Classic Bolognese Sauce

This traditional Bolognese sauce is made using all the authentic ingredients like beef, pork, fresh tomato purée, then cooked low and slow for hours to develop a rich, hearty taste.


Bolognese sauce, also known in Italy as ragú, originates from one of my favorite Italian cities, Bologna. Bolognese sauce is a rich, thick meat sauce that cooks for 4 hours. I did a lot of research before writing this recipe as there are many variations of Bolognese, but this recipe is as close to the real thing. The meats used in a Bolognese sauce are traditionally 50% each of ground beef and pork with a really great flavor booster, pancetta (Italian unsmoked bacon). Onion, carrots, celery and garlic are cooked when the meat is browned. White wine is added (not red, white is traditional) along with a good quality tomato puree, milk and beef stock. The longer this sauce is simmered, the better the flavor so set aside a good 4 hours for the best result. When one would expect oregano or basil to be used in an Italian recipe, seasonings are very minimal in Bolognese. Only salt and pepper is used.

This traditional Bolognese recipe makes 3 quarts/12 cups of sauce. You will need a large pan for this and the reason I made so much is because this sauce is going in a traditional lasagna. Which is also very large and really good! (recipe coming soon).


This sauce is not only used in lasagna, Bolognese is also served with wide, flat tagliatelle, a pasta that can hold the weight of the sauce.

Classic Bolognese Sauce
Recipe Type: Main
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 ½ pounds 80/20 ground beef
  • 1 ½ pounds ground pork
  • 6 ounces pancetta, chopped finely
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 11 ounces large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 ounces stalks, finely chopped
  • 6 ounces carrots, finely chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves, grated or finely chopped
  • 1 cup white wine (or red if you prefer)
  • 37 ounces good quality can tomato puree
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 cup beef stock
  1. To a large, heavy saucepan add the oil and butter over medium-high heat.
  2. When the butter is melted and bubbly, add the beef, pork, pancetta, salt, pepper. Brown, breaking up the meat while cooking.
  3. When the meat is browned, add the onion, celery and carrots, mix well and cook for 3 minutes.
  4. Stir in the garlic and cook for 2 more minutes.
  5. Add the wine, stir and allow to cook and reduce slightly for about 3 minutes.
  6. Add the tomato purée, milk, stock and mix well.
  7. Partially cover and simmer for 4 hours, stirring often to prevent it sticking to the bottom.
  8. When done, taste for seasoning and adjust to your taste.


Janette Fuschi

Hi, my name is Janette, originally from England, currently living in Southern California. I'm the author, recipe developer, photographer and resident redhead behind Culinary Ginger. I grew up in a household with 4 siblings where my mother cooked a from scratch meal for us every night. I took an interest at an early age in cooking and learned a lot by helping and watching my mother in the kitchen. Today that tradition is carried on my household in that I also like to cook every night. I like to use only fresh ingredients, no processed or pre-packaged foods are allowed in my kitchen. I like to try new recipes and adapt current ones from all cuisines. In addition to all of this, I am fortunate that I get to travel with my husband for business and this allows me to explore and document my findings here for you to read and hopefully, take something with you.

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