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The Ultimate Bolognese Sauce

The Ultimate Bolognese Sauce

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This makes enough sauce for three 12-oz. Learn more here.



  • 1½ teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
  • ¼ teaspoon black peppercorns, plus more freshly ground
  • 3 ounces chicken livers, rinsed, finely chopped
  • 1½ teaspoons kosher salt, plus more
  • ½ large onion, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup Mama Lil’s Pickled Kick Butt Peppers in Oil or Peppadew peppers
  • 5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 14-ounce can whole tomatoes
  • 1¼ pounds ground beef chuck (20% fat)
  • 1 pound pork shoulder (Boston butt), ground
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar


  • 4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 ounces Parmesan, finely grated (about ¾ cup)

Special Equipment

  • A spice mill or a mortar and pestle

Recipe Preparation


  • Toast bay leaves, cloves, fennel seeds, red pepper flakes, and whole peppercorns in a dry small skillet over medium heat, tossing often, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Let cool; transfer to a spice mill (or mortar and pestle) and finely grind.

  • Preheat oven to 250°. Heat oil in a medium ovenproof pot over medium-high. Add livers and stir to coat; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until livers are deeply browned (they will look almost burned), 5–8 minutes.

  • Add onion, thyme, and Mama Lil's peppers; stir to coat. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper and cook, stirring as needed, until onion is golden brown and soft, 5–8 minutes. Add garlic (adding garlic after onion has been going for a while will keep it from burning) and stir to coat. Cook, stirring often, until garlic is soft, about 2 minutes. Stir in spice mixture and 1½ tsp. salt (this will toast the spices one more time, deepening their flavor).

  • Add tomatoes and wine, stirring and scraping up any browned bits. Mix in beef and pork (mixture will be fairly stiff, but will soften and loosen as it cooks). Add milk and mix well; everything should be evenly coated. Cover pot and braise in oven 6–8 hours. (Resist the urge to check on it. It's fine! We promise!)

  • Remove pan from oven. As the sauce cooks, it will firm up (looking somewhat like meatloaf); stir sauce to loosen. Pluck out thyme and, using an immersion blender, puree sauce until mostly smooth. Add vinegar; taste and season with more salt and pepper as needed.


  • Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until al dente. Drain, reserving 1½ cups pasta cooking liquid. Toss pasta and butter in a very large skillet set over medium heat. Ladle in 1½–2 cups sauce—enough to coat pasta well—and cook, adding pasta cooking liquid as needed, until sauce is thick and glossy; season with salt and pepper. Serve topped with Parmesan.

  • Do Ahead: Sauce can be made 5 days ahead. Let cool; cover and chill, or freeze up to 1 month.

Recipe by Mike Easton, Il Corvo, Seattle,Photos by Michael Graydon Nikole Herriott

Nutritional Content

Per 12 servings: Calories (kcal) 390 Fat (g) 20 Saturated Fat (g) 9 Cholesterol (mg) 110 Carbohydrates (g) 27 Dietary Fiber (g) 2 Total Sugars (g) 4 Protein (g) 23 Sodium (mg) 500Reviews SectionI have not made this recipe yet but I have eaten it at Mike Easton's restaurant Il Corvo, and it was the best Bolognese that I've ever had. I immediately went looking for the recipe and found that he had very generously shared it. So I haven't made this yet, but I can vouch for the results- It is the deepest, richest and most savory Bolognese ever.This was incredible. Mr. Dog Food, better get going, your friends at McDonald's are waiting for you.AnonymousWoodbridge, VA08/22/18Not a review, but a question. Does the beef and pork mixture get braised before going into the sauce?Did a quick version of this and it was aweseome!Just a warning to all non-US chefs out there, that's 250° Fahrenheit (120°C). If you put it on 250°C for 6-8 hours there won't be any sauce (and perhaps no kitchen) left. Especially if you resist the urge to check on it.I couldn't even eat this. I smelled like dog food & looked like it too.

Ultimate Vegan Bolognese Sauce

When my husband is craving something hearty and delicious, he’s more likely to request a pasta bolognese than to seek out a savory stew.

Now, it’s not always easy to create plant-based versions of his favorite foods.

After careful deliberation and testing, I’m happy to present my best-ever vegan bolognese sauce. By the way, this is also the best ever vegetarian bolognese recipe.

This bolognese vegan sauce is thick, savory, and just the tiniest bit sweet.

The texture is crumbly and silky, just as it should be.

This recipe not only makes a great pasta sauce, it also makes this delicious Vegan Lasagna.

What pasta goes best with Bolognese sauce?

Italians are serious about pairing sauces with the correct pasta shape and Bolognese Sauce is traditionally tossed with flat, broad pasta shapes like tagliatelle, fettuccine, or (my favorite) pappardelle. The rich sauce clings to the wide surface area making every bite sing with flavor! And if you'd like to make homemade pasta, this food processor pasta dough is quick and easy.


Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and preheat oven to 300°F (150°C). Place stock in a medium bowl or 1-quart liquid measure and sprinkle with gelatin. Set aside. Purée tomatoes in the can using an immersion blender or transfer to the bowl of a countertop blender and purée until smooth. Transfer chicken livers to a cup that just fits head of immersion blender and purée until smooth.

Heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven over high heat until shimmering. Add ground beef, pork, and lamb season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring and breaking up with a wooden spoon or potato masher, until no longer pink, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in puréed chicken livers.

Meanwhile, heat butter and pancetta in a large skillet over medium-high heat and cook, stirring frequently, until fat has mostly rendered but butter and pancetta have not yet started to brown, about 8 minutes. Add onion, carrots, celery, garlic, sage, and half of parsley and cook, stirring and tossing, until vegetables are completely softened but not browned, about 8 minutes. Transfer mixture to Dutch oven with meat mixture.

Return Dutch oven to high heat and cook, stirring, until most of the liquid has evaporated from the pan, about 10 minutes longer.

Add wine and cook, stirring, until mostly evaporated. Add reserved stock, tomatoes, milk, and bay leaves. Season gently with salt and pepper.

Bring sauce to a simmer, then transfer to oven, uncovered. Cook, stirring and scraping down sides of pot occasionally, until liquid has almost completely reduced and sauce is rich and thick underneath a heavy layer of fat, 3 to 4 hours. If sauce still looks liquid or fat has not separated and formed a thick layer after 4 hours, transfer to stovetop and finish cooking at a brisk simmer, stirring frequently.

Carefully skim off most of the fat, leaving behind about 1 cup total. (For more precise measurement, skim completely, then add back 1 cup of fat.)

Stir in heavy cream, Parmesan, fish sauce, and remaining parsley. Bring to a boil on stovetop, stirring constantly to emulsify. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Bolognese can be cooled and stored in sealed containers in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

To Serve: Heat sauce in a large pot until just simmering. Set aside. Cook pasta in a large pot of well-salted water until just barely al dente. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup cooking liquid. Return pasta to pot and add just enough sauce to coat, along with some of the cooking liquid. Cook over high heat, tossing and stirring gently, until sauce is thick and pasta is coated, about 30 seconds. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve immediately, passing Parmesan at the table.

The Ultimate Bolognese Sauce - Recipes

It still feels like winter here in Michigan! I'm doing a lot of sewing and cooking wintry dishes like this one, until some nice weather arrives. We do get to sneak out to Seattle, where one of our sons lives, where the weather is much nicer than here. And the food is so, so good!

There is a wildly popular tiny Italian restaurant in Seattle's Pioneer Square area that has a line out the door every day. It serves lunch only, Monday through Friday. It's Mike Easton's Il Corvo and it serves some of the best pasta in the city.

Il Corvo has just three pasta dishes every day that they offer - all made in house to Mike Easton's impeccable standards. The menu changes every day. The food is reasonably priced and outstanding, which explains the line out the door. They offer some vegetable sides and decent wines by the glass. It makes for a very, very good lunch that is worth the wait.

Very soon, people will be able to buy Easton's pastas to take home with them at his new Il Corvo Pasta Studio, which is supposed to open this summer, 2016.

This is Chef Easton's recipe for his Bolognese sauce. He believes in taking the time to get a recipe right. This is not your ordinary bolognese sauce - this recipe starts with toasted spices and the sauce is cooked very low for several hours and then pureed. Yes, pureed - and that is a great idea for a meat sauce. It makes the sauce cling to the pasta very nicely. This is done easily with an immersion blender put right in the pot. If you don't have one, you can use a regular blender, but a stick blender makes the job so much easier.

The bolognese sauce is not the most beautiful sauce after it's pureed, but it sure is tasty!

Il Corvo Ultimate Bolognese Sauce

spice mix:
2 bay leaves
3 whole cloves
2 teaspoons fennel seeds
1½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
¼ teaspoon black peppercorns

1 Tablespoon olive oil
3 ounces chicken livers, rinsed, finely chopped
1½ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more
Freshly ground pepper
½ large onion, finely chopped
½ small bunch thyme
¼ cup Mama Lil's Kick Butt Peppers in Oil or Peppadew peppers
5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 14-oz. can whole peeled tomatoes
½ cup red wine
1¼ lb. ground beef chuck (20% fat)
1 pound pork shoulder (Boston Butt), ground
1½ cups whole milk
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

pasta and assembly:
12 ounces pappardelle pasta
4 Tablespoons butter
3 ounces Parmesan, finely grated (about ¾ cup)

the sauce before and after blending

Prepare the spices: Toast the spices in a dry small skillet over medium heat, tossing often, until fragrant, about 2 minutes (this releases their flavor). Let cool, then finely grind in a spice mill (or use a mortar and pestle).

Make sauce: Preheat oven to 250°. Heat oil in a medium ovenproof pot over medium-high. Add livers and stir to coat. Season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until livers are deeply browned - almost burned, really - 5-8 minutes.

Add onion, thyme, and peppers, stir to coat. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring as needed, until onion is brown and soft, 5-8 minutes more. Stir in garlic and cook until soft, about 2 minutes. Stir in spice mixture and 1½ teaspoons salt.

Add tomatoes, then wine, stirring and scraping up any bits stuck to the bottom of the pot. Add meat and stir to combine (the mixture will be fairly stiff but will loosen as it cooks). Add milk and mix well - everything should be evenly coated.

Cover pot with a lid and transfer to oven bake for 6 hours.

Remove pot from oven. The sauce will have firmed up, stir to loosen. Pluck out thyme and, using an immersion blender, puree sauce until smooth. Add vinegar and season with salt and pepper.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta just until barely tender. Do not overcook. Reserve the pasta water (at least a cup and a half).

To serve the sauce, toss pasta and butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Ladle in bolognese and toss until pasta is well coated (about 2 cups). Toss and add pasta cooking liquid as needed to create a glossy sauce that coats the noodles. Toss with Parmesan and serve.

I cannot tell you how many times this Bolognese Sauce has saved my butt!

Usually, I double the recipe and save 2 or 3 portions in the freezer. It is a great sauce to make ahead of time and save for the future.

You can prepare so many dishes with this sauce. Toss with pasta (the obvious way), make Pasticho, fill cannelloni, stuff vegetables like eggplants, peppers, or zucchinis, Shepherd’s Pie, papas rellenas… I’ve even used it to make empanadas!

There are several forms and versions of preparing this sauce. Some people add pancetta or bacon others do a combination of beef and pork meat. I once tried a recipe from an Italian lady, where she added chicken liver… It was very good.

But through the years I’ve created my own version adapted to my family’s taste. Of course, I do not waste the opportunity to add as many vegetables as possible, sometimes very tiny chopped mushrooms or zucchini … the children do not even notice them!

How to make Bolognese in the Instant Pot

  1. Cook the soffritto in the olive oil, along with the anchovies over medium heat.
  2. When the soffritto is soft, but not browned, add 1/2 cup wine and cook down until almost evaporated. Stir in 1.5 cups of chicken stock and 1 cup of milk.
  3. Add the tomato paste, and bay leaf. Stir in the meats.
  4. Put the lid on, set the pressure to high and cook time to 30 minutes. Quick release the pressure when cooking time is completed.
  5. Give the sauce a stir, then add the grated parmigiano.
  6. Taste and adjust with salt as needed and enjoy with pasta.

Ultimate Bolognese

Yield: Enough sauce for 2 lbs pasta

Prep Time: 1 hour

Cook Time: 4 hours

Total Time: 5 hours


  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 1/2 lb ground veal
  • 5 oz. 1/4" thick pancetta, finely chopped
  • 2 small yellow onions, roughly chopped
  • 2 large carrots, roughly chopped
  • 3 large stalks celery, roughly chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup tomato paste
  • 1 cup red wine (a good one you'd drink with dinner)
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 tbsp fennel seeds
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream (or more, if desired), room temp
  • Salt and black pepper
  • Olive oil


  1. Place your onions, carrots, celery and garlic into the food processor and process until it's a coarse paste (if you don't have a food processor, you could just chop everything into a very small dice)
  2. Coat the bottom of a large pan with olive oil and add in your pureed veggies and season with salt and pepper - saute on medium high heat for 15-20 minutes you want the liquid to totally evaporate
  3. Add in the diced pancetta and cook until it is browned 5-10 minutes
  4. Next, add the ground beef and cook for 5 minutes before adding in the ground veal season the meat liberally with salt and pepper and cook all of the meat for about 15 minutes or until it is sufficiently browned and even starting to caramelize - just be careful you don't burn it
  5. Now add in the tomato paste mix it in well with the meat and veggies - cook for 5 minutes
  6. Pour in the wine and let it cook for 2-3 minutes, deglaze the pan (scrape up any browned bits that may have stuck to the bottom of the pan)
  7. Add in the beef broth, water and milk and 2 tsp salt, pepper to your taste and the fennel seeds - bring the pot to a boil and then reduce the heat to as low as possible and cover half the pot with the lid
  8. Now, is the painful part. Let the sauce simmer on low for 4 hours - stirring every 20 minutes. If you feel like the sauce is getting too dry or sticking to the bottom of the pan, lower the heat if it's not as low as possible and add in 1/2 cup water or beef broth at a time - but remember this sauce is going to be very meaty and not so "saucy" so the consistency should be meat and oil based and thick like oatmeal
  9. Seasoning is key - as the sauce simmers be sure to taste it and add more salt or pepper if necessary when you're ready to serve add in the heavy cream and stir well
  10. Boil your pasta (we like to use Rigatoni with this, but a wide noodle like Pappardelle will work, too) and then ladle the sauce over the pasta until it's coated to your desire - I use about 1/2 this recipe for 1 lb of pasta) once you've combined the sauce with your cooked pasta add about 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan into the pasta and toss to combine - enjoy!

To freeze the remaining sauce, just allow it to fully cool and then place it in an airtight container and freeze for up to 2 months.

Bolognese Sauce Recipe

How do you make bolognese sauce better? This is a common question from everyone who loves bolognese sauce and wonder how to make it more of an enjoyable delicacy and we have the answer to that in this fast track recipe below.

Bolognese is a type of spaghetti meat sauce you can’t help but love and we have created a recipe that is quite different from the usual bolognese sauce but you are sure going to find tastier.

Bolognese sauce is much more than just a meat sauce, it serves as the go-to for many families and if you are looking for a way to avoid the traditional bolognese then the Italian is the way to go, this is quite different from the usual American sauce which is often just tomato-based sauce simmered with ground beef however bolognese is thicker creamier and it’s not just based on tomato sauce alone.

The ultimate way to transform a ground beef into something hearty and show-stopping are with a bolognese sauce however making this delicious sauce can take forever but the effort and time are definitely worth it, it has been made with ingredients that are healthy and in fact, serving your bolognese sauce with pasta happens to make it healthy and you can have it frozen to be enjoyed on nights when you are scarce on time and very hungry.

How to Make Bolognese Sauce

Six simple steps, and one of them is “eat!”. Weeknight Bolognese, here we come!

  1. Sauté the carrots, celery and onion.
  2. Stir in the pork and beef.
  3. Pour in your jar of marinara sauce.
  4. Simmer! Over the course of just 30 minutes, the sauce will thicken and cook down, and your whole kitchen will smell incredibly good.
  5. When the sauce has reached your desired thickness, stir in the heavy cream.
  6. Boil some water for pasta during the last 30 minutes of that simmer, so that you've got perfectly al dente pasta ready to go when the Bolognese is done.
  7. Mangia!