Weeknight Pasta Bolognese

Weeknight Pasta Bolognese
3.7 from 3 ratings
Ragu bolognese is one of the most famous — and one of the most controversial — sauces around. I'm not here to claim authenticity. Instead, I offer a recipe inspired by tradition but with an eye toward busy weeknights. There's no simmering for hours here. Instead, storebought tomato sauce is doctored up to create a luscious, satisfying finished dish that is bursting with flavor but ready in just 25 minutes. 
Prep Time
Cook Time
Weeknight pasta bolognese sauce recipe
Total time: 25 minutes
  • salt, to taste
  • 1 pound pasta of your choice
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion (1/2 medium onion)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound ground beef, preferably lean
  • 1 (24-ounce) jar tomato sauce
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan, plus more for serving
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • chopped fresh basil, for garnish (optional)
  1. Bring a pot of generously salted water to a boil — don't use too much water; it should be enough so that when you add the pasta it's covered by two inches or so of water. Cook the pasta according to package directions, removing when it's al dente. Reserve 1 cup or so of pasta water then drain the pasta and set aside.
  2. In a large skillet over medium-low heat, add 2 tablespoons olive oil and heat until a piece of chopped onion sizzles when you put it in.
  3. Add 1 cup chopped onion to the hot oil and cook, stirring frequently, until softened, about 3 minutes. If it starts to burn lower the heat.
  4. Add 3 cloves minced garlic and cook for about a minute, stirring often.
  5. Add 1 pound ground beef and cook, breaking up with a wooden spoon, until crumbled and browned, about 5 minutes.
  6. Pour in the sauce, then pour 1/2 cup or so of the reserved pasta water into the jar (use your judgement depending on how thick the sauce is); cover, shake, and pour into skillet. Add 1/4 cup wine and 1/4 cup Parm, stir to combine and simmer for at least 5 minutes or more if you have time. If it's too thick, add a drizzle of pasta water. If it's too thin, let it simmer a bit more so some of the liquid cooks off.
  7. Pour in 1/4 cup cream and stir to combine. Taste and season with salt to taste if necessary.
  8. Add the cooked pasta to the sauce and mix until the sauce thoroughly coats the pasta. Remove from the heat and serve with extra grated Parmesan and chopped fresh basil, if you like.