it with Porcini mushrooms, you won’t believe the difference, old Italian woman told me a secret about them. This is very close to mine, but I let it spend the day in the oven, brown the burger alone, then pulse it in a food processor to make it a little more fine.
Chungah, can I use beef broth instead of the red wine?
Beef broth is for the end process, added when needed to be able to cook for long enough. Wine is for sweetness to the meat and for countering the acidity of tomatoes. You could use beer, alcohol free stuff nd even sugar for that matter. Wine gives the best most complex flavor (and the alcohol is gone through the reduction process).