This authentic Bolognese Ragú, or sauce, is one of Italy’s most iconic recipes. Succulent, full of flavor, and comforting, bolognese ragú is the best sauce you can pair with pasta.

Want more Italian recipes? Try Panzanella, Chicken Cacciatore, or Classic Italian Risotto.

Bolognese Ragu over fresh egg pasta on a white plate, ready to enjoy.

Why Stef and Alex love this recipe:

  • Consistency: This bolognese sauce recipe melts in your mouth after each bite.
  • Flavor: A mixed-meat sauce creamy with the added tomato.
  • Versatility: It can be used for both dry pasta and lasagna.
  • Family and friends: This authentic bolognese sauce is a dish that everyone enjoys, adults and children alike, and is a recipe for holidays or Sunday lunch where, despite the relatively long preparation time, no one is in a hurry to leave.

How to Make Bolognese:

Chop Vegetables: Dice the onion, celery, carrots, and herbs. Make sure to cut the vegetables the same size so the cooking is even.

Diced onion, celery, carrots, and herbs on a plate.

Prepare Meat: Combine the ground beef and pork with the sausage. Mix them well with your hands. You need 2-3 different kinds of meat to heighten the flavor. I suggest using a mix of beef, pork meat, and sausage. Better if they are minced the same size. The fat from the sausage makes the sauce soft and very flavorful with all of the spices in it.

Ground beef and sausage being combined by hands in a white bowl for homemade bolognese.

Cook: In a saucepan, melt a little oil and butter over low heat. Sauté the vegetables and seasonings in the pot. Cook them until they are golden brown, be careful not to burn. Add meat, and with a wooden spoon, stir it to make sure it cooks evenly.

Finish Sauce: Deglaze the pan with white wine, adding it over high heat and letting it evaporate. Add tomato puree, then the milk, and finally the 30g of salt and freshly ground pepper. Milk is used to make the sauce smooth and homogeneous.

Two images showing milk being added to an Italian bolognese sauce, then the sauce simmering in a pot.

Simmer: Stir well and cook over a medium-low heat until it is reduced by half the volume. Usually, at least 3 hours is required so that it cooks slowly and the liquid part of the sauce concentrates almost by half. I recommend serving homemade bolognese sauce over fresh egg pasta because it has a rough surface, and the sauce clings better to it. Any other pasta is fine, but it’s best to avoid plain pasta. 2 or 3 tbsps of salt is enough to season an average serving of pasta (about 80-100gr).

A close up image showing easy bolognese ragu being twirled with a fork.

Variations

There is an original recipe for Bolognese ragù, but every Italian family considers their ragù “the original.”

  • Use tomato paste instead of tomato puree. 300ml of tomato sauce can be replaced with 50gr of tomato paste
  • Make a white meat sauce, which is the same preparation but without the tomato
  • Add chili pepper to make your recipe spicier
  • Omit onion and use leeks.

Storage and Freezing Instructions

To Store: Keep sauce in the fridge in an airtight container. To use it at it’s best, put it into a pan, add a few spoons of water from the cooked pasta, cover it with a lid, and cook over low heat. When done, pour the pasta directly into the pan with the best bolognese recipe and stir fry for a few minutes to combine well.

To Freeze: When the ragù is cold, put it into a 250ml container and store it in the freezer for 3 or 4 months.

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Recipe

Bolognese Ragu over fresh egg pasta on a white plate, ready to enjoy.
Prep 15 minutes
Cook 3 hours
15 minutes
Total 3 hours 30 minutes
Save Recipe

Ingredients
 
 

  • 3.5 oz fresh sausage (100g)
  • 7 oz lean ground beef (200g)
  • 7 oz ground pork (200g)
  • 12 oz tomato purée (300ml)
  • 1 onion , chopped
  • 2 medium carrots
  • 1 stalk celery
  • 1 bunch of herbs , (sage, rosemary, and 1 bay leaf)
  • ½ cup milk (100ml)
  • ½ cup white wine (100ml)
  • 2 tbsp butter (30g)
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt , to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper , or white pepper, to taste

Instructions
 

  • Prepare the vegetables: dice the onion, celery, and carrots
  • Chop the bunch of herbs and combine them with the vegetables. 
  • Prepare the meat: combine the ground beef and pork with the sausage, and with your hands, mix them well.
  • In a saucepan, add a little oil and butter and melt them over low heat.
  • Sauté the vegetables and seasonings in the pot. Cook them until they are golden brown.
  • Add the meat, and with a wooden spoon, stir it to make sure it cooks evenly.
  • Deglaze the pan with white wine: add the wine and over high heat, let it evaporate.
  • Add the tomato puree, then the milk, and finally the 30g of salt and freshly ground pepper.
  • Stir well and cook over a medium-low heat until it is reduced by half the volume. Usually, at least 3 hours is required.

Notes

Storage Instructions: Keep sauce in the fridge in an airtight container. To use it at it’s best, put it into a pan, add a few spoons of water from the cooked pasta, cover it with a lid, and cook over low heat. When done, pour the pasta directly into the pan with the ragù and stir fry for a few minutes to combine well.
Freezing Instructions: When the ragù is cold, put it into a 250ml container and store it in the freezer for 3 or 4 months.

Nutrition

Calories: 263kcalCarbohydrates: 7gProtein: 12gFat: 21gSaturated Fat: 7gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0.4gCholesterol: 53mgSodium: 600mgPotassium: 464mgFiber: 2gSugar: 4gVitamin A: 2927IUVitamin C: 7mgCalcium: 46mgIron: 2mg

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About The Author

Stef

Stefania is the blogger behind stefaniaskitchenette.com where she discusses Italian cuisine. She is a Spèos food photographer who loves clear and bright styles and pays attention to every detail.

Alex is a journalist, food critic, and recipe creator. Due to his kitchen experience in a Michelin-star restaurant, he now loves to share techniques and tips for home cooking.

Stefania and Alex are a couple in both work and life. They live in Italy with their little dog Amelia. Having fun in the kitchen is their motto!

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  1. As the Italian from Emilia Romagna, this is not how you make a Ragu completely wrong Americans improvise your American Italian bastardization of the purity of Italian cuisine. We are simplistically, elegant and chic and you over power and adding ingredients that don’t exist