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Bolognese Sauce

Make a big batch of bolognese for a pasta dinner, tasty Italian-American sandwiches and creamy lasagna.
Make a big batch of bolognese for a pasta dinner, tasty Italian-American sandwiches and creamy lasagna.TODAY
Cook Time:
2 hrs 30 mins
Prep Time:
30 mins
10 to 12

Chef notes

To me, nothing screams Sunday supper quite like macaroni and gravy. Yes, we say gravy in my family, not pasta sauce ... well, usually, but I don't need to get into that. While I obviously love a classic red sauce loaded with meatballs, sausage and braciola, I'll take a slamming Bolognese over that any day.  

Making a great Bolognese is actually pretty easy since everything is done in one pot. The only time-consuming part is chopping up the vegetables at the beginning. But it's worth the effort because this sauce will keep for up to four days in the refrigerator, or three months in the freezer. 

Special kitchen equipment: Large Dutch oven

Technique tip: Cook low and slow for flavor development and tender meat. 

Swap option: Use all ground beef instead of the meatloaf mix


  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 pound (4 ounces) pancetta, finely diced
  • cups celery, finely chopped
  • cups carrots, peeled and finely chopped
  • cups onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 4 very large garlic cloves, sliced
  • 2 pounds meatloaf mix (or 1 pound ground beef, ½ pound ground veal, ½ pound ground pork)
  • 2/3 cup dry red wine
  • 2 (28-ounce) cans certified whole peeled San Marzano tomatoes, pureed with juice
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary
  • 1 sprig fresh oregano
  • 1 fresh bay leaf
  • 2/3 cup whole milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper



In a large pot or Dutch oven, warm the olive oil over medium-high heat.


Add the pancetta and cook until crispy, about 4 minutes.


Add the celery, carrots, red onions and a generous pinch of salt and cook, stirring often, until the vegetables begin to caramelize, about 10 minutes.


Add the garlic and cook, stirring often, for an additional 2 minutes.


Add the meatloaf mix and a generous pinch of salt. Using the back of a wooden spoon, break up the meat into small bits and cook, stirring often, until all meat is browned, for 6 to 8 minutes.


Add the red wine and cook until liquid reduces by half, a minute or two.


Add the pureed tomatoes and a generous pinch of salt and stir to combine. Bring to a boil and then reduce the flame to low.


Add the herbs and simmer for 2 hours, stirring every 15 minutes. 


With a slotted spoon, fish out the fresh herbs, then stir in the milk and freshly grated nutmeg.


Return sauce to a simmer and cook an additional 30 minutes, stirring often.


Before serving, season with salt and pepper, to taste.


  Serve with a wide noodle pasta, such as tagliatelle or pappardelle and enjoy!