An Authentic Italian Bolognese Sauce Recipe You Will Love

This authentic Italian Bolognese sauce recipe is more than just a simple meat sauce. You can use it in a variety of traditional dishes that you will love.

Authentic Italian Bolognese Sauce Recipe - The Bite Shot

Yummy Ragù Bolognese

Why This Authentic Italian Bolognese Sauce Recipe Is For You

The authenticity of this recipe for Bolognese sauce is what makes it great. While growing up in the United States, the Bolognese sauce that was served in Italian restaurants was consistently made with tomato sauce and ground beef. I believed that the proper sauce was a typical red sauce with hamburger meat thrown in and the recipes in cookbooks (before the internet) for making it at home were similar.

Then, one afternoon, my eyes were opened by the classic cookbook, Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking, by the great Marcella Hazan. Her recipe used very little tomato sauce and even included milk, which surprised me a great deal. This recipe isn’t hers, but it is similar and just as fantastic.

Kitchen Tools And Cookware

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Santoku Knife

The Santoku style knife is my favorite when I’m cooking and Victorinox makes a great one!

Pasta MakerGnocchi BoardPasta BoardRavioli Maker
Ravioli Press/StamperRicerBialetti Pasta PotBamboo Cutting Board Set of 3
Silpat Baking MatSantoku KnifeMeasuring Cups and SpoonsStainless Mixing Bowls
Dutch OvenMesh StrainersStainless ColanderStainless Steel Fry Pan

Bolognese Recipe History

The history of this sauce begins in the 12th century in France, where the term ragoût was defined as meat and vegetable stews cooked slow and low (i.e. low flame and a long time).

Authentic Italian Bolognese Sauce Recipe - Soffritto

Traditional Base – Soffritto

Bolognese sauce comes to Italy as a result of two important historical events: the Avignon Papacy from 1309 to 1376 and the arrival of the Angevins in Naples. At this point, the history of ragù in Italy is divided into two parallel paths, one leading to Naples, the other heading up north to the Papal States.

Ragù alla Bolognese from Emilia Romagna is very different from ragù from Naples, although both are amazing. The Bolognese recipe is more meat centered and less tomato focused like the sauce from Naples. They both, however, take advantage of the slow cooking method that can make any cut of meat delicious.

Questions About The Authentic Italian Bolognese Sauce Recipe

What Is Bolognese Sauce Made Of?

This is a pretty simple sauce which takes a couple hours to cook. The ingredients are ground beef or veal, Prosciutto, milk, wine and other seasonings. There is very little tomato sauce with only a tablespoon of tomato concentrate (tomato paste) for flavor. It is cooked for a long time, which makes the meat tender and renders out any fat adding to the flavor.

Authentic Italian Bolognese Sauce Recipe - MIrepoix

Soffritto (or mirepoix)

What To Serve With Bolognese Sauce

Once the sauce is finished, there are some great ways to enjoy it. One of the most traditional ways to serve this is Tagliatelle al Ragù. The Bolognese sauce is added to Tagliatelle pasta, which is a traditional flat egg pasta from the same Emilia Romagna region as the sauce, similar to Fettuccine.

Another popular way to serve Ragù alla Bolognese is to use it in the creation of Lasagne. It is layered with the pasta and bechamel sauce and baked until golden on top. To make this more traditional, you should try making the Lasagne with spinach pasta instead of the traditional version.

Mixing Bowls

Only recently have a realized how great mixing bowls with lids are and these stainless steel beauties are amazing!

This might be a little more Italian-American, but Spaghetti with Meat Sauce is a simple dish, once you have the Ragù already prepared. Top it with a little Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and you have a quick, but satisfying meal that can quickly be made during the week.

If you would like a free copy of this recipe in PDF format, please sign up for access to our Recipe Box which contains a growing list of amazing Italian recipes discussed on this blog, including this delicious recipe.

Measuring Cups and Spoons

Don’t buy cheap plastic cups and spoons because this stainless steel set will last a really long time!

How Can You Use A Glass For Measurement?

When I first read an Italian cookbook that used a glass (bicchiere) as a unit of measurement, I was a little confused. While it is generally agreed that a glass, when used in cooking, is approximately 8 ounces (250 ml), what I found interesting was where this came from. I was told by an Italian teacher a number of years ago that glass jars of Nutella, a favorite in Italy, were reused as drinking glasses when they were empty. These Nutella jars/glasses are a little smaller at 6.5 ounces (200 ml), but I love how this story combines a ubiquitous love of Nutella, the thriftiness of reusing the glasses with it being so commonplace that it can be used to measure your ingredients.

Authentic Italian Bolognese Sauce Recipe - Complete

Bolognese Sauce Is Not Tomato Sauce

Authentic Italian Bolognese Sauce Recipe

  • Difficulty: Medium
  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook: 2 Hours, 20 mins
  • Servings: 4


  • 10 Ounces (300 grams) of Ground Beef (or Veal)
  • 3.5 Ounces (100 grams) of Prosciutto
  • 1/2  Glass (4 oz) of Red Wine
  • 1 Glass (8 oz) of milk
  • 1 Tbsp of Tomato Paste
  • 1 Large Onion
  • 1 Large Carrot
  • 1 Stalk of Celery
  • Chicken broth (or water and stock cube)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Authentic Italian Bolognese Sauce Recipe Cooking Instructions

Authentic Italian Bolognese Sauce Recipe - Plate

Bolognese Sauce

  1. Dice up the carrots, onions and celery making a soffritto, which is similar to sofrito in Spanish cooking and a mirepoix in French cooking.

  2. Dice up the Prosciutto into small cubes.

  3. Bring to a boil the chicken broth (or water with a bullion cube).

  4. In a sauté pan, add a tablespoon of oil and heat the pan to medium-high.

  5. Add the pancetta to the sauté pan.

  6. Cook for a few minutes, remove and set aside.

  7. Heat another pan to medium-high, add oil and add the onions and sauté until clear.

  8. Now add the celery and the carrots.

  9. When the soffritto is soft, add the ground beef.

  10. Sauté on medium-high heat until well browned.

  11. Add the pancetta and sauté for 5 more minutes.

  12. Add the half-glass of red wine to the pan and stir the mixture until the wine evaporates.

  13. Mix in the tomato concentrate.

  14. Add the chicken broth when the pan and mixture gets too dry.

  15. Let it cook for 1 hour, adding broth as it evaporates.

  16. Add the glass of milk and continue to mix until it evaporates.

  17. Continue to add another ladle of chicken broth when the pan is dry.

  18. Let it cook for another hour, adding broth as it cooks off.

  19. Now the sauce is ready to serve on your favorite pasta.

Authentic Italian Bolognese Sauce Recipe Serving Suggestions

Pasta Pot with Strainer

Perfect for cooking pasta, this pot can be used to cook a range of meals you will love!

I mentioned some of your serving options for this Bolognese Sauce above, including serving with Spaghetti, Tagliatelle or as part of a Lasagne. The truth is, almost any pasta would benefit from this sauce, so do be bound by what I’ve listed here. Try it on anything you have!

Authentic Italian Bolognese Sauce Recipe - Ragù

Ragù Bolognese with Cheese

Previous Recipes That Might Interest You

If you enjoyed this recipe for an Authentic Italian Bolognese Sauce Recipe, or if you want to start with something simpler, here are some of my previous recipes that you might want to try:

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