I’ve been wanting to share my original Bolognese recipe for awhile, but I’ve been too tired to measure everything and write it down. I’ve taken a lot of pasta classes in Italy, and I’ve been amazed at how easy the sauces are to replicate at home. When we couldn’t travel in 2020, I spent some time trying to perfect various recipes. When we could travel again, we made 3 trips to Bologna, Italy, and I’ve finally gotten my Bolognese recipe to a point where everyone enjoys it. (Seriously. People always try to take my leftovers home.)
True story: When I studied abroad, I lived off of pasta tossed with olive oil, salt, and olives. (1. It was cheap and I wanted to use my money to travel. 2. I had no idea that pasta sauces could be so good. The US and its canned sauces had ruined pasta for me.)
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links for tours and products I love at no additional cost to you. You can read my full disclosure policy here.
A Few Notes on my Pasta Bolognese
Everyone is always shocked that my Bolognese recipe doesn’t include milk. It starts with a base of olive oil and finishes with vegetable stock. The reason I love true Italian pasta sauces is that they AREN’T heavy. They are light, fresh, and the primary ingredients really shine. Bolognese is one of my most popular Christmas recipes, but I can also enjoy it when it is 100 degrees in the summer. Tom is happy to eat it without pasta when we’re trying to stay on a low-carb diet.
In my opinion, the second best thing about this Bolognese recipe is that you don’t have to watch it constantly. Once it is simmering, you can just let it cook. I think my penne arrabiata recipe and my spaghetti with olive oil, garlic, and chili require a lot more attention to detail. The Bolognese recipe is easy to set and forget. You can put it on and get on with the rest of your day. The longer it simmers, the richer the flavor. (Just check on it from time to time to add the vegetable stock.)
The last thing I love about this recipe is that you don’t need expensive ingredients for it to be delicious. I buy everything except the vegetables at Aldi. And, the only reason I buy the vegetables at Central Market is because they sell fresh vegetables that are already chopped, and I’m all about that efficiency.
Speaking of efficiency, this is really delicious with fresh pasta, but the dry stuff works just as well. I probably need to share my fresh pasta recipe at some point though. It is one of my favorite things to make when I’m feeling like I want to be creative in the kitchen.
Original Bolognese Recipe
- 1/2 cup of olive oil
- 1/2 cup carrots, diced
- 1 cup white onion, diced
- 1/2 cup of celery, diced
- 1.5 lbs of ground beef (90/10 is ideal but 80/20 will work)
- 1/3 lb of ground mild Italian pork sausage (optional)
- 1 cup of red wine (I use whatever cheap bottle we have open – it really is fine.)
- 6 oz of tomato paste
- 3 cups of vegetable stock
- Heat up your olive oil, add the carrots, onion, and celery. Saute over medium heat for 10 minutes or until soft, stirring frequently.
- Increase the heat to medium-high and add the beef and the pork. Mix thoroughly and break up any large chunks. Cook until throughly browned. Add red wine and cook until you cannot smell the alcohol.
- Reduce heat to low, add tomato paste and mix thoroughly.
- Cover sauce and cook on low until sauce reaches desired taste and consistency. Check on sauce and add vegetable stock throughout cooking so sauce does not dry out.
- Toss with fresh pasta and serve. I love a fettuccine or pappardelle noodle with my Bolognese.