BEST Bolognese Sauce Recipe Look no further for the richest, tastiest, most flavorful bolognese sauce EVER! Layers and layers of FLAVOR mingle together to create a depth that will make your taste buds sing!
The Ultimate Homemade Bolognese Sauce
Bolognese is one of the most popular Italian dishes worldwide and for good reason – it’s delicious and makes for some of the best comfort food ever!
Traditionally bolognese sauce uses three meats (beef, veal and pork) and pancetta (or bacon) to achieve the flavor that has made it so famous. The pork adds sweetness to the sauce, the veal adds finesse, and the pancetta…well, we all know what bacon does. It’s like manna from heaven.
The long, slow cooking time results in melt-in-your-mouth tenderness and a depth of flavor that will satisfy your tummy and your soul.
We’re taking traditional bolognese basics and then adding a few twists to bump up the flavor even further: Dried porcini mushrooms are the ultimate secret ingredient for adding incredible FLAVOR and umami elements to sauces, gravies, soups and stews. Make your best effort to source them. For additional flavor I like to use ground pork sausage in place of ground pork. And in addition to the traditionally used white wine we’re adding a bit of red as well for a more robust flavor. We’re confident you’re going to love the depth and flavor that these twists contribute to your bolognese sauce.
Tips for Making the BEST Bolognese
The key to a good bolognese is to not cut corners when it comes to the length of the cooking time and the quality of ingredients. The long cooking time is crucial for breaking down the food and releasing the flavors of each ingredient. A bolognese that’s cooked for 30 minutes will taste vastly different than the bolognese that has simmered for 3 hours. So don’t rush it!
Another key element is to use the best quality ingredients. For the best flavor use tomatoes that are imported from Italy; they are much sweeter and more flavorful. They can be purchased at most well-stocked grocery stores. For those in the U.S., World Market also carries them. And of course you can purchase them online.
I like the Mutti tomatoes brand– it’s a smooth puree that’s ready to go. I also like Strianese San Marzano tomatoes which are stewed and traditionally they’re crushed by hand and then added to the bolognese.
Dried Porcini Mushrooms
This has become my secret flavor weapon for the past decade. Grind them up with a coffee/spice grinder and add them to your sauces, gravies, soups and stews for an incredible depth of flavor and umami notes. You will be blown away by what these do for the flavor of your food! You can find them in many well-stocked grocery stores as well as online
Quality Fresh Meats
Another key to achieving the best flavored sauce is to use the highest quality of meat you can find. You only need 1/2 pound of each kind and it’s worth it to splurge for quality.
Italy produces more than 300 varieties of cheese – three hundred! It’s mind-blowing. To finish off your bolognese use a quality aged Italian grating cheese. The most popular are Asiago, Grana Padano, Parmigiano-Reggiano and Pecorino Romano. That finishing touch will take your bolognese to a whole new level.
Can You Freeze Bolognese Sauce?
Yes! This sauce freezes well and can be used in any pasta dish, including lasagna. You can make it in bulk and freeze it in containers so you always have some on hand when you need it.
Bolognese Sauce Recipe
Let’s get started!
Very finely chop the carrots, celery, onions and garlic. You don’t want large chunks of it in the sauce. You want them to blend in, almost unnoticeably.
In a large Dutch Oven over medium-high heat, fry the bacon until done.
Add all chopped vegetables (don’t drain that bacon grease!) along with the butter and cook until softened, 5-7 minutes.
Add the beef, veal and sausage/pork and cook until the pink is gone, another 5 minutes.
Add the milk, bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 1 hour.
Add the veal/beef consommé or broth and the white and red wine.
Add the tomato puree or crushed tomatoes.
Add the ground porcini, salt, pepper, nutmeg, sage, rosemary and bay leaf.
Bring the sauce to a boil, reduce to low, cover and simmer for 2 hours. The sauce will thicken further than the picture below over the course of the two hours. If the sauce is still a little too runny, remove the lid and simmer another 30 minutes. Stir in the chopped fresh parsley and add salt and pepper to taste.
Serve over pasta, fresh pasta is best, with some freshly grated aged Italian cheese.
For more traditional Italian dishes be sure to try our:
- Osso Buco
- Chicken Piccata
- Beef Ragu
- Lamb Ragu
- Beef Braciole
- Minestrone Soup
- Tuscan White Bean and Sausage Soup
BEST EVER Bolognese Sauce
- 4 ounces pancetta or bacon , diced
- 5 tablespoons butter
- 1 medium yellow onion , very finely chopped
- 1 large carrot , very finely chopped
- 1 large celery rib , very finely chopped
- 2 large cloves garlic , minced
- 1/2 pound ground beef
- 1/2 pound ground veal
- 1/2 pound ground bulk pork sausage or plain ground pork (sausage will give even more flavor)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1 cup beef or veal consommé or broth
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 1/2 cup dry red wine
- 1 28 ounce can or jar Italian imported tomato puree or Italian imported stewed tomatoes crushed by hand
- 2 tablespoons ground dried porcini mushrooms (strongly recommend for incredible flavor)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon ground fennel seed
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage (or 1 1/2 teaspoons dried)
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary (or 1 teaspoon dried)
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- Fry the bacon in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until done (don't drain the bacon grease). Add the butter and the onion, carrot, celery and garlic and cook until softened, 5-7 minutes.
- Add the ground beef, veal, sausage and salt and cook until no pink remains. Add the milk, bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 1 hour.
- Add the consomme, white and red wine, tomatoes and all remaining ingredients except for the parsley. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 2 hours, stirring occasionally. Uncover and continue simmering on very low for another 2 hours. If the bolognese is too runny, uncover and simmer another 30 minutes or until sufficiently thickened. Stir in the parsley and simmer for another minute.
- Serve over pasta (fresh is best) with some freshly grated aged Italian cheese.
- Note: This sauce freezes well and can be used in any pasta dish, including lasagna.
First published on The Daring Gourmet November 7, 2014