Bolognese sauce

This is the pared down version of my classic Bolognese ragú. It has no fancy ingredients or wine but it's just as rich, satisfying and authentic as the original.

Course Main
Cuisine Italian
Keyword bolognese ragu, bolognese sauce
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings 8


  • 1/2 onion, finely diced
  • 1 carrot, finely diced
  • 3 stalks celery, finely diced
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground pork
  • 2 15 ounce cans tomato sauce
  • 1 15 ounce can beef broth
  • 2 heaping tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/3 - 1/2 cup milk
  • garlic powder, few dashes
  • kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • olive oil
  • 1/2 - 1 teaspoon fish sauce (optional)(See Note)


  1. In a large pot drizzle two to three tablespoons olive oil and heat to medium. Add the onion and cook for one or two minutes until they begin to sweat. Add the celery and carrot and a pinch or two of kosher salt and ground pepper. Cook for about five minutes.

  2. Add the ground beef and ground pork, making sure to break apart the clumps with a wooden spoon. Turn up the heat to medium high but make sure not to burn the vegetables. Season with another pinch of salt and add about 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder. Cook for ten to fifteen minutes, until the fat from the meat has begun to render and you start to see caramelization on the bottom of the pan.

  3. Add the fish sauce (if using) and the tomato paste and stir into the meat and cook for about three minutes.

  4. Add the beef broth and tomato sauce. Bring to a boil then immediately reduce to a simmer. Cover and cook for 45 minutes to one hour. Stir in the milk 30 minutes into the simmer time. Taste and adjust for seasoning. Serve with your favorite pasta and Parmigiano-Reggiano. This is enough for two pounds of pasta so if you won't use all of it I recommend freezing a half batch for later use.

Recipe Notes

Fish Sauce: while not necessary here a little splash adds depth and counters the acidity of the tomatoes and lends a long-simmered quality to the sauce.