Bolognese Recipe! – Great to Make for a Crowd! Image 1
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Bolognese Recipe! – Great to Make for a Crowd!

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Bolognese or Ragu, is an Italian meat sauce that originates from Bologna.  Bolognese usually contains a few different combinations of meat depending upon your preferred flavor profile or what’s available. Ground meat and slow roasting meats, like short ribs and roasts are traditionally used in Bolognese.  I like to use a variety of ground meats such as; beef, veal and pork.  This combination of meat provides a nice base with great flavor that pairs nicely with the rich tomato sauce.

I have used short ribs and brisket to make Bolognese before, but an additional step of shredding the meat is required before you create the sauce. Using whole braised meats makes a decadently delicious sauce too, but I think the ground meat provides a simpler way to create a tasty Ragu.

Bolognese can be served over spaghetti, pappardelle or any thicker noodle pasta.  Also, I like to serve it over spaghetti squash, especially when I am trying to reduce my carbohydrate in take.  Bolognese would also make a great Sloppy Joe or Stuffed Pepper with an Italian flair.

Another great reason to partake in this Bolognese recipe is that you can feed a crowd.  This recipe serves about 12 servings and you can freeze half of it to serve later, for a quick weeknight meal.  Also, you can whip up a batch on the weekend to prepare ahead for your holiday guests and rewarm the sauce as needed.


1 pound ground beef

1 pound ground veal

1 pound ground pork

3 large carrots, washed, peeled and chopped into thirds

4 stalks celery, washed and chopped into thirds

1 white onion, peeled and cut in quarters

3 cloves garlic, peeled

1 heaping tablespoon dry Italian seasoning

1 tablespoon salt

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 28 ounce can tomato puree, San Marzano preferably

1 28 ounce can whole tomatoes, San Marzano preferably

1 6 ounce can tomato paste

1 tablespoon of sugar

1/4 cup heavy cream

2 pounds pasta, any long noodle variety (prepare less pasta if freezing half)

spaghetti squash, optional

To Prepare:

1.  In a food processor, add the carrots, celery, garlic and onion.  Puree until the mixture resembles couscous.

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2.  In a large stock pot, add 3 tablespoons of olive oil and the coarse vegetables from the food processor. Saute the vegetables over medium heat for 4 minutes or until slightly softened.

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3.  Remove the meat from any packaging and crumble it into the stock pot over the sauteed vegetables. Cook the meat for 10 minutes, or until light and crumbly.

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4.  Then, add the Italian seasoning, 1 tablespoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes.  Stir the herbs into the meat mixture and continue to cook over medium heat.

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5.  Pour the tomato puree, whole tomatoes, tomato paste and 1 cup of water into the stock pot over the meat.  Stir together to combine and continue cooking.

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6.  Add 1 tablespoon of sugar to the sauce to balance out the acidity of the tomatoes and stir.

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7.  Cover the pot with a lid and leaving a 1-inch crack.  Turn the heat down to low and continue to cook the sauce for 3 hours, stirring every 30 minutes.  If your stove runs hot, turn the heat to simmer to prevent any burning.

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8.  Towards the end of the cooking time, boil your pasta or steam the spaghetti squash and drain.  Pour the cream into the sauce and stir.

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9. Serve a portion of pasta on a plate with a big ladle of sauce over the top.  It you want to toss the pasta and sauce before serving, you can do so in a large skillet, by adding the cooked pasta with a little olive oil and a ladle or two of sauce.  Enjoy!

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1 Comment

  • Reply Kate Carpenter December 18, 2015 at 1:36 pm

    I made the Bolognese last night and it was superb! Who ever thought to put a little chile flakes in with pasta ?! Genius! This will be my new standard. Eat more veggies!

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