One of the first recipes I learned to make in culinary school was a Bolognese Sauce recipe. It was a classic recipe using a variety of meats, including cubes of ham, running it through a food mill for consistency, and simmering it for hours before it was ready to serve. It resulted in a truly delicious bolognese sauce, but man was it a lot of effort.
Our recipe today is a simplified version of the bolognese sauce recipe I made in school. It’s equally as delicious, still requires a bit of simmering time to meld all the flavors together, but is much more simplified!
What is Bolognese Sauce?
Classic bolognese sauce is an Italian meat sauce originating from Bologna, Italy. The biggest difference from that of an American meat sauce is the addition of milk and the use of a lot less tomatoes. The resulting sauce is much thicker and creamier.
How to Make Our Bolognese Sauce Recipe
Our Bolognese sauce recipe is really easy to make once you have gathered all your ingredients!
- Melt together butter and oil in a large Dutch oven.
- Add onion, carrot, celery, garlic, season with salt and pepper and sauté mixture.
- Add beef, pork and sausage to pot, breaking down meats with a spoon and stir together. Season with salt and pepper.
- Cook until meats have browned.
- Add nutmeg and milk and simmer until milk reduces.
- Stir in tomatoes and break apart with a wooden spoon.
- Simmer sauce until thick and everything has melded together.
- Adjust seasonings and serve.
Tools You Will Need
Best Types of Canned Tomatoes to Use for Our Bolognese Sauce
We use whole, peeled, canned tomatoes for our recipe, because we like the bits of tomatoes that remain in the sauce once it has simmered down. If you want a slightly smoother sauce, we recommend using crushed canned tomatoes, which will result in an equally delicious bolognese sauce.
What to Serve with Our Bolognese Sauce
Although the most common and typical way to serve bolognese sauce is tossed together with pasta, there are so many other ways to serve it up. It makes for especially delicious leftovers!
- Baked Pasta – I know we just mentioned pasta, but we’re talking about dishes like bolognese stuffed shells and lasagna!
- Polenta -top your creamy polenta with a big ladle of this sauce for a deliciously hearty meal!
- Stuffed Peppers – hollow out some halved bell peppers, fill with bolognese, top with shredded mozzarella for a tasty low carb dinner.
- Loaded Baked Potato – Fill a simple baked potato with a scoop of this bolognese sauce for a different take on baked potato.
- Sloppy Joes – Toast up some of your favorite burger buns and fill with a big scoop of bolognese for a quick, easy and delicious weeknight leftovers dinner the whole family will love!
Make Ahead and Freezing Instructions
This sauce can be made up to 3 days ahead of time. Once the sauce is made, cool it and store it in an airtight container until ready to use.
When ready to use pour sauce into a pot and simmer over medium-low heat, occasionally stirring, until heated through. If sauce is too thick, add 1/2 cup water to loosen. Adjust seasonings (salt and pepper) and serve.
Cool sauce completely and store in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 3 months.
When ready to use, thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then pour sauce into a pot and simmer over medium-low heat until heated through. If sauce is too thick, add 1/2 cup water to loosen. Adjust seasonings (salt and pepper) and serve.
More Cozy and Delicious Recipes You Will Love
- Easy Broccoli Cheddar Soup
- Pumpkin Risotto with Seared Scallops
- Baked Ziti
- Braised Beef Ragu over Cheesy Polenta
- One Pot Fettuccine Alfredo
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- 3 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 medium onion diced
- 2 carrots peeled and diced
- 2 celery stalks diced
- 1 garlic clove minced
- 10 ounces lean ground beef
- 4 ounces ground pork
- 4 ounces sweet Italian sausage casings removed
- pinch nutmeg
- 1 1/3 cups whole milk
- 1 can (28 ounces) whole peeled tomatoes
- salt and pepper to taste
- Place Dutch oven over medium heat and melt butter and oil together.
- Add onion, carrot, celery, and garlic and season with salt and pepper. Sauté together until onions become translucent and vegetables soften, about 8 minutes.
- Add ground beef, pork and sausage and break up using a wooden spoon. Season with salt and pepper.
- Cook mixture together, while stirring frequently, until meat loses its raw color, about 5 minutes.
- Add nutmeg and milk and stir together. Simmer until milk reduces by 50%, about 10 minutes.
- Stir in canned tomatoes, including juices, and break tomatoes up with wooden spoon. Season with salt and pepper.
- Lower heat to medium-low and simmer sauce for about 1 1/2 hours, occasionally stirring. If sauce becomes too dry, add ½ cup water and stir together.
- Adjust salt and pepper as needed and serve sauce with pasta of choice.
Did you make this recipe? We want to see!
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This looks amazing! Do you recommend adding white wine to this? Also, could we use panchetta istead os sausage?
I don’t think the sauce needs wine, but you can certainly add some. I would add it before the nutmeg and milk and let it cook off a bit. You can also sub in pancetta, but i would just watch the additional salt you add.
Just made this tonight! Yum! Very tasty dish. I used bucatini which worked great
This was so good and so easy to make! I’m definitely making sloppy Joe’s with the leftovers tomorrow!
I accidentally put too much nutmeg how do I fix this in the future :(
oh bummer! In the future, you can add some more milk into the mixture (to dilute the nutmeg flavor), depending on how much more nutmeg was added. From there you may need to add a little more tomato to the sauce as well. Adding a little bit of tomato paste instead of more whole peeled tomato would work too!