Comforting and rich, this homemade Bolognese Sauce paired with your fave pasta is everything you are looking for in a slow-cooked, weekend meal. Adapted from famed cookbook author, Marcella Hazan, this recipe is bound to be a hit at your home like it is mine.
Nailing Down the Best Bolognese Sauce
My husband considers himself a bit of a connoisseur of bolognese sauces. He tends to try it at restaurants we visit that claim to have really good bolognese. Not just ordinary Italian restaurants that happen to have bolognese on the menu, but those restaurants that claim it’s what they’re known for and/or their most popular dish. And, he’s found a couple of really solid go-to’s along the way.
So, when I first attempted to make my own bolognese, I did so with trepidation, knowing that he’d be critical and compare mine to the ones he frequently orders out. Luckily for me, I have a real winner here! He and my daughter have said that not only is my bolognese really good, it rivals their favorite dish at a local Italian restaurant we often go to. Niiiiiiice!
The Slow-Cooking Process
The reason I call this weekend bolognese is because it takes a few hours to cook and simmer to develop the layers of flavor and complexity that makes it so delicious and comforting. So naturally, this recipe lends itself more to cooking on a Saturday or Sunday at home. And, it makes plenty so you can eat it for the rest of the week, like we do.
I adapted this recipe from Marcella Hazan, a famous cookbook author who helped raise the bar on Italian cooking in America. Her original recipe calls for loads of chopped veggies and chunks of tomato. My kids, like most kids I know, don’t like chunks of tomatoes or vegetables in their food. So, I’ve made some changes to adapt it to their liking while still retaining all the veggies and loads of flavor and richness.
This recipe calls for building layers of flavor starting with the veggies, then adding in two kinds of ground meat. You’ll add in the secret ingredient, freshly grated nutmeg, then simmer away 2 cups of milk and finally 2 cups of wine before adding in the final layer of tomato sauce then allowing it simmer away for a few hours. When it comes to the wine, I’ve found any variety to work. I’ve used Chardonnay, Rose and Pinot Grigio with great results, so feel free to try whatever you have on hand.
Topping it off
This bolognese is best served piping hot, atop a pile of your favorite pasta and with a big ol’ dollop of fresh homemade ricotta to top it all off. Add a sprinkling of freshly grated parmesan cheese and you’ve got yourself a hearty and oh-so-comforting meal.Print
Weekend Bolognese Sauce
Comforting and rich, this homemade Bolognese Sauce paired with your fave pasta is everything you are looking for in a slow-cooked, weekend meal.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 3.5 hours
- Total Time: About 4 hours
- Yield: 10 servings 1x
- Category: Bolognese Sauce
- Method: Stovetop Cook
- Cuisine: Italian
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 6 tablespoons butter
- 1 cup finely chopped onion
- 1 1/3 cup finely chopped celery
- 1 1/3 cup finely chopped carrot
- ¾ pound ground beef chuck
- ¾ pound ground pork
- Fresh ground black pepper
- 2 cups whole milk
- Whole nutmeg
- 2 cups dry white wine
- 3 – 15 ounce cans tomato sauce
- fresh parmesan
- homemade ricotta
In a heavy 3.5 quart pot over medium heat, add oil, butter and chopped onion. Cook and stir onion until it has become translucent, then add chopped celery and carrot. Cook for about 2 minutes, stirring vegetables to coat well
Add ground beef, ground pork, a large pinch of salt and a few grindings of pepper. Crumble meat with a fork, stir well and cook until meat has lost its raw, red color
Add milk and let simmer gently, stirring frequently, until it has bubbled away completely, approximately 30 minutes
Grate 3/4 of the whole nutmeg directly into the pot and stir well
Add wine and let it simmer until it has evaporated, approximately 30 minutes
Add tomato sauce and stir thoroughly to coat all ingredients well. When the sauce begins to bubble, turn heat down so that the sauce cooks at a lazy simmer, with just an intermittent bubble breaking through the surface. Cook, uncovered, for 3 hours or more, stirring from time to time. While sauce is cooking, you are likely to find that it will begin to dry out and the fat will separate from the meat. To keep it from sticking, add ½ cup water as necessary. At the end of cooking, however, the water should be completely evaporated and the fat should separate from the sauce. Taste and season with salt
Serve over hot pasta with a dollop of fresh ricotta and freshly grated Parmesan
- This recipe can easily be halved
- If you have any leftovers, freeze in portions in ziplock bags. It’ll keep in the freezer for up to 3 months
- Recipe adapted from Marcella Hazan
Keywords: bolognese, sauce, Italian, family meal, Sunday dinner, weekend cooking, Marcella Hazan
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