Bolognese Sauce

Bolognese Sauce

This recipe first shows up in texts as early as the 1890s.  It gets its name because it originated in Bologna, Italy. Like any recipe, there are many variations.  It is often referred to as “ragu” which is a rich meat sauce and should never be confused with the commercial brand of American sauce from a jar.

With Bolognese most recipes will include adding heavy cream to give it a more creamy, smooth and thick sauce.  Not this one.  This is adapted from Lidia Bastianich’s recipe which has no cream or milk at all. What I find elevates this dish from all other recipes is the addition of dried thyme which gives it a hint of a something different from most traditional Italian red sauces.


  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Tablespoon Unsalted Butter
  • 3/4 Cup Diced Carrot, Celery & Onion
  • 1 lb Ground Pork
  • 1 Tablespoon Tomato Paste
  • 1 Can Crushed Tomatoes + half can of fresh cold spring water
  • 3 Dried Bay Leaves
  • 1 Teaspoon Dried Thyme
  • 3 Crushed Garlic Cloves
  • Salt & Pepper

First you start with the “Trinity” which is equal parts diced carrot, celery and onion. This gets browned in butter and extra virgin olive oil for about 5 minutes, or until soft and fragrant.

Deglaze with white or red wine, allow the alcohol to burn off.  Add the tomato paste, stir in until it is broken up then add the tomato paste and ground pork sausage.  Brown until it is all cooked through, and add the thyme, crushed tomatoes and bay leaves.

After a couple of hours you will see the sauce turn from bright red to a darker brownish red or burgundy color.  The sauce should be thick enough to coat a spoon when you dip it in.

The original recipe calls for tagliatelle pasta, a long, flat, wide pasta like ribbons.  You can use any type of pasta you wish for this, however, I personally find rigatoni to be the best since it is thick and has ridges to hold the sauce in its tubular shape and in its outer ridges.

Serve this with fresh grated cheese and enjoy!


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