My grandfather was born and raised in Italy, and in honor of him, you’ll find me making this Homemade Bolognese Sauce as often as I can. I’ll even make it on a weeknight just to see the kids faces light up when they come home from school, and are greeted by the smell of this yummy, delicious, and amazing sauce bubbling on the stovetop. Traditionally, this recipe is perfect for a fabulous Sunday supper, but I say make it anytime you can.
This recipe is quite easy to make. I like to prepare all my ingredients, and then begin cooking. I love to see what I need before I dive into a new recipe, and I hope you find the ingredient photos below helpful, too.
Garlic and oregano are optional when making a traditional Bolognese sauce, and you may add them if you like. You may substitute water for the chicken stock, however I prefer chicken stock. The idea is to add liquid as it simmers to keep the sauce from getting too thick.
This recipe makes a nice large portion. You can cut the recipe in half, but I like to cook the Bolognese once, and freeze half for another night’s dinner. I suggest 2 lbs of pasta for the quantity of this recipe, but prepare only as much pasta as you need to serve if you save half for later.
Homemade Bolognese Sauce
TO MAKE THE SOFFRITO
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 6 ounces pancetta , diced
- 1 1/2 cup finely chopped onion (1 large)
- 2/3 cup finely chopped carrot (2-3 medium)
- 2/3 cup finely chopped celery (2 rib)
- 2 cloves of garlic , chopped (optional)
TO MAKE THE SAUCE
- 2 pounds ground beef
- 2 pounds ground pork
- 6 oz tomato paste
- 2 cups dry white wine
- 2 cups cup whole milk
- 1 teaspoon oregano , (optional)
- 1 pinch of nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon coarse salt , (more to taste)
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper , (more to taste)
- 1 tablespoon flat leaf Italian parsley , chopped
- 5 sprigs thyme , tied into a bundle with kitchen twine
- 2 dried bay leaves
- 2 (28 oz) cans diced tomatoes, with juice
- 2 cups chicken stock , (start with 1 cup add more if necessary)
- 2 (16 oz) Spaghetti, cooked
In a large Dutch oven or stock pot, melt 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter, and 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Add the pancetta; sauté until golden brown. Remove pancetta from the pot and set aside. Add chopped onions; sauté until translucent. Add carrots, celery, and garlic (optional); sauté until tender.
Add ground pork and beef; cook until nicely browned. Add cooked pancetta back to the pot. Add tomato paste; mixing well. Add white wine over medium to high heat and bring to a low boil; mixing well. Lower heat and rapidly simmer until liquid is reduced by half.
Add whole milk over medium to high heat and bring to a low boil; mixing well. Lower heat and rapidly simmer until liquid is reduced by half. Add salt, pepper, bay leaves, oregano (optional), nutmeg, thyme, and tomatoes with their juice; mixing well.
Add half of the chicken stock over medium to high heat and bring to a low boil: mixing well. Cover and simmer on low for 3 hours; adding more chicken stock as necessary. (Add anywhere from 1-3 cups chicken stock as needed to preserve the consistency you desire).
Serve over prepared spaghetti noodles. Prepare only as much pasta as you need to serve. This recipe makes a nice large portion. I like to cook the Bolognese once and freeze half for another night's dinner.