Once you finish simmering this best Bolognese sauce, all you will think about is sprinkling some fresh Parmesan cheese on top of it and dipping some crusty bread to soak in all of its goodness. This recipe offers step-by-step instructions, with simple ingredients, to create the most delicious authentic Bolognese sauce, and you will travel to Italy with every single bite!
Bolognese sauce is one of my favorite Italian dishes; I just love the intense flavor of the meat and crushed tomatoes, especially when left to simmer on a slow heat, stirring occasionally, so that the ground beef absorbs all of the flavors .
This is the recipe my Mom prepares and there are many variations out there, but this is home for me.
You can skip to the recipe card straightaway, however, along with the post you will find some helpful tips and tricks, as well as variations to make it your own, along with some very common (and less), FAQs answered.
Get ready to get your nose slapped with a delicious spaghetti Bolognese!
Best Bolognese Sauce Ingredients
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil: The perfect way to start a Bolognese sauce, but ensure you do not overheat it. You can swap it for vegetable oil if you don't have it.
- Carrots, Onions, Celery Stick, Fresh Garlic: The classic soffritto base, plus garlic, but this last ingredient is not traditional, but optional.
- Ground Beef: I use lean ground beef, preferably under 5% fat, however, any ground beef will do. Should you like to give it a go, you can add some ground pork to the mix too!
- Tomato Paste and Canned Tomato: The perfect ingredients for a rich sauce.
- Parsley, salt, and pepper: Seasoning, because in Italy there's no such thing as Italian seasoning.
- Sugar: This is needed only if the tomato sauce is too acidic.
- Red Wine: Perfect for adding that richness to the sauce, while removing the 'gamey' taste some meat sauce can have.
- Bay Leaf: Optional, but it can be added while the sauce simmers.
- Spaghetti: The pasta chosen for this recipe, but feel free to opt for any shape you like, such as tagliatelle or penne.
- Parmesan Cheese: A light sprinkle on top is all you need, but absolutely optional.
How To Make Bolognese Sauce
- Start by sautéing and lightly browning some onion, garlic, carrots, celery, salt, and black pepper.
- Next, add the ground meat (mix with some ground pork if liked), and brown it all around, keeping the pan on medium heat.
- Once the meat has browned, add the red wine (if going for 100% ground pork, white wine is a better choice) and allow it to evaporate, while stirring occasionally.
- Once the red wine (or white wine) has evaporated, add the tomato paste to the bolognese sauce and mix well, allowing it to lightly fry.
- Next, add the canned tomatoes to the sauce and mix again.
- Once the crushed tomato sauce is well mixed, add some water (or beef broth or chicken broth, although not needed) and bring it to a boil.
- Reduce the heat and allow the meat sauce to simmer until ready. This is the stage where you can add more flavorings to personalize the bolognese sauce; good options are a bay leaf, Italian seasoning, and red pepper flakes.
- Simmer the Italian Bolognese sauce until ready, ideally on low heat for at least one hour, stirring occasionally.
Best Bolognese Sauce Recipe | Video
People also ask [FAQs]
This recipe has only 439 calories when followed as it is.
The leftover sauce can be reheated by adding a couple of tablespoons of water, mixing them well, and warming them up on a gentle flame while having a lid on the pan so the steam warms up the sauce.
This can be also reheated in the microwave for ease, adjusting the time depending on the quantity.
~~ Have you tried this fan-tas-tic Tuna Pasta with Chili and Garlic?
Bolognese Sauce will last in the fridge for up to three days when stored in an air-tight container.
Yes, you can freeze the Bolognese sauce. Simply freeze your portions of pasta sauces in ziplock bags or airtight containers in the number of servings you typically use at a time. Cook from frozen or thaw overnight in the fridge, making sure it’s piping hot before serving.
Tips & tricks for the best Bolognese sauce
- Pasta Bolognese: If preparing this meat sauce for the lunch box, it may be better to opt for short pasta shapes, such as penne or rigatoni, as they warm up better in a microwave than spaghetti.
- Meat Sauce: Make this recipe your own by choosing your preferred cut or type of meat. The most common options are ground beef or ground pork, however, ground veal or ground chuck will make this extra special. For great flavor, you can add some finely chopped pancetta or bacon to the sauce.
- Lasagna or Lasagne: This is one of the most common ways Bolognese sauce is used (known as Pasticcio in Northern Italy).
- Bay Leaf: If adding a bay leaf (or laurel) remember to discard it once the sauce has cooked.
- Passata: Should you not like chunky tomato sauce, you can use passata instead; simply add your crushed tomatoes to a food processor and blend if you do not have it at home.
You will LOVE this Bolognese sauce recipe as it is delicious! A-MA-ZING!
Give it a go if you are looking for a great meal idea that is:
- Has Step-by-Step instructions
- Includes Italian Pasta
Get chopping your soffritto, browning your meat, and simmering the sauce... this perfect dinner is calling your name!
- If you liked this recipe, you must check out our great collection of healthy meals, such as:
The Best Bolognese Sauce Recipe
- 1 tablespoon Olive Oil
- 1 Small Carrot
- 1 Onion any colour
- 1 Celery Stick
- 10 g Garlic
- 500 g Ground Beef 5% Fat Minced Beef
- ½ teaspoon Dry Parsley
- 15 g Tomato Paste Tomato Puree
- 1 Canned Tomato Tinned Chopped Tomato in Juice
- ¼ teaspoon sugar (Optional: Needed if tomatoes are very acidic)
- Black Pepper and Salt to Taste
- 420 g Dry Spaghetti
- 100 ml Red Wine (Optional: I used Cabernet Sauvignon) 3.5 oz
- Peel the carrot and chop it in cubes of about ¼ inch (5mm in size; wash and slice the celery stick, the onion, and crush or mince the garlic, as preferred.
- In a large pan, which has a lid, put the olive oil and, once warm, add the chopped garlic, onion, carrots, and celery; mix well and keep on a low-medium flame for a couple of minutes, then add salt and pepper to taste, mix again and put the lid on the pan. Allow the soffritto (or sofrito) to cook for about 5 minutes on a low flame, or until the onions and celery turn golden, the carrots start to soften and the rawness of the garlic has gone.
- Once the soffritto is ready, put the flame to medium-high and, without the lid start adding the ground beef; try and break it down as much as possible, so you’ll be able to brown it properly and fry it in the olive oil and its own fat. Once all the meat is added, mix the beef well and keep on stirring gently until all of it has browned.
- OPTIONAL: Once all the minced beef has browned, add the red wine and mix well; keeping the sauce on a medium-low flame, allow the wine to evaporate.
- Once the wine has evaporated (or all the ground beef has browned if skipping that step), add the tomato paste and mix well. Allow the tomato paste to gently fry for a couple of minutes before proceeding to the next step.
- At this point add the tin of canned tomato plus 400ml of water, bring to the boil, then bring the flame down to low.
- OPTIONAL: Add the sugar, stir well once more, and put the lid back on the pan. This step is necessary only if the tomato sauce or puree are acidic.
- Ideally, you will be simmering this for at least one hour on a low flame, during which time you will occasionally stir to ensure the sauce doesn’t dry up or stick (depending on how low your low-flame is).
- Remove the lid from the saucepan and allow to continue simmering to bring to the desired consistency. At this stage you can also adjust the levels of salt and add some chopped herbs, if wanted. I, personally, add a bit of parsley sometimes.
- Once you are about 20 minutes away from the sauce being ready, put a large pan of water to boil and once the water boils, add the salt and spaghetti and mix well straight away.
- Cook the spaghetti for as long as it says on the package (this will mainly depend on the size of the spaghetti – more of this in notes).
- Once the spaghetti are al dente, drain them quickly, without over-draining them, and add them to the saucepot.
- Mix well the spaghetti and the sauce, divide into six plates and enjoy!
- Meat: if mixing different types of ground meat, add it and brown it all at the same time.
- Water or broth: water will be perfect for cooking the sauce, but should you prefer to use stock or broth, chose one that works with the ground meat chosen.
- Wine: for this recipe I used Cabernet Sauvignon, however other red wines, such as Rioja or Shiraz, will work well too. Feel free to use red cooking wine instead if you have it.
- Herbs: Make this recipe your own by using your favorite herbs and spices; good options are thyme, rosemary, red pepper flakes, or basil.
- Storage: you can store this Bolognese sauce in the fridge for up to three days in an airtight container.
Thank you for this recipe!
Thank you, Nancy!
This looks like some hearty comfort food! Perfect for the cooler weather coming! Thanks for sharing 🙂
I love the ingredients this must be over the top tasty!
I always add wine to my bolognese. It uplifts the overall flavor. I will give your recipe a try. Looks fantastic.
I agree, it adds that something to the beef. Please, do give it a try!
Spaghetti or any pasta is a staple here! This was such a tasty and flavorful pasta! My family is begging for more and I can't wait to make this for the weekend!
Fantastic, Beth! That's what I like to hear... thank you for sharing!
Enjoyed by us all, my son went up for second helpings!
Glad to hear so, Kay!
This is really good and delicious! Everyone at my house loved this meal!
Thank you, Toni. Really appreciate it!
This is making my tummy growl! Yum!
Thank you, Chef Dennis! A classic Italian dish... meant to make any tummy growl!
Very tasty with lots of flavor
Thank you, Audrey!
Best sauce hands down! Thank you Elle.
Oh, thank you, Mark!
Best Bolognese I've ever had. Amazing recipe!
That's great, Lisa! Thank you!
I made this last night. It turned out absolutely delicious!
Great to hear! Thank you!
Been following your recipes but have a question.we are nonveg eaters but teetotallers.so can you please suggest what is the best replacement for alcohol in food in your recipes.
Thank you for reaching out and following my recipes!
For spaghetti Bolognese you can just skip the step, as red wine is optional (not everyone uses it in Italy), but if you would like to substitute with something rather than skipping the step all together, then some broth (possibly beef broth) is a good option.
You will find most of my recipes have alcohol as an optional ingredient, as I am not a big drinker myself (mainly birthdays!) - so please let me know if there is any other recipe that you'd like to know about substitutes, as each will vary.
Thank you again for reaching out and I hope you enjoy the recipes!