Bolognese Sauce

Delicious bolognese sauce over rigatoni. Cooked for 6 hours, this sauce is packed with flavor.

I’m in a great mood today. So much so that I am going to share my absolute favorite pasta sauce recipe: bolognese. This recipe is extremely popular and always loved when I make it for others. Having Italian roots, I see this dish as the perfect Sunday dinner. Let’s get into it!


Being a meat based sauce, you’re going to need a lot of meat. The not so obvious part of this recipe – there’s actually a lot of vegetables in it as well. You’ll need the following:

  • Pancetta
  • Beef
  • Italian sausage
  • Onion
  • Carrot
  • Celery
  • Garlic (optional)
  • Milk
  • Nutmeg
  • White wine
  • San Marzano tomatoes
  • Salt
  • Pepper

As you can see, I include garlic – for many, this is not allowed in bolognese. Feel free to omit if you prefer, but I love the flavor. The first part of this cook goes fast, make sure to have the meats and veggies prepped before you begin.

The meats and vegetables prepped and ready to be cooked
Have your veggies prepped and meats out so that you’re ready to cook

Start with the vegetables

The first thing that I like to do when making bolognese sauce is to cut all of the vegetables so that they’re ready to go. You should also grind your meat (unless you’re using store bought ground beef) and remove the sausage from the casing. While doing all of that, add the pancetta to a pot and cook it on low to medium-low until the fat has rendered out and the pieces have become crispy. Remove the crispy pancetta from the pot with a slotted spoon but leave the rendered fat. Boost the stove to medium to medium-high heat, add the onion, and sauté it in the rendered pancetta fat (it gives it a delicious flavor). Once the onion has softened, add the carrots, celery, and garlic. Continue to cook until they have started to soften as well.

Add the meats

Once the veggies have softened a bit, add the crispy pancetta, beef, and italian sausage to the pot. Add salt and pepper to taste, mix everything together, and brown all of the meats.

Meats browning while mixed with the vegetables
The meats browning with the vegetables

Once the meats are browned, it’s time for the more time consuming parts of the cook: adding the liquid based ingredients.

The patience part of the cook

Add the milk and a dash of nutmeg to the meat and vegetables. Allow this to cook on low to medium-low until the milk has completely evaporated. This could take up to 1 hour. Once that’s done, add the white wine and do the exact same thing – allow it to cook until the wine has evaporated. Once again, this could take up to 1 hour. Once the wine has evaporated, add the San Marzano tomatoes and let it cook on low for 3 hours. I know this seems like an extremely long cook, and it is, but it’s 100% worth it. The amount of flavor that builds up while slowly simmering this sauce is impeccable. Besides, it’s not like you need to stand by the sauce for 3 hours while it’s simmering – just check on it from time to time.

The sauce simmering away until the white wine has evaporated
Sauce simmering until the white wine has evaporated

Simmer and serve

Once the sauce is done simmering for 3 hours, it’s time to serve. I know 3 hours seems like a long time, but I highly recommend waiting. I’ve tried cutting the time short in the past but the end result flavor is not the same. Please give it the full 3 hours. Once done, taste the sauce and adjust the salt level if necessary. Serve the sauce over the pasta of your choice and garlic bread. For me, rigatoni is the best pasta to serve with bolognese. Try this recipe out and let me know what you think. If you have the patience, then I believe this will become your new “Sunday sauce”.

Delicious bolognese sauce over rigatoni. Cooked for 6 hours, this sauce is packed with flavor.

Bolognese Sauce

It's time for you to learn my favorite and most popular Italian pasta sauce: Bolognese. This meat based sauce is slowly cooked for hours, building up big, bold flavors that will bring your taste buds on a magical journey. Cooking all day and leaving your house smelling like heaven, this is the perfect pasta sauce for a Sunday dinner. A great family meal – my kids are always asking for seconds and thirds. Make this sauce once and you'll have a new "Sunday sauce" for everyone to enjoy.
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 5 hours
Servings 4 Servings


  • 8 oz Pancetta cubed
  • 1 lb Ground beef if grinding your own beef, short rib, chuck, and brisket are good cuts to use
  • 1/2 lb Italian sausage spicy or sweet
  • 1 White onion minced
  • 2-3 Carrots diced
  • 3-4 Celery ribs diced
  • 6 Garlic cloves minced, optional
  • 1 cup Whole milk
  • Dash Nutmeg
  • 1 cup White wine
  • 28 oz San Marzano tomatoes
  • Salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste


  • Cut all of the vegetables and grind the beef (if grinding your own). Remove the Italian sausage from it's casing.
  • Add the cubed pancetta in the pot you are going to make the sauce in on medium-low heat. Allow the fat to render and the pancetta to become crispy, about 15 minutes. Remove the crispy pancetta using a slotted spoon and set aside. Leave the rendered fat in the pot.
  • Boost the stove to medium heat. Add the onion and cook in the pancetta fat. Once softened, add the carrot, celery, and garlic. Mix and cook until softened.
  • Add the crispy pancetta, ground beef, and Italian sausage to the vegetables. Add salt and pepper to taste. Mix everything together and brown the meat.
  • Once the meat is fully browned, add the milk and nutmeg. Combine everything and lower the heat to low or medium-low. Cook, mixing from time to time, until the milk has evaporated, about 1 hour.
  • Add the white wine. Cook, mixing from time to time, until the wine has evaporated, about 1 hour.
  • Add the San Marzano tomatoes. Break them up with a spoon and mix together. Lower the heat to your stoves lowest setting and allow to cook for 3+ hours, mixing from time to time.
  • After the 3 hours is up, taste and adjust the salt level (if necessary). Serve with the pasta of your choice. I recommend rigatoni. Enjoy!
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