Bolognese Sauce

I have done it a few ways:

Yesterdays/Today’s and Tomorrows Sauce

Pancetta diced and rendered ( sometimes I will add butter ), I remove the browned bits, add in carrots ( shredded ), dice onion ( I had shallots ), celery, sauted the veg in the fat till softened wee bit of salt, I then added in my meat… ground lamb, ground pork, ground chuck,I had a couple turkey livers, I just cook till the meat loses its color ( add back pancetta ), add in milk, reduce till gone, add white wine reduce till gone, I added in small can of Carmalina whole tomato. Pinch of nutmeg. and cook off an on for a couple days.

I have used other cuts of meat:
Cube chuck
beef cheeks

The one thing I have never done is brown my meat, add stock/brodo/broth and never paste. Maybe time for a change someday.


Serve with Papperdelle and Lambrusco!!

IMO, if it’s not done according to Marcella Hazan, it’s not ragu Bolognese. But hell, I’m Greek so what do I know?


That sounds mighty tasty! Pretty true to the classic version except for the lamb and turkey livers, but who cares.

Lately, I’ve been using guanicale, ground beef and a few cuts of osso buco along with the mirepoix, wine, milk, etc and throw everything together as you describe.



Tried a few but keep coming back to Marcella’s version. I use 50% beef and 50% pork
Cooks for about 5 hours.

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I hate to use the H-word around here, but if you are looking for a leaner version, we have found that this works very well with Bison meat. The strong flavor of the bison means you don’t need too much.

Here’s a good one from Micheal White of Marea fame.

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Another vote for Hazen. I’ve been using Flannery ground beef the last 4 times or so with spectacular results.

Tried the america’s test kitchen recipe…more intense than hazan.

3/4 lb each ground beef, pork, veal
4oz pancetta finely diced
4 oz mortadella finely diced (must contain ‘bologna’ to be bolognese, says a.t.k.)
3T chopped fresh sage
sofrito: 1 onion, rib celery, 1 carrots
1- 6oz can tomato paste (tomatoes or sauce waters down the necessary tomato flavor)
2 cups red wine
1 cup each chicken and beef broths (they also added an entire box of gelatin to thicken it…I left this out)
6 oz chicken liver, chopped or pureed

Brown the beef, pork and veal in e.v.o.o. to lightly carmelize
add pancetta, mortadella and sage, cook 5 mins.
add sofrito, cook 5 mins
add tomato paste, cook 5 mins to carmelize the paste
add red wine and broths, simmer 2 hours. I kept it covered and the liquids integrated nicely.
Add pureed chicken livers and cook a few minutes, just before serving. Don’t add livers at the beginning, or liver taste will permeate/dominate the dish.
Add to cooked tagliatelle or pappardelle with a little reserved pasta water and serve.
Note: no need to add any salt, as the broths, pancetta and mortadella contributed enough salt.

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I’m with Bob and + on Hazan. Did the Blumenthal experiment once, and then straight back to Hazan.

Hazan is always reflected in mine. The last few years I have been using paste. I like it.

Time - Phrase
01:17:22 Three kinds of meat in the meatballs: Veal, beef, and pork.

01:17:26 JIMMY: You got to have pork.

01:17:29 VINNIE: That’s the flavor.

01:17:30 HENRY: I felt he used too many onions, but it was still a very good sauce.

01:17:34 Don’t put too many onions in the sauce.

A thought regarding the browning of the meat comment in the OP. I watched Mario Batali cook his version. He added the meat and continued to cook it and cook it until ALL of the liquid was gone and that crackling and browning thing started happening and the results looked fantastic. I tried it and, while it took a lot longer to get to that dry crackling version where browning really started than I anticipated, it was fantastic. I always prefer white wine in mine to red as well.

from, of all places, Wine Spectator many years ago.

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I use more vegetables; at least twice that.
I’d advise chopping the carrots as small as possible.
Like Ken mentions, bison meat (or elk) is fun to mix in. Deeper flavor, maybe a beefy version of the flavors from your chicken livers)
I use red wine, and again… a lot more; maybe 1/2 bottle and less (but more concentrated)beef stock
It’s better the next day.

I’ve followed the Accademia Italiana della Cucina’s official Bolognese recipe (using white wine) on many occasions and it is outstanding.

Not sure why but I’ve always been unsure if milk or cream belonged in ragù Bolognese, but I guess this authority resolves that in the affirmative.

Season the meat with cinnamon and instant coffee powder.

plus a little ketchup and Chinese 5 spice

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This is closer to mine. I’m not 100% convinced of the milk trick so I don’t always add dairy to the sauté.