Bolognese Sauce

Bolognese Sauce

I have to start by raving about this bolognese sauce. It’s my go-to recipe for sauce. It takes some time to make, it’s one of those low and slow type of recipes. It’s so worth the effort and time though. It is my favourite bolognese sauce in the world. And I’ve eaten a lot of bolognese on the path to this one. A LOT of bolognese!

This is something I make about once a month. It’s a great recipe since you can alter it to suit your taste. So if you prefer shallots instead of onions you can adjust that. If you aren’t a wine fan you don’t have to use it. If you want to use bacon instead of pancetta that’s just fine and dandy. The ingredients are easy to play around with and tweak to your liking. Which to me is the mark of a great family recipe that will stand the test of time.

One thing I’ve learned is I do not have a tolerance for fresh pasta. I love fresh pasta, but it does not love me back. Something about it that gets my IBS jumping in a big way. Occasionally I throw caution to the wind and invite trouble by using fresh pasta anyway. But more often than not I use dried pasta since my tummy seems to cope with it better. Just one of those things you learn to adjust according to your dietary needs. There’s great whole wheat pastas out there if that’s your “thang”, I can’t do straight up whole wheat so it’s not my “thang”. There’s also wonderful quinoa and rice noodles out there if that’s your “thang”. I personally don’t care for the quinoa ones and brown rice I react to. So for me it’s plain old noodles. Which is good since I love the plain stuff like no ones business. I could eat pasta with plain old noodles every single day. And you all see how often I post pasta recipes so you know this chick isn’t fibbing. I like carbs, sue me! Before you do hand me a big bowl of pasta first though.

Bolognese Sauce

Bolognese Sauce
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
A fabulous recipe for Bolognese Sauce!
  • 2 oz (60 g) pancetta, cut into small cubes
  • 4 small carrots, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 4 shallots, diced
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 4 cloves of fresh garlic, pressed or minced
  • ½ cup of dry red wine
  • 28 oz can of San Marzano tomatoes
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 4 cups beef broth ( I use 4 cups boiling water & 2 heaping tablespoons Better Than Bouillon Base for my broth)
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1½ teaspoons salt (I really like himalayan salt)
  • Pepper to taste (I hate pepper and never use it)
  • 1½ tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon dried sweet basil
  • Dash of nutmeg
Putting it together:
  • 2 packages of fresh pasta or 1 large package of dried pasta
  • ½ cup of freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, for serving
  1. In a large saute pan or dutch oven over medium low heat add your butter. Let it get all melty and foamy. Then once the foam begins to go away drop in your pancetta and cook for about 3 minutes on it's own.
  2. Now add the carrots, celery and shallots and make sure you spread them around the pan. Let them cook until they get golden which can take about 30 minutes. If it's cooking too fast turn down your heat a touch. You can also add a touch of water to slow the process if it's cooking too high or fast. You want to continue to stir it occasionally. It's ready when it's golden in colour and smells like it's caramelizing.
  3. Now add both meats (ground pork and ground beef) and stir really well. Raise the heat to medium and begin to work the meat, breaking it up into small crumbly pieces. This should take about 20 minutes. Do not overcook. Overcooked meat will not absorb flavour well.
  4. Add your garlic and give it a stir for about a minute or two.
  5. Now add the wine to the pan. Cook on medium until the wine evaporates, takes about 2 to 4 minutes. If you don't want to use wine add a touch of lemon or balsamic vinegar to give the acid the wine would to the dish.
  6. Now add the tomatoes, half the paste, all the broth, all the milk, and all your spices.
  7. Bring to a good boil, you want it starting to bubble up. Then reduce to low heat and let it simmer for about an hour. Give it a stir a few times during that hour. If it seems to be cooking too fast you can lower the temperature and also add some more broth to help.
  8. Now partially cover the pan, and continue to cook for about another 1 to 1½ hours. It should begin to thicken and go a browner colour. For me I like my sauce more red and deeper in flavour so I add the second half of the paste after an hour, then cook for that last half an hour. This really takes the sauce to the next level in my opinion.
  9. Cover the pan and simmer till noodles are ready.
Putting it together:
  1. Bring a large stock pot of water to a boil. Add a good amount of salt. Drop in your noodles and cook according to the directions, minus about 1 minute.
  2. Reserve about 1 cup of pasta water before draining! Just ladle it into a container or dunk a measuring cup into the water.
  3. Now drain your noodles but DO NOT RINSE.
  4. Add a little bit of really good olive oil to the noodles. About 2 to 3 tablespoons worth. Mix it up again in the big stock pot.
  5. Now mix the noodles and the sauce together in either the stock pot you used for the noodles or in the dutch oven your sauce is in. Bring the heat back up to a medium low heat while you toss. This process should only take a minute or two. You want the noodles, olive oil and sauce to all marry together. If it's a tad dry or if you're like me and really like even more flavour, add about ¼ cup of pasta water to the pot now. Give it a good stir. You can add more if you like. Give it a taste and adjust accordingly.
  6. Serve with a big old carb loving smile and some Parmigiano-Reggiano over top!
Recipe slightly adapted from WIlliams Sonoma Pasta Cookbook

Bolognese Sauce

I’ve slightly adapted this recipe from the cookbook Williams Sonoma Pasta. I have to tell you this is a cookbook in a series of cookbooks by them I bought at Costco of all places. I love each cookbook from the series but this pasta one is amazing.

This dish is a family favourite. So much so we make it all the time. Honestly it’s what I crave when I want comfort food. And apparently I want comfort food a lot.

Bolognese Sauces by Cravings of a Lunatic

When making good Italian food you want really good quality olive oil. I love olive oil way too much. I think I have about 30 bottles of varying flavours. It’s a little addiction on my part. I’ll have to take a photo of all my oils for you one day when I have some free time. It’s impressive. As are my collections of vinegar. And sauces. I have a problem apparently. It’s my dirty little secret. I hoard oils, sauces and vinegar. I can’t help myself. It’s not my fault.

If I have to blame anyone it would have to be Aurora Importing. They make the very best olive oil I’ve ever tasted in my life. If you visit my Pizza Bites post there is a giveaway going on for an Frantoi Cutrera Olive Oil Tasting Box. And today I have another special treat for you. Since my peeps at Aurora Importing know how much I love their olive oil they sent me a nice big bottle of Frantoi Cutrera Frescolio to try. I’ve tried their Frantoi Cutrera Primo oil and honestly I will bop my family in the head if they try to use it. I have a tiny little bit left from a bottle they sent me awhile back. So they did me a solid and sent me a wonderful bottle of the Frantoi Cutrera Frescolio to try out. So the special treat today is they have told me I can giveaway 1 bottle of this liquid gold to 1 lucky reader. Aren’t they amazing! That’s not even a question, which is why I used an exclamation point instead of a question mark. Cuz that’s how I roll. I love this company. For realz! Now here’s the deets on this very special treat:


To enter please leave a comment telling me what your favourite dish is that you olive oil in!

Easy peasy entry. If you want more chances to win I got your back. You can do any or all of the following for additional entries. Just remember each entry has to have a separate comment to count. I draw by so your comment numbers are how the winner gets picked. Now that I’ve bored you to tears with that little detail here ya go:

Bonus entry #1: Subscribe via email to my blog, little button to your right that says “Subscribe via email”. Clever eh! Leave an additional comment with your subscriber handle so I can verify.

Bonus entry #2: Stalk me on Facebook. Leave an additional comment with your FB handle so I can verify.

Bonus entry #3: Stalk Aurora Importing on Facebook. Leave an additional comment with your FB handle so I can verify.

Bonus entry #4: Stalk me on Twitter. Leave an additional comment with your Twitter handle so I can verify.

Bonus entry #5: Stalk Aurora Importing on Twitter. Leave an additional comment with your Twitter handle so I can verify.

Bonus entry #6: Stalk me on Pinterest. Leave an additional comment with your Pinterest handle so I can verify.

Bonus entry #7: Stalk me on StumbleUpon. Leave an additional comment with your SU handle so I can verify.

Bonus entry #8: Stalk me on G+. Leave me an additional comment with your G+ handle so I can verify.

Just for fun:

Bonus entry #9: Tell me something you would like to see me make in 2013.

Super duper daily bonus entry #10: You can stop by ONCE PER DAY during the contest and tell me some random fact about yourself for an additional daily entry. Can be anything you like, tell me your fave colour, fave tv show, fave boy band, fave Kardashian, who irritates you on The Real Housewives of anywhere and everywhere. Whatever your little heart desires. Pg rated though! Young peeps read.

Giveaway is open to Canadian residents only! Sorry all my US and International friends.

Giveaway is open until January 12 at midnight. Draw will be made by and winner will have 72 hours to respond. If the winner does not claim the prize I will draw another name. Winner will be contacted by email, so make sure I have your email addy peeps!

Good luck all my Canadians readers. It’s a pleasure to offer you some Canadian giveaways. I know we tend to get the short end of the stick when it comes to giveaways so this is a nice treat for you and for me.

Thanks to Aurora Importing. This company is absolutely stellar and I love working with them. You can follow their blog, and also follow their Aurora YouTube channel and their Recipideo YouTube channel.

Also a quick note that the cookbook link is directed to my Amazon store. So this post contains affiliate links. It’s cool though, don’t panic. I’m not getting rich off Amazon. I’ve had a store for months and haven’t made a dime. Terrible right. Cripes I need to promote it more. Come help a sistah out folks. I could use some grocery money. *evil giggle*

Toodles and smoochies! xx

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        • Kim Bee says

          Lol, that explains it Erin. They say it’s the best thing since sliced bread for bloggers. I’m trying to embrace it but it’s not my favourite so far. The hangouts are cool to watch. There was one with David Leite and Dianne Jacobs the other day. Lots of great info.

  1. MaryB says

    We love pasta with really good olive oil drizzled over, along with some fresh grated parmesan, red pepper flakes and parsley. This oil would be fantastic for that! Occasionally we add some roasted shrimp or chicken.

  2. says

    Favorite dish with olive oil? Um, it might take me a while to whittle it down. I go through olive oil like crazy. I love really good olive oil in salad dressings (simple vinaigrette ones). And if the olive oil is super good then just pour some in a bowl for me to dip bread into.
    Oh, and I’ve never made fresh pasta. (I don’t have a pasta roller). I bought some one time and it disintegrated when I cooked it. So I stick to the regular dried pasta too.

    • Kim Bee says

      Me too Renee. I just love the stuff.

      Oh that’s not good. I’ve made my own and bought some fresh. I like the taste but it does not agree with my tummy. It’s sort of fun to roll out your own. I was lucky, my sis sent me a pasta attachment for my mixer. Otherwise it would be an indulgence I couldn’t afford.

    • Kim Bee says

      I love when that happens. I am scooting over to check yours out now.

      Oh man that cake sounds fabulous. I am now craving it big time.

  3. Cheryl W. says

    The dish I most love using olive oil in is roasted shrimp with lemon slices and capers. The olive oil rounds out the bold flavors in this dish. Thank you so much for the opportunity to enter to win the “Liquid Gold”. I am like you, my family know better than to touch the coveted olive oils. LOL

    • Kim Bee says

      Great use for olive oil Cheryl.

      You are most welcome. I swear this olive oil is incredible. I just love it.

      Sometimes you just have to lay down the law right. Lol. Good luck.

  4. Carole B. says

    My favorite dish with oil olive…it’s hard to answer i use olive oil so much, i’ll say oven roasted roots vegetables!

    • Kim Bee says

      That sounds really good. Except the pepper part. I have no idea why but I dislike black pepper. Isn’t that odd for a foodie. I’m not sure what it is about it I don’t like.

    • Kim Bee says

      I bet his is like heaven. Maybe I’ll luck out one day and get to visit so I can try it. I owe you an email. Haven’t forgotten, just crazed with the back to real life after holidays stuff. Be in touch soon. xx

  5. says

    Pasta is one of my comfort foods too! I’ll take it any which way, even just with garlic and olive oil. Or a little butter. And a hint of Parmesan wouldn’t go amiss. :) I love the thick rich look of your sauce! So yum!

    • Kim Bee says

      I love it with just garlic and olive oil. So good. Also love it with butter. That’s mini-me’s pasta of choice. I love parmesan too much. I usually bury my dish in it. It’s sad but true. I can’t get enough of it. I love it on pizza too. Just the cheap stuff too. No idea why but man it’s good. Can you tell I skipped dinner tonight? I’m getting way too excited talking about cheese.

      Thanks Stacy. Hope your holidays were merry and bright. xx

  6. says

    This is not an entry. This is a comment to say I love pasta, bolognese sauce and you. Also, 2.0 says I’m not allowed to bring anything else into the kitchen. Not even olive oil. (sniff)

    • Kim Bee says

      Well that just works out beautifully cuz I love all those things too, except I love you, not me. Okay so I love me a little bit too. Okay so I love me a lot. Okay so I’m totally obsessed with me. You’re like a ninja getting the truth out of me with your compliments throwing me all off kilter and crap.

      I’m gonna have to have a talk with 2.0. I like to share my addictions with my friends. So he’s gonna have to give in on this one.

  7. Charlie says

    Morning Kim!
    One of my favourite things to do with Olive Oil is to toss my vegetables with it and sea salt and bake them in the oven on a cookie tray. OH SO GOOD!

    I use olive oil for just about everything including baking.

    Have a Joyful Day :~D

    • Kim Bee says

      Hi Charlie:

      I love veggies done like that. Sea salt is as heavenly as olive oil.

      I like that you use olive oil in baking. Makes me smile to know that.

      Hope you are well Charlie. And hope the holidays were lovely for you. Always nice to see you stop by.


  8. says

    I make pesto a lot so I’d say that is my favorite dish to use olive oil in. And oh my, this bolognese sauce sounds amazing! I love bolognese and this one sounds tried and true which means, I think I need to give it a go.

    • Kim Bee says

      It’s so good. It tends to be my go to sauce. Love it in lasagna too.

      Pesto is such a great choice to use olive oil in.

  9. Tamara B. says

    I love using olive oil in my simple but delicious Pasta with Olive Oil And Garlic recipe with some roasted peppers, crumbled bacon and topped off with some shaved parmesan cheese

    • Kim Bee says

      I really should start tagging kid friendly in my recipes. I tend to forget since my kids are older. Did you ever see my panzerotti post? It uses a deep fryer so you would have to oversee the kids but it shows my daughter making them step by step. She worked at a pizza joint in town so I convinced her to let me photograph her making it. Not only a cool step by step post but omg deep fried pizza is flipping good. Not at all healthy or good for you but good. Lol!

  10. Kathy Reitlo says

    I like to use olive oil on my garlic bread! Only I make toast first and tear it into cracker size pieces, and place them in a plastic bag. I mix olive oil and any kind of fresh or dried herbs, and minced garlic, maybe some grated cheese. Then I pour this over my toast and mix it up good.

    • Kim Bee says

      It really is comfort in a bowl, or on a plate, or shovelling it into my mouth straight from the pot. I swear bolognese is a guilty little pleasure. I eat way too much of it. The thing is I don’t even feel bad.

    • Kim Bee says

      Oh so close. I liked you right up until the word football then you lost me.

      *totally kidding, except the football part*

      *man I hope you like a twisted sense of humour*

      Happy Tuesday!

  11. says

    That’s a great looking sauce – your recipe is quite good. I’m more of a meat sauce kind of guy, but a good Bolognese is wonderful. I, too, like that Better than Bouillon base – such good stuff! You might try making your fresh pasta with semolina sometime instead of flour. Most dried pasta is made from semolina, so the switch might help your IBS. Or not – I’m no doctor, nor do I play one on TV!

    • Kim Bee says

      I dig both. Put meat in front of me and I turn into a cave woman. I wish it wasn’t true but I seriously have a weak spot for any kind of beef. Isn’t BTB the bomb. I saw it at Costco recently. They were selling the beef although I have to admit I dig the veggie base the most.

      I need to find semolina. Stuff like that is wicked hard to find locally. I wonder if I could order it off Amazon. I might need to try that. Might be the solution to my pasta woes. I love homemade pasta and would love to make it more.

      I could not stop laughing at your last sentence. I remember that commercial. I’m showing my age now.

  12. Lisa says

    I love to marinate lamb in Greek spices and Greek olive oil, and then put on the grill for just a few minutes each side!

    • Kim Bee says

      Now that is something I haven’t tackled yet. You’ve intrigued me. I need to add that to my foodie bucket list.

    • Kim Bee says

      Thank you Jen. Some people use different handles at each social media site so makes it complicated to verify. I appreciate it.

    • Kim Bee says

      No worries. Twitter is sort of weird. It’s the social media most people love but I’ve never quite gotten the hang of it.

  13. says

    It looks delicious Kim! What a great meat sauce! I love the nice thick fresh noodles, although your stomach may not have. It looks amazing!

    • Kim Bee says

      Thanks Jeff. Love noodles. I just have to be so careful which ones I use. I found a company in the states when I went to a conference and they make some cool pasta. Dreamfields is the name. Not sure if you have that brand in your area but I’ve never seen it here. I need to make a stateside shopping excursion so I can restock it. Doesn’t seem to bother my tummy like some do. Holds up nice too.

    • Kim Bee says

      I hate snow. We have some still on the ground. I keep threatening to move to Hawaii. I swear I was adopted. There’s no way I’m Canadian with how much I hate snow and cold. And timmies. That’s just wrong not to like timmies when you’re a Canuck.

    • Kim Bee says

      Thanks so much Nancy. I love pasta any time of the day. Such comfort food.

      I am sorry I haven’t visited lately. Trying to catch up with work after a few weeks off. Can’t wait to stop by and see what you’ve been up to.

    • Kim Bee says

      This cracked me up. Right now I’m working/laundry/crock potting/baking/photographing and sort of losing my mind.

  14. Tamara B. says

    YAY the best day ever! The two teens went back to school today and my home was peaceful for the first time in 2 1/2 weeks!

    • Kim Bee says

      I love days like that. Mini-me is back to school but I had trouble adjusting this week. Think I took too much time off. So behind on anything. Haven’t posted a blog post in a week. Crazy!

    • Kim Bee says

      Thanks and me too. My hubs caught me frying a hot dog in pan of it one day. I was like if I’m going to misbehave I’m going all in!

  15. Carolsue says

    I love this recipe: Spaghetti with Garlic, Olive Oil and Red Pepper Flakes
    Digicats {at} Sbcglobal {dot} Net

    • Kim Bee says

      Happy New Year Nami. I need to stop by and catch up on what you’ve been cooking up. I took some time off over the holidays, was so nice. You must try it, it’s really good. The kids would love it.

  16. Mary Beth Elderton says

    My favorite olive oil pasta dish is so simple that I don’t know a name for it—Olive oil, onion, garlic, diced tomatoes, tons of whatever veggies I have, dash of red pepper…tossed with whatever shape pasta I have (usually spaghetti) and topped with Parmesan.

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