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Bolognese sauce


bolognese sauce

Bolognese sauce

Bolognese sauce, also known as Ragu alla Bolognese, is a rich and hearty Italian meat sauce that hails from the city of Bologna in Northern Italy. It is a classic and beloved sauce often used to accompany pasta dishes.
In 1982, the Bologna delegation of the Italian Academy of Cuisine officially registered the classic recipe for Ragu alla Bolognese with the Bologna Chamber of Commerce. According to this official recipe, Bolognese sauce should include finely chopped onions, carrots, celery, minced meat, tomatoes (either fresh or in the form of tomato paste), wine, and milk.
Bolognese sauce has a thick and meaty texture, with the meat finely crumbled or minced. It clings well to pasta, creating a satisfying and substantial dish.
The sauce typically has a deep, reddish-brown colour due to the combination of tomatoes, tomato paste, and meat.
The core ingredients of Bolognese sauce include minced meat, commonly a mixture of beef and pork. Vegetables such as onions, carrots, and celery are finely chopped and cooked to create a flavorful base. Tomatoes, either in the form of crushed tomatoes or tomato paste, provide the sauce with its characteristic colour and acidity. Red wine is often used to enhance the depth of flavour, but a dry white wine is equally acceptable. Milk is another key ingredient that adds creaminess and helps balance the acidity of the tomatoes.
Bolognese sauce is known for its complex and savoury flavour profile. The slow cooking process allows the ingredients to meld, creating a sweet and savoury sauce. The addition of wine, herbs, and spices contributes to its robust taste. Common herbs used include oregano, thyme, and rosemary, while nutmeg is sometimes added for a hint of warmth.
Bolognese sauce is most commonly served with pasta, such as spaghetti or fettuccine. It is also used in dishes like lasagna, where the rich sauce is layered with pasta and béchamel sauce. The slow-cooking process is crucial to allow the flavours to develop fully, resulting in a deeply satisfying and comforting dish.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Simmering 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 55 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Servings 4 people
Calories 250 kcal


  • 1 Large saucepan


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion (finely chopped)
  • 2 medium carrots (peeled and finely chopped)
  • 2 stalks celery (finely chopped)
  • 3 clove garlic (minced)
  • 500 g beef mince
  • 250 g pork mince
  • ½ bottle red or dry white wine
  • 2 tins chopped tomatoes
  • ½ cup whole milk
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • ½ tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary (or fresh)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg (grated)
  • ¼ cup tomato paste
  • ½ cup beef or vegetable broth

Seasoning - to taste

  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp rock salt

Serve with

  • 400 g pasta spaghetti, fettuccine, or your choice for serving


  • 1 tbsp parmesan cheese (grated)


  • Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Add the chopped onion, carrots, and celery. Cook until the vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes.
  • Add the minced garlic and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes until fragrant.
  • Add the minced beef and pork to the pot. Break the meat apart with a spoon and cook until browned.
  • Pour the red (or white) wine into the pan and let it simmer for a few minutes until it reduces by half.
  • Add the crushed tomatoes, milk, salt, pepper, oregano, thyme, rosemary, bay leaf, and nutmeg. Stir well to combine.
  • Stir in the tomato paste and beef or vegetable broth. Bring the mixture to a simmer.
  • Reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and let the Bolognese sauce simmer for at least 1 to 1.5 hours. Stir occasionally.
  • Taste and adjust the seasoning as needed. If the sauce becomes too thick, you can add a bit more broth.
  • Remove the bay leaf before serving.
  • Serve the Bolognese sauce over cooked pasta and garnish with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.


Enjoy your delicious homemade Bolognese sauce!
Keyword Bolognese

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