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Bolognese | The Reason I Stopped Ordering This at Restaurants

Bolognese is truly an amazing Italian classic; you know what else is an Italian classic? Thinking your sauce is better than someone else's. Many arguments have been had in my family regarding this specific topic, but one thing we can all agree on is that this is a dish best made at home with great people around. Purists may notice I don't add any rich dairy to this dish, and that's because I love having a dollop of ricotta on each bowl at the end; it’s fun getting to mix it in, and it tastes like the best parts of a lasagna that way. Also it means I don’t have to take a dairy pill when I check for seasoning (anyone else?).

This is the longest cooking recipe I’ve put out so far, so I definitely recommend making an afternoon of this. Length aside, I believe it’s more than worth it.


1 lb ground beef (any fat works, go leaner if you want a leaner dish)

1 lb ground pork

2 large carrots

2 celery stalks

1 small yellow onion or 1/2 large yellow onion

4-8 cloves garlic

28oz can whole tomato

2 tbsp tomato paste

4 quarts beef broth

3/4 cup red wine

Onion powder, garlic powder, dried herbs (start with a tablespoon each)

Fresh basil, salt and pepper

1 lb of pasta (rigatoni or pappardelle are classics)

Fresh ricotta for topping

For this recipe, we need a few hours allotted to to let the sauce cook, so I recommend this as a weekend meal. The process of making this is simple and straightforward, you just need the time to let the flavors develop. We'll start by finely dicing our celery, carrot and yellow onion. Alongside that, we need to finely mince the garlic; you decide how much feels appropriate for you, but I would say no fewer than 4 cloves for this!

At the stove, we'll need a 5 QT Dutch oven over medium heat. Add enough olive oil to cover the bottom of the pan and add your carrot, celery, and onion. Season these veggies with salt and pepper, and cook out the water from the veggies. Once softened, add your garlic and cook for another minute. Remove your veggies from the pan and add the ground beef/ ground pork to the oil left in the pan. Season this with salt and pepper and begin breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon. The meat is going to release a lot of water and fat, so it will start simmering itself. We need to cook off all the water so only the fat is left, the meat is first going to turn grey and then start to brown when the water is gone.

Once the meat is browned, add the tomato paste and cook until brick red. Add your wine and scrape the bottom of the pan to mix the browned bits and tomato into the sauce (this process is called deglazing). Add your cooked veggies back to the pan along with the whole tomatoes. Use the spoon to smash the tomatoes, and then add your beef broth. Season this whole pot with onion powder, garlic powder, dried herbs, salt, and pepper. Bring this to a simmer and add your sprig of basil. Cover the pot, lower the heat to medium low and cook this for 50 minutes.

Remove the lid and let it cook uncovered for another hour, we should see the amount of liquid decrease by half. Remove your basil sprigs so nobody finds a large basil leaf in their bowl. Now is the time to test for final seasoning, so taste it and adjust accordingly. From here, you can turn off the heat and cook 1 lb of pasta according to the instructions on the box. I always recommend having bread near by for drive by dunking in the sauce, how else will you know it's good? Drain the pasta and mix it with a few spoonfuls of sauce, this will keep the pasta from sticking without coating the noodles in oil.

Finish each bowl with extra sauce, a dollop of fresh ricotta, olive oil, pepper, and fresh grated parmesan. This is a really delicious Bolognese made extra special with the inclusion of fresh ricotta. Invite some dear friends over, open some more wine, and enjoy a wonderful evening, you won't regret it.



Hey, I'm Cameron, and I'm glad you're here. I post new recipes every week, all intended to build your confidence in the kitchen, each one with video tutorials to help. Craving something specific? Drop me a note in my contact form! 

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