Bolognese Sauce

There's something so satisfying about making the perfect bolognese sauce on the stovetop, despite the fact that it takes a while. The aroma of the sauce cooking is a 'welcome home' to all who walk through the door.

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Bolognese Sauce

  • Prep Time: 20 m
  • Cook Time: 2 h 30 m
  • Total Time: 2 h 50 m
  • Servings:


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 2 carrots finely chopped
  • 2 ribs of celery finely chopped
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • ½ pound ground pork
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup white wine or red wine if you prefer
  • 28 ounce canned diced tomatoes
  • water as needed
  • grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese


  1. Pre-heat a large Dutch oven over medium heat.
  2. Add the olive oil and butter and sauté the onion, carrots and celery for 8 minutes, or until the vegetables soften. Stir in the fresh thyme and cook for another minute or so. Add the beef and pork to the Dutch oven and cook, seasoning with salt and freshly ground black pepper and breaking the chunks of meat up with a wooden spoon, until there is no pink left in the meat. At this point, you can drain some of the fat out of the pot if desired. Tilt the pot up, pushing the meat to one side so the fat collects on the other side. Remove all but 2 tablespoons of the fat with a spoon or turkey baster.

  3. Pour in the milk and stir, scraping the bottom of the Dutch oven to incorporate any bits of flavor. Increase the heat a little and simmer until the milk has almost entirely disappeared – about 8 to 10 minutes. Add the wine and continue to simmer until it too has almost disappeared – another 10 minutes.
  4. Add the tomatoes and bring to a simmer. Simmer (with a lid askew) for at least 2 hours, or preferably longer. If the sauce becomes too dry, stir in a little water (½ cup at a time), but make sure the water has evaporated or been absorbed before serving.
  5. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve over pasta with more Parmesan cheese at the table.
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Comments (20)Post a Reply

    1. I don’t have a written recipe for a vodka sauce on my website, but I do love it so I’ll put it on my list.

  1. I made it almost exactly per the recipe, did not use veal used ground poultry and added some fresh tomatoes. Delicious we had left overs for breakfast two days ina row! Making it again this weekend.

  2. This sounds delicious (just like your recipes always do). Milk is an interesting ingredient. Also, which wine would you suggest?

    1. I usually suggest any wine that you like in a glass, but if you don’t drink wine, go for an inexpensive cabernet sauvignon.

    1. Hi Cindy. If you love garlic, go for it. I’m not a big fan of garlic and left it out of this particular recipe. If you’re interested in a pressure cooker version of the sauce, check this recipe out: You could use the pressure cooker recipe in a slow cooker if you like, but make sure you brown the meat well beforehand and drain off all the fat before putting it into the slow cooker. Slow cook on low for 8 to 10 hours.

  3. 5 stars
    Excellent! I just made a double batch of this because I used a Costco sized ground turkey and mild Italian sausage. I used an Oregon Red wine called Druid’s Fluid. Wow, this is delicious! It does take time to cook down the milk first, then wine, then tomatoes but when you double the recipe it makes the time worthwhile. It is only taking a few extra minutes to chop more vegetables. Now I can make one or two lasagnas and freeze some sauce in a ziploc bag for a quick night pasta dish. Oh, the smell coming from the kitchen! My husband really liked this.

  4. This recipe is perfect. I’ve made it with and without the tomatoes. Perfect to freeze and add to spaghetti…I’ve even used it as my lasagne base. My dad tried it in the lasagne…said it was the best lasagne he’s ever had…and it that was 3 day leftovers I gave to him because we had SO much! And he’s 68…long life of eating lasagne…wasn’t just being nice. If it was awful…he’d say so…feelings be danged…haha I gave you all credit! He’s a new widower since my sweet Mama passed away last month. I told him you have lots of great recipes…he want to try them! Thanks so much for sharing the recipe. 🙂

    1. I’m so glad you enjoyed it as much as you did and that your father liked it as well. Food is comfort. So sorry you lost your mom.

  5. 5 stars
    This is the third time I have made this ! Always looks so pretty when cooking down! I always have to look this up but a tried and true recipe. I ❤️ it family loves it! Don’t loose this recipe!

    1. It is an option if you want to drain off the fat. It is good to leave about 2 tablespoons behind for flavor, but if using a high fat content in the beef, you may want to drain some of the grease off after browning the meat. Sorry for the confusion, we will adjust the written directions.

  6. I LOVE this recipe!! Just made it tonight, first time w white wine (we only drink red, usually have that on hand.) So, we’ll see what magic happens!!

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