Authentic Bolognese sauce

Cooked bolognese sauce in a cast-iron skillet, ready for serving.

Nothing makes you feel more at home than an authentic Bolognese sauce. It is a traditional Italian recipe full of history and flavor. A simple recipe that will guide you step by step through all the secrets and little tricks to prepare a true delight at home.

There are many variations of this recipe; it can be said that every Italian region has its own. Learning the procedure of this recipe will help you personalize it to make it 100% yours.

Ingredients for Bolognese sauce

In various traditional recipes, meat scraps were used. Today, lean ground beef is commonly used, which can be bought at the supermarket or from your trusted butcher.

The tomatoes should be juicy and pulpy, which can also be easily found at the supermarket.

authentic bolognese sauce

Authentic Bolognese sauce

Nothing makes you feel more at home than an authentic Bolognese sauce.
Course Main Course
Cuisine French, Italian
Keyword bolognese sauce, ragù sauce, recipe
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour


  • 2 carrots
  • 1 golden onion
  • 5 sprigs of thyme
  • 1 glass red wine
  • 1.5 pounds ground beef
  • 2 cups tomato passata
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbps extra virgin olive oil
Servings 4 people


  • Finely dice carrots and onions.
  • In a large pot, melt the butter together with a tablespoon of olive oil.
  • Add the diced vegetables with a bouquet of aromatic herbs.
  • Add 2 cloves of unpeeled garlic.
  • Cook over medium heat for 5/6 minutes.
  • Season with salt and pepper.
  • Remove the garlic cloves.
  • Add the ground meat. Cook everything for 5/6 minutes over medium heat, stirring well.
  • Increase the heat and deglaze with red wine. Let the red wine evaporate, then lower the temperature.
  • Add the tomato and let it cook over low heat for 15 minutes, stirring well.
  • Remove the aromatic herbs and add the milk.
  • Taste and adjust the seasoning.
  • Let it cook slowly for 15-20 minutes.
  • When the tomato has reduced well, your Bolognese sauce is ready.

Tips and Tricks

Different types of meat can be used; the most common are pork or sausage meats.

When is Bolognese sauce ready? It’s ready when the tomato has been reduced by half and the color is glossy. Bolognese sauce is perfect for making lasagna and for a nice plate of egg pasta.

Many different aromatic herbs can be used. Thyme, sage, and rosemary are the most commonly used. But like any recipe, it can be customized to taste.

The use of red wine is optional. You can also deglaze with white wine or simply with good beef broth. 

High or low-sided pot. Typically, a high-sided pot is used so that the cooking is a bit slower and concentrates the flavor more. A low-sided pot helps in faster cooking. The low-sided pot is recommended when using lean meat.

You might try the Neapolitan recipe or my favorite Granma Lea Ragù.

A hand serving bolognese sauce from a skillet with a piece of bread, garnished with parsley.

How to store

Bolognese sauce can be stored in the refrigerator for 5/6 days in a closed container. It can also be frozen for future use.

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