Simple Bolognese Sauce Recipe

When we think of comfort food, we often think of many classic recipes like chicken pot pie, meatloaf, or mac and cheese, but there's nothing quite as comforting as a bowl of homemade pasta bolognese. There's something about the meaty, tomato-y sauce that pairs oh so well with a bowl of noodles, making it as comforting of a dish as it is filling.

Recipe developer, Kristen Carli, MS, RD, brings us this recipe for bolognese sauce and says, "Growing up in an Italian American home, the idea of a Sunday Sauce was always prevalent. I love simmering this bolognese sauce on the stovetop on a Sunday afternoon. It gets everyone in the house eager for dinner and that smell just reminds me of home". Carli also notes that she typically serves the bolognese sauce with pasta, naturally, along with a fresh salad or roasted vegetables. A caesar salad is always a crowd pleaser, but sautéed asparagus is also a refreshing option.

Gather your ingredients for bolognese sauce

To make this bolognese sauce, you can start by gathering your ingredients. For this recipe, you will need butter, carrots, celery, onion, garlic, salt, pepper, ground beef, canned whole tomatoes, and milk. For serving, you'll want some pasta of choice and Parmesan cheese.

Sauté the mirepoix ingredients

This recipe begins by sautéing the mirepoix ingredients. Add the butter to a large Dutch oven. Once the butter has melted, add in the carrots, celery, onion, garlic, salt, and pepper. Stir these ingredients well before allowing them to sauté until the onion is translucent, which should take about 10 minutes.

Brown the ground beef

Next up, add in the ground beef. Use a wooden spoon to break up the meat. Then, stir and allow to cook until the beef is browned, which takes about 8 minutes. "A traditional bolognese will often include a variety of meats such as chuck beef, pork, and Italian sausage," Carli explains, "but using simple ground beef makes this recipe much more attainable for the homecook."

Add the tomatoes and milk

Next, add in the two cans of whole peeled tomatoes and their juices as well as the whole milk. Using the back of a wooden spoon, mash the tomatoes until they are burst and broken. Bring this mixture to a boil. Then, lower to a simmer and continue to cook, undisturbed, for 1 hour.

In the meantime, cook up your pasta according to package directions, drain, and set aside. Then, when ready to plate, scoop up several spoonfuls of bolognese sauce over cooked noodles, before topping with grated Parmesan cheese.

Simple Bolognese Sauce Recipe
5 from 41 ratings
This simple bolognese sauce makes the perfect meaty addition to your favorite pasta.
Prep Time
Cook Time
bolognese over pasta
Total time: 1 hour, 23 minutes
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 large carrots, finely diced
  • 4 sticks of celery, finely diced
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 2 (28-ounce) cans whole tomatoes
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 pound pasta
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese, for topping
  1. Place a large Dutch oven on the stovetop over medium heat and add the butter. Once melted, add the carrots, celery, onion, minced garlic, salt, and pepper. Continue to sauté the vegetables until softened and the onion is translucent, about 10 minutes.
  2. Add in the ground beef, breaking it up with a wooden spoon. Cook until no longer pink, about 8 minutes.
  3. Add in the tomatoes and milk. Bring to a boil then lower to a simmer. Simmer for 1 hour, stirring and breaking up the tomatoes with a wooden spoon.
  4. When ready to serve, boil a large pot of water and cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
  5. Scoop a portion of pasta into a serving plate. Top with several scoops of bolognese, then garnish with Parmesan.
Calories per Serving 972
Total Fat 38.6 g
Saturated Fat 17.0 g
Trans Fat 1.3 g
Cholesterol 115.8 mg
Total Carbohydrates 113.1 g
Dietary Fiber 14.5 g
Total Sugars 21.5 g
Sodium 1,631.3 mg
Protein 44.1 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
Rate this recipe