"REAL" Italian Bolognese Sauce

"After traveling throughout Italy, savoring the fine tastes of Bolognese from the many different regions, I decided to formulate my own. Try it, you'll love it."
photo by Ashley Cuoco photo by Ashley Cuoco
photo by Ashley Cuoco
photo by Ashley Cuoco photo by Ashley Cuoco
photo by Dabney M. photo by Dabney M.
photo by amlaudisio photo by amlaudisio
photo by IngridH photo by IngridH
Ready In:
2hrs 40mins




  • In a Dutch Oven or Medium Size Pot, heat butter and olive oil over medium heat until butter begins to froth.
  • Add onion, celery, carrot, garlic, and bacon.
  • Cook until onions are translucent (about 8 to 10 minutes).
  • Remove bacon and remove fat.
  • Chop lean portions of bacon in small pieces and return to pot.
  • Add Ground beef and ground Pork, and cook until meat loses red, raw color.
  • Raise heat and add wine and consomme.
  • Cook sauce until wine and consomme are mostly evaporated.
  • Turn heat down to simmer and add oregano, salt, pepper, sage, red pepper flakes, and nutmeg.
  • Let cook for approximately 20 minutes.
  • Add crushed tomatoes and bring heat to a boil.
  • Once the mixture comes to a boil, return to simmer.
  • Let sauce simmer (very slowly) partially covered for about 2 to 4 hours (the longer the better), stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.
  • About 5 to 10 minutes before serving, add milk.
  • Sauce can now be added to cooked Penne Pasta, Spaghetti or many other Pastas to your liking.
  • Remaining sauce may be frozen for up to two months for future use.

Questions & Replies

default avatar
  1. Jeffery E.
    This sounds excellent. Can't wait to try it. Just a question - something that bugs me on lots of recipes - What's a Medium Onion?. I have 4 different onions on my counter ranging from 3.5oz, to 7oz, to 10 & to nearly 1lb. Why not give the amount in volume or weight like all the rest of the ingredients? Is a medium onion finely chopped 1/2 Cup? 1-Cup? Thanks!! Carrots too- they can be average size like in the 1-lb bags, or Jumbo like I get in the ethnic markets on Devon Ave. by my house. Volume would be helpful...
  2. Greg L.
    Has anyone tried extending this very good recipe 3 or 4x for larger groups??? Suggestions for doing so. Thanks in advance for any guidance or shared experience.


  1. Chef Kerry-Ann
    I have been making this recipe since I found it 5 years ago. I just realized I've never given it a review which is quite the crime as it is my families and friends favorite dish. THIS is the BEST bolognese you will ever try! Hands down! I make the recipe exactly as instructed but with one change. I use ground sausage instead of ground pork. This first happened on accident (sending husband to the market) I went with it, and it was delicious. It is fabulous both ways but with the sausage it adds that extra kick. Oh and instead of using American bacon I use Pancetta chopped up. It's not as fatty and gives it a lovely authentic Italian flavor. A lot of reviews recommended using more tomatoes.. I would suggest just trying it like this. Bolognese is actually a meat sauce not a red sauce. The tomato infused beef is what us Americans have made the dish into, which is also good, but not this dish....which is excellent. If you want tomato sauce have meat ball marinara. If you want REAL bolognese try this dish. Thank you Chef for sharing!
  2. Wee Nell
    Thanks Chef for your endorsement that garlic belongs in Bolognese. I've been mortified to read in the British press recently that Antonio Carluccio dismisses all Bolognese recipes containing garlic and herbs as inauthentic and invented for the UK market! That said, this recipe is pretty close to the one I've evolved over many years. An ex-boyfriend's Italian mother from the North of Italy used chopped Italian sausage along with the ground beef, this added some chilli heat and also a hint of fennel to the sauce so I was intrigued see chilli flakes featuring here too. I too use nutmeg but for nostalgia! I sometimes substitute freshly ground fennel seeds. I also find cooking slowly in the oven gives the sauce a dark mahogany colour and a richness that cooking on the hob sometimes misses. It's the Maillard reaction I believe!
  3. J.Williams
    I have been making this sauce for about 2 years. It is by far the best i have ever found. I double the onions and carrots and agree pancetta is better than the bacon but the bacon is great as well and you should cook the bacon first. take it out and just leave a little of the fat to mix with butter and olive oil and then chop up the bacon and put it back in. Cream is good but i like it both ways. Double the recipe so you have some for the whole week. My teenage kids love it and they don't love a lot...eccezionale!
  4. Alex H.
    This recipe led to one of the better Bolognese sauces that I have ever had. I occasionally have to work long hours overnight in my home office so I was looking for a recipe that would take a few hours to make to help pass some of the time. I followed this recipe as closely as possible (I eyeballed most of the herbs, spices, and wet ingredients) and let it simmer for around 3 hours. It was absolutely delicious and I would say that it could rival any Italian grandmother's recipe. Next time I make this I will add just a touch more salt though. All in all, this was a fantastic recipe.
  5. WannaBChef82
    This is an incredible recipe. The flavors are so complex and it's such a hearty and tasty sauce. This is my now go to Bolognese recipe. The only change I made was instead of adding the salt, I added the rind of some left over Parmigiano-Reggiano and let it simmer with the sauce, then removed before serving. (I got this idea from Rachel Ray, and it adds a wonderful flavor to any pasta sauce). Thank you for sharing such a wonderful recipe. My family and I thank you.


  1. Kirstin R.
    I have a couple of tips based on these many experiences. Taken from my knowledge of Kenji Lopez-Alts very scientific approach to all things - one way to really give this recipe that "umami" is adding a tbsp. of fish sauce at the end to finish. Stir in. You won't taste a fishiness, but it does add depth and flavour and is a no brainer if you have it. Secondly, I use ground pork and ground beef, but I know ground veal is recommended. Veal has a gelatinous quality that really adds dimension to your sauce. to substitute, add gelatine to your stock (consume) and it is a more convenient and economical way to get the same effect as veal. (I now keep a box of Knox gelatin in my cupboard and it has come in handy multiple times for this reason).
  2. KatieV
    I've got veggie-averse kids, so this was a great recipe to hide them in. I didn't limit myself to carrot/celery/onion, but have since tried cabbage, leeks, greens, etc- all put through the food processor. It takes on a similar size/texture to the meat, so it passes unnoticed (I know this isn't a new tip, but it's really worked well in this recipe).
  3. Denise M.
    no milk, added a small can of tomato paste
  4. Kate F.
    I made this last night and didn't care for it although my husband liked it. It just had a different taste than the Bolognese sauce I am use to.
  5. Tansu Aksu
    Good recipe. You can make it better if you use half cup of heavy cream instead of milk



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