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Homemade Bolognese recipe

Homemade Bolognese recipe

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  • Recipes
  • Ingredients
  • Meat and poultry
  • Beef

This is a recipe my mum taught me when I was a teenager. Serve with your choice of pasta or use this mixture to make a lasagne.

1 person made this

IngredientsServes: 4

  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 500g beef mince
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 1 stick celery, chopped
  • 1 beef stock cube
  • 1 tablespoon tomato puree
  • 1/2 tablespoon Lea & Perrins® Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon dried mixed herbs
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 4 mushrooms, sliced

MethodPrep:20min ›Cook:30min ›Ready in:50min

  1. Heat the oil in a pan and add the chopped onions, cook for a couple of minutes, then add the crushed garlic. Be careful not to burn the garlic, just cook on a low heat.
  2. Add the mince and cook till the mince is browned.
  3. Add the tin of tomatoes, carrots and celery (you can add in other vegetables you like. I sometimes add in some red pepper).
  4. Crumble the stock cube into the mixture. Then add the tomato puree, Worcestershire sauce, herbs, oregano, sugar, salt and pepper.
  5. Cook on a very low heat with a cover for a minimum of 30 minutes. It gets better the longer you cook it. Remember to stir every 15 minutes or so.
  6. When you are nearly ready to eat add in the mushrooms and cook these for a couple of minutes.


Remember, the measurements are only my estimates as I don't measure anything properly. Just keep tasting and adjusting to your own tastes. Personally, I love the oregano, but it may be too much for some.

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When you are craving a hearty bowl of pasta that your whole family will love, look no further than this bison bolognese. This hearty spaghetti with meat sauce is simple to prepare and only has to simmer for about 45 minutes before you have a pot of steaming savory tomato sauce that is packed so full of meat and flavor that you&rsquore going to want to double this already giant batch to freeze for later.

What is bolognese?

Bolognese sauce is an Italian sauce that is heavy on the meat, and traditionally light on the tomato and includes milk or cream. This recipe isn&rsquot an authentic bolognese in that sense because I love the tomato, but this recipe is definitely more bolognese than marinara, so there you have it.

I suppose an argument could be made for calling this a spaghetti and meat sauce, but that&rsquos not what I ended up landing on here. No matter what you want to call it, you&rsquore going to want to whip this up one of these nights, stat.

Can I use a different kind of ground meat instead of bison?

Absolutely. Any type of ground meat could work in this delicious sauce. Try adding in some ground venison, elk, caribou, or even moose in this versatile sauce. Or you can always stick to ground beef as well, which is a great standby if wild game meat isn&rsquot available.

What is the difference between a marinara and a bolognese?

Marinara is typically made without meat, and is a simple sauce of fresh tomatoes, basil, garlic, and olive oil.

Bolognese, on the other hand, typically contains meat as the main ingredient, with some tomatoes, seasonings, and dairy cooked into the mix as well. It is generally very thick and hearty, and hits a totally different set of notes than marinara.

How to make bolognese sauce

Bolognese sauce is easy to make, but it does require some forethought and some time. A great bolognese can take several hours to make properly, so make sure you have some mental energy or a really great reminder/alarm system to keep an eye on it.

Step 1

The first step is to brown your meat, onions and garlic in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Don&rsquot skimp on the seasoning when you cook your meat. The little things really make a big difference as you build the various layers of your sauce.

Step 2

Next, add in the red wine. Don&rsquot skip this part either. A good full-bodies red wine with Pinot Noir or Malbec will be perfect here. You don&rsquot need a lot, maybe a cup or a bit more if you are feeling generous with your bottle, but it makes a really big difference in the end result.

Step 3

Next comes the tomatoes and the olive oil and the rest of the seasonings. Get the best tomatoes you can. I have mine on order from Amazon, and they come monthly. That&rsquos how much I care about sauce. You can find a link to my favorites down in the recipe card.

Step 4

This step is the hardest. It is just patience. You need to simmer your sauce, stirring it frequently, for about 2-3 hours ideally. Don&rsquot forget to stir though. Meat sauces really like to let the meat sink and if you aren&rsquot stirring enough or have the heat up too high, it can scorch. If you end up with a scorched pot, read on for how you can *possibly* save your sauce.

Step 5

Once you&rsquove gone and spent all of that time and effort on the sauce, don&rsquot go and ruin your perfect pasta dinner with botching the noodles! The key to the perfect noodle is to make sure you are properly salting your water.

How salty should it be?

You should take a taste. It should taste like seawater. Salty enough so you can REALLY tell it is salt water, not so salty you want to immediately spit it out.

How to save a bolognese with scorched meat on the bottom

If the unthinkable happens and you forget to stir your sauce and wind up with a scorched-bottom pan, don&rsquot worry! Also &ndash DO NOT SCRAPE THE BOTTOM OF THE PAN.

That&rsquos always my first instinct so I can check and see &ldquohow&rdquo burned it is. Ridiculous, I know. So RESIST. The moment you break through that layer into the burned portion, that flavor will wind up through the whole entire pot.

If you&rsquove scorched the bottom of your sauce, the first thing you want to do is to kill the heat on your stove.

Next, carefully spoon all the sauce that isn&rsquot stuck from the burnt pot into a fresh pot, leaving that burnt layer intact.

If you can manage to do this, you&rsquoll likely save the bulk of your sauce from the garbage can! Leave the burned sauce in the burned pan and soak it in water with a dryer sheet in it overnight. It should come off very easily in the morning.

What should you serve with bolognese?

I&rsquom a traditionalist when it comes to my spaghetti and sides, so on my table you&rsquore likely to see a giant caesar salad along with a loaf of french bread spread with garlic spread and lightly toasted in the oven.

If I&rsquom making this ragu for company and I&rsquom feeling particularly ambitious, you might find this Grilled Garlic Twisty Bread on the table as well.

Recipe Summary

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 ounces pancetta, cut into 1/4-inch pieces (2/3 cup)
  • 2/3 cup minced yellow onion (1/2 medium)
  • 2/3 cup minced carrot (2 medium)
  • 2/3 cup minced celery (1 rib)
  • 1 pound ground beef, such as chuck or sirloin
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon tomato paste
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 1/4 cups whole milk
  • 5 sprigs thyme, tied into a bundle with kitchen twine
  • 1 to 2 fresh bay leaves
  • 1 can (28 ounces) whole peeled tomatoes, pureed (with juice) in a blender (or through a food mill)
  • 6 to 7 cups Basic Chicken Stock
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

Heat butter and oil in a large pot over medium-high heat until butter starts to sizzle, then reduce heat to medium. Add pancetta, and cook until golden and fat has rendered, about 2 1/2 minutes. Add onion, carrot, and celery, and cook, stirring often, until just beginning to brown around edges, about 10 minutes (adjust heat if mixture is browning too quickly).

Add beef and pork and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently and separating meat with the back of a wooden spoon, until no longer pink, 8 to 10 minutes. Once meat is completely browned, pour off any excess fat. Add tomato paste and cook 1 minute, stirring to intensify sweetness.

Pour in wine and cook, stirring to scrape up browned bits from bottom of pot, until liquid has evaporated, 6 to 7 minutes. Add 1 cup milk and cook until reduced by half, about 3 minutes (don't worry if it appears slightly curdled, it will smooth out again). Add thyme bundle and bay leaves, and then pour in tomatoes and 6 cups stock. Season with 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.

Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a very low simmer and cook, partially covered, 3 to 3 1/2 hours, skimming the fat from the surface with a ladle periodically. If at any time the sauce appears too dry, add up to 1 cup more stock as necessary. The finished sauce should have the consistency of a loose chili. Stir in remaining 1/4 cup milk and season with salt and pepper, as desired. If not serving immediately, let cool completely before transferring to airtight containers. Refrigerate up to 3 days or freeze up to 3 months defrost in the refrigerator before using.


In a medium skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add the carrots, onions and garlic. Season with the sugar and a generous pinch of salt. Cook for 10-12 minutes over medium heat or until the vegetables become tender and start to brown. Add the canned tomato and simmer over low heat, 10-12 additional minutes.

Heat a large skillet and add the remaining olive oil. When the oil begins to smoke lightly, add the ground beef in a single layer and season generously with salt. Brown the meat over medium heat, 5-8 minutes, and stir in the red pepper flakes. Stir in the white wine and simmer over medium heat until the wine cooks out and melds with the beef, 5-8 minutes. Taste for seasoning. Pour the tomato sauce and the milk over the ground beef. Stir to blend. Simmer over medium heat 2-3 minutes then, shut off the heat and allow the sauce to rest.

In a large pot, bring 6 quarts of water to a rolling boil. Add the 3 tablespoons salt. Bring the water back up to a boil. Add the spaghetti and cook for 8-10 minutes. Stir the pasta with a slotted spoon to make sure it does not clump or stick to the bottom as it cooks. In a large colander, drain the pasta. Reserve some of the cooking liquid.

Toss the pasta in the skillet with the Bolognese. Stir to coat with the sauce. Taste for seasoning. Add pasta liquid if needed. Serve with Parmesan.


  • 1 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 tablespoons butter plus 1 tablespoon for tossing with the pasta
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 2/3 cup chopped celery
  • 2/3 cup chopped carrot
  • 3/4 pound ground beef chuck, not too lean (or 1/2 pound ground beef chuck plus ¼ pound ground pork, preferably from the neck or Boston butt)
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup whole milk [I used 2 %]
  • Whole nutmeg for grating
  • 1 cup dry white wine [I used red]
  • 1 1/2 cups canned imported Italian plum tomatoes, cut up, with their juice
  • 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 pounds pasta
  • Freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano at the table
  • 1 cup unbleached flour (Italians use 00/doppio zero flour, which has less gluten than American all-purpose flour, but Hazan says unbleached all-purpose is fine she also says that semolina flour is appropriate only for factory-made pasta and will frustrat
  • 2 large eggs

How to Store Leftovers

In the Refrigerator &ndash Store leftover Bolognese sauce in the refrigerator for up to 3 days in an airtight container.

In the Freezer &ndash Bolognese sauce freezes well, and might even taste a little better after it has been frozen. Place the leftover sauce in a freezer-safe container in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Thaw it in the refrigerator overnight. It can be heated on top of the stove over low heat or in the microwave.

  • 225g/8oz beef mince
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, peeled and finely diced
  • 1 green pepper, seeded and finely diced
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 125g/4oz smoked bacon lardons
  • 1 tbsp mixed dried herbs
  • 400g tinned tomatoes
  • 150ml/5fl oz red wine
  • salt and pepper

Heat a non-stick frying pan and add half the mince. Cook over a high heat to colour the meat, breaking up any lumps with the back of a fork. Repeat with the rest of the mince and drain off any fat.

Heat the oil in another large pan and cook the onion, carrot and green pepper until they start to soften.

Stir in the garlic, bacon lardons and the herbs and cook for 2 minutes.

Stir in the tomatoes and the wine and season well.

Add the mince and simmer gently for 40-50 minutes until thick. Use to make lasagne or serve with pasta.

How to make bolognese sauce

Scroll down for the printable recipe and step-by-step video tutorial.

  1. COOK. Melt butter over medium-low heat in large pot. Add onion and garlic with pinch of salt and cook for 5 minutes, until translucent. Turn heat to medium then add the meat. Remove any excess grease. Add in pepper, basil, oregano, red pepper flakes and remaining teaspoon salt. Cook until meat has browned.
  2. SIMMER. Add in brown sugar, half and half, wine (or pomegranate juice), diced tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, tomato paste and parmesan. Stir and then simmer for 10 minutes. Cover and cook additional 20 minutes. S&P to taste.
  3. SERVE. Serve the sauce over your favorite pasta. Enjoy!


  • For the Ragù Bolognese:
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 2/3 pound ground lamb (or 85/15 ground beef)
  • 2/3 pound ground pork
  • 2/3 pound ground veal
  • 4 ounces chicken livers, finely chopped (optional)
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 2 large carrots, peeled, and cut into 1/4-inch dice (about 1 cup)
  • 3 large ribs celery, peeled, and cut into 1/4-inch dice (about 1 cup)
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely minced, or grated on a microplane grater
  • 1/2 cup fresh sage leaves, finely chopped
  • large pinch red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed Italian plum tomatoes, preferably D.O.P. San Marzano
  • 1 1/2 cups dry red wine (white works fine as well)
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 2 cups homemade chicken or veal stock (or 2 cups low-sodium canned chicken broth)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon Vietnamese or Thai fish sauce
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup minced basil or parsley (or a mix of both)
  • For the Ricotta Mixture:
  • 3 cups home-made fresh ricotta (see note), or 3 cups store-bought whole-milk cottage cheese
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup minced basil or parsley (or a mix of both)
  • For the besciamella:
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced, or grated on a microplane grater
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 pound dry whole milk mozzarella cheese, grated (see note)
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • To assemble:
  • Fifteen 4- by 8-inch sheets fresh rolled pasta, or 15 pieces no-boil lasagna noodles from 1 package (see note)
  • 4 ounces parmesan, grated on a microplane grater (About 2 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons minced basil or parsley (or a mix of both)


  1. Bardarik

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  2. Lewy

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  3. Tailayag

    Great, this is a valuable answer

  4. Shakar

    can we fill the gap?

  5. Nekasa

    Earlier I thought differently, thanks for an explanation.

  6. Midas

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