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Great Sauce the only change I made was to use half and half instead of milk. I have made this several times and everyone loves it.
Made this tonight for my family. Everyone LOVED it. Made exactly as listed and tastes just like any good restaurants I have had!!
Thank you, Elise!!! I can’t get enough of this Bolognese, and wish I could give it more stars! I literally have cravings for it. I’ve made it about once a month since I discovered it, and I’ve played around with it quite a bit, just depending on what I have on hand, and trying it with different meats. It’s delicious as-is, but everyone deserves to eat this delicious sauce, so here are some tips that might help tweak it to your preferences!-It is time consuming. Make a double batch! Why spend 3 hours on two different occasions, when you can do it once and freeze half? To do this, just use a dutch oven or stock pot.-Whole Foods was out of pancetta the first time I made this, so I omitted. However, it’s so flavorful that I never felt the need to put it in any other time I’ve made it.-I’m not a huge carrot-as-an-ingredient fan, so I’ve made it with and without. Great either way! My go-to is just the onion and celery.-I’ve used the 3 meats Elise calls for. I’ve also just used beef and pork (the same meats I use for meatballs), but currently I have a double-batch of Bolognese on the stove with 2lbs of ground turkey. I feel like I’m being health(ier) whenever I make it with ground turkey, and it’s just as amazing as using the other meats!!-I haven’t made it with just the ground cinnamon and cloves, because I was looking for a bolognese recipe with nutmeg from the start. I’ve used all 3 every time! I pre-mix them with the pepper so they all distribute evenly when I throw them in.-I’ve only used canned whole and peeled tomatoes, and because of this recipe, always have a few cans on-hand. The first few times, I broke up the tomatoes, as directed, but find it hard when I’m making a double recipe, since the tomatoes sink to where I can’t see them. Also, I hate getting a bite that has the root(?) of a tomato. To prevent this, I drain the liquid from the can into the pot. Then, I take the whole tomatoes, put them into a shallow bowl, cut the ends off and discard, then chop the tomatoes up with just a flat-bottomed wooden spoon, and throw them into the sauce. Don’t do this on a cutting board! You’ll lose all of the juice from the tomatoes. It’s extra work, but is worth it.-Due to a weird curdling incident once, I’ve always been weary of adding milk to any recipe. Any time I add a dairy product to a soup or sauce, I temper it first. To do this, make sure the sauce is simmering on low for a couple minutes first. For the Bolognese, I use what I’ve got on hand (which is never whole milk, but usually a combination of 1% or 2% and light cream or heavy cream), and put it into a bowl. I then add some of the warm sauce into the milk, stirring the whole time. Then I dump it into the sauce while stirring. I allow the sauce to simmer on low from here on out, but after just adding the milk, I stir every couple of minutes until it slowly warms up to the rest of the sauce. It’s an easy step that could prevent you from wasting a lot of ingredients and time!-Don’t skimp on time!! Cook it for the entire time Elise instructs. Bolognese gets its flavor from simmering for a while.-I saw a review that said the sauce was thinner than they wanted. Next time, just throw a little flour in (maybe 2 tablespoons for a single recipe, 1/4 cup for double), after the vegetables have sauteed, and cook it, stirring constantly, until it turns to a pale tan. It will thicken the entire sauce without having to make a roux.
This was my first time making a Bolognese sauce. The flavor was good but I was expecting the sauce to be thicker and cling to the pasta. I’m wondering if I didn’t cook at a high enough temperature. Any suggestions?
Hi Lisa, perhaps you just needed to simmer it longer to let it reduce and get thicker.
Yummy! Loved the seasonings, and served it on fried polenta.
Hi, just a quick thing, the reason for the milk I would suggest comes from the days when most meat, cheap cuts etc were cooked in milk to tenderize them. With it being an old family recipe I would think that would be the most likely answer.
Making Bolognese is a labor of love but worth every minute!
I follow Marcella Hazan’s recipe but make a quadruple batch because hers takes about six hours start to finish! I use two Dutch ovens and combine them after they have reduced. She has very succinct reasons about the procedure that I find makes sense and works well for me.
When browning the ground beef, pork/ sausage and or veal, she wants you to salt it well to extract the juices to benefit the flavor of the sauce. You slowly evaporate the water in the milk completely so it coats the meat well. That protects the sweetness of the meat from the addition of a dry white wine’s acidity that you that you evaporate the water from completely before adding the tomatoes. Then you put on the slowest bubble simmer for five hours… Heaven on Earth!!!
Some of the people posting here will take this as blasphemy but I took this recipe added some garlic and smoked paprika and topped with grated smoked gouda and it was _wonderful_.
Garlic is almost never an ingredient in Italian soffritto (usually just: carrot, onion, and celery). Southern Italian recipes use more garlic than northern, but even those don’t even use half as much garlic as Italian-American cooking does. In any case, the “official” ragu’ alla bolognese recipe registered with the city of Bologna by the Accademia Italiana della Cucina does not contain any garlic, and the only spices it uses are salt and pepper. I personally always add a little freshly-grated nutmeg to any ragu’ I make — it goes very well with meat sauces.
In Italy they don’t use half as much garlic as we do here in the states…We’ve Americanized a lot of great Italian dishes, by over-doing the garlic, adding tons of Mozzarella cheese to everything. You will find that the truly authentic Italian dishes are not at all what we find in the Italian-American restaurants here at home.With garlic, less is more, and I don’t believe it belongs in a bolognese sauce.If you happen to check out the Lasagna Bolognese recipe on this website, you will see that it is not laden with Mozzarella, nor with ricotta, and it is the best lasagna I have ever had in my life!
I am looking for a good bolognese recipe and this looks great, but I have a question… why no garlic? I noticed that Marcella Hazan’s recipe doesn’t have garlic either.. I thought that garlic was a must with Italian cooking.
Not true! Most Americans think that, but when we were in Italy last month we took a cooking class and learned that Italian food that is truly authentic doesn’t use nearly as much garlic as we think. We actually made bolognese sauce in the class and it was a big joke (to the chef) about how we Americans like to slather no much garlic on food thinking that it is “Italian”. Having said that…I do like my garlic and I will continue to use it as I see fit…I just know now that it is not ‘authentic’ Italian, lol!
I like the above, and is similar to what I’ve been doing for years.
Two potential changes: That recipe needs at least a half cup of chicken livers… cook them in the sauce and then mash them against the sides of the pan to disappear. Second point – keep some rich brown beef stock handy instead of water… or veal stock is also a good choice for a velvety finish.
Elise, I made this last night to serve with farfalle pasta. I have been searching for the perfect Bolognese recipe for nearly a year and THIS IS IT! It was DELICIOUS! I hope you will consider posting just the sauce recipe by itself under ‘pasta’. I made it as-is EXCEPT I used ground cloves and cinnamon, plus I added garlic with the onions (can’t make anything without garlic) and instead of using 1/4 cup water to thin the sauce, I used 1/4 cup red wine. It was WONDERFUL! Thanks for ANOTHER great recipe! :)
Is it necessary to use the clove and cinnamon? I have used things like these and all spice in the past and was not a huge fan of the flavor. I want an authentic bolognese though so should I add them?
I think you should do whatever you want. You might want to try it out with smaller quantities of those spices. ~Elise
Just a question, what’s the milk for? sort of like using cream, only not so rich?
Note from Elise: yes, the sauce is definitely rich enough without using cream.