Quick Pasta Bolognese Sauce

SauceItalianGround BeefPasta and Noodles

Quick and EASY Bolognese Meat Sauce for pasta dishes! Cooks up in a third the time of traditional Pasta Bolognese sauce.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

What is Bolognese?

A traditional Bolognese sauce requires hours of simmering and careful attention.

But sometimes we don’t have hours and we just want a sauce that’s maybe not as spectacular as it could be, but still quite good enough.

This simplified Bolognese sauce takes about an hour to make, instead of several, but still delivers on wonderful flavor!

Quick Bolognese Sauce on Pasta

Instead of starting the sauce with pancetta, which would be traditional, we use butter, which melts quickly and provides plenty of flavor.

A key ingredient in the sauce is milk, whole milk. It’s standard for a Bolognese sauce and important for the flavor and creaminess of the sauce.

Quick Pasta Bolognese Sauce Recipe

  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4-6


  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 1/4 (570g) pounds ground chuck
  • 1/2 cup (60g) finely chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup (60g) finely chopped celery
  • 1/2 cup (60g) finely chopped carrot
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup (118ml) full bodied red wine (optional)
  • 1 cup (236ml) whole milk (or low fat milk with a tablespoon of cream)
  • 1 cup (236ml) crushed tomatoes
  • Salt and pepper to taste


1 Make the soffritto base with onions, celery, and carrots, add tomato paste: Heat butter in a large sauté pan on medium high. Add the finely chopped onion, celery, and carrots. Sprinkle a little salt over everything. Cook, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 5 minutes.

Add the tomato paste and stir to combine, cook for another minute or so.

2 Add the ground beef: Add the ground beef to the onions, celery, and carrots, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon as you add it to the pan. Again, sprinkle a little salt over everything.

Cook, stirring occasionally, until cooked through, about 15 minutes.

3 Deglaze the pan with wine: Stir in the wine (if using), scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Let this boil down by half.

4 Stir in tomatoes, milk, then simmer: Stir in the tomatoes. Slowly stir in the milk. Increase the heat to bring the mixture to a simmer, then lower the heat to maintain a low simmer.

Simmer uncovered about 20 minutes. Add a little water if the sauce ever begins to dry out. Add salt and pepper to taste.

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Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

More from Elise

16 Comments / Reviews

No ImageQuick Pasta Bolognese Sauce

Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Ana*Maria

    This was excellent! I can’t wait to make it again. I love the flavor the soffrito and butter impart. Don’t fear the fat! I was a little scared it would be to greasy, but it coated the pasta quite nicely. Also, I misread the amount of ground meat as 1 pound so the sauce was a little watery at first, but I just let it simmer a little longer to tighten up.


    Show Replies (1)
  2. Virginia

    I’ve made it, but, unfortunately don’t like the milk in it. Second time I made it without the milk and loved it. It’s only because I hate milk. It’s not the recipe.

  3. Janice

    Receip sounds good. Do you half the quantities for 2 people of will it freeze? Janice

    Show Replies (1)
  4. Kara

    Love it! My modifications based on what I had were garlic butter, and kefir instead of whole milk – super tasty!!!


  5. Janna

    We made it with ground turkey as that’s what we had on hand, DELICIOUS!

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