Annika Eats

Bolognese Sauce

This Italian meaty sauce is my version of the classic. It is simply delicious, comforting and perfect as a dinner meal for four. Serve it with pasta or bread and you are good to go.

When I say I love this recipe and its simplicity, I am 100% serious on this. The entire dish comes together in no time and everything is cooked in a pan until done. Usually making this bolognese sauce would take me around 30-45 mins depending on the amount of time I have on my hands in the kitchen but you can whip it up in 30 mins as well. The recipe is no a traditional bolognese sauce hence if you are a purist please don’t hold me against it. I have tweaked this recipe to make it my own in every way possible. 

What ingredients do you need to make this Bolognese Sauce?

I am using beef mince to make this recipe and any bolognese sauce needs good beef mince. Here comes the crazy part, I have made this recipe with chicken mince, lamb mince and a combination of pork and chicken – they were all fantastic hence you could use any you like but beef it is the best option. We need olive oil and butter but they both act very differently in the recipe. The olive oil is to help with the cooking of the onions and veggies while the butter helps emulsify the sauce giving it a creamier texture at the end. 

We need onions, garlic, celery, carrot and leeks to make this sauce and its these veggies that give it so much flavor making it taste like you’ve been cooking it for hours when you haven’t. I also use bacon in the beginning to add flavor as well as texture to the sauce. As for the herbs I use bay leaves, dried oregano and basil, you could use thyme, rosemary, tarragon and some sage as well. I’ve used dry but you could use fresh. While for spices we are only using a bit of nutmeg and black pepper powder. 

The recipe calls for two major liquids and 2 kinds of tomatoes. For the liquid we are using milk and red wine. The milk tenderizes the beef mince making it softer and not at all chewy. If you like you can use half milk and half water, it can be skimmed milk as well. You could use a mixture of milk and cream aka half and half in this recipe. When it comes to the red wine, you want to use a bottle that you would love to drink, we only need half a glass of it hence a little goes a long way here but if you don’t consume alcohol you can use non alcoholic red wine – just taste it before to know the sweetness/acidity, you could use beef stock, beef cube dissolved in hot water, chicken stock or you could use water as will. This will affect the final flavor but it does work. 

Tomatoes in this recipe are important. I use chopped tomatoes and tomato puree. If you are using canned chopped tomato and bottled tomato puree/passata then follow the seasoning as per the recipe. However if you are using freshly chopped tomatoes and fresh tomato puree I would recommend tasting the tomatoes first then seasoning accordingly. You would need to add a little sugar to balance out the sourness from the tomatoes if they are fresh and add a little more salt. 

What equipment do you need to make the Bolognese Sauce?

We need a heavy bottom pan with a lid that is medium or large. You would need a food processor or you can chop the veggies by hand using a knife and chopping board. We need a spatula to stir the sauce around. 

How to make the Bolognese Sauce?

We start by adding the bacon into the sauté pan on medium heat to render the fat. While that is going we add the onions and garlic into the food processor and blend until fine. We don’t want a paste we want it coarsely ground. Once the fat has been rendered we add the onion mixture into he pan and stir around. While that is cooking we blend the carrots, celery and leeks together until coarse. After the onions have softened add the veggies and cook together with some olive oil until soft. Add the beef and increase the heat, season with salt and pepper. Fry this together until there is no liquid and the mixture is dry. Pour in the milk and cook until it evaporates. Add the wine/stock/water into the sauté pan and cook until there is no more liquid in the pan. Add the herbs, bay leaves, nutmeg, pepper and stir together. Add the chopped tomatoes and stir. Pour in the tomato puree/passata and mix well. Bring the mixture to a bubble, reduce the heat to low, cover and cook for 15-20 mins until done. Take off the lid and add the butter. Stir together well. 

How to serve the Bolognese Sauce?

I love serving the sauce with Tagliatelle you could use Fettuccine or Rigatoni but it also works well with spaghetti, penne, fusilli and any pasta you have. I have also served this with bread and it is yummy yum yum. I love garnishing the top with parmesan cheese you can add chili flakes if you like spice, some chopped parsley or even fresh basil leaves as well. Serve it for dinner or lunch and you are rocking. It pairs well with some red wine, ideally a medium bodied red wine that is earthy and nutty. 

How long can you store the Bolognese Sauce?

The beauty about this recipe is that is is a great make ahead dish as it only tastes better with time. I love making this the night before and then just heating it, adding the butter stirring it through and serving it. The flavors marry into each other and it is absolutely wonderful. You can store the sauce in an air tight container in the fridge for upto 7 days. While you can store it in smaller batches int he freezer for up to 1 month. When you are ready serve you can thaw heat it in the microwave until steaming hot. 

Now that we have learned how to make this sauce, let us get into the kitchen and get cracking. Happy Cooking Ninjas!

Bolognese Sauce

This Italian meaty sauce is my version of the classic. It is simply delicious, comforting and perfect as a dinner meal for four. Serve it with pasta or bread and you are good to go.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
Course Main Course, Brunch, Dinner, Lunch, Pasta
Cuisine Italian
Servings 5 people

Equipment

  • Large sauté pan with lid
  • Spatula
  • Food processor

Ingredients
  

  • 50 gm Bacon chopped
  • 3/4 cup Onions finely chopped
  • 4 cloves Garlic finely chopped
  • 1 cup Carrots finely chopped
  • 1 cup Celery finely chopped
  • 1 cup Leeks finely chopped
  • 500 gm Beef mince
  • 2 cups Milk check notes for substitutes
  • 1/2 cup Red wine check notes for substitutes
  • 2 Bay leaves
  • 1/2 tsp Nutmeg
  • 1 tsp Dry herbs
  • 1 1/2 cup Tomatoes chopped
  • 2 cups Tomato puree/Passata
  • 2 tsp Black pepper powder
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tbsp Butter

To Serve

  • 300 gm Tagliatelle pasta
  • 5 tbsp Parmesan grated

Instructions
 

  • In a sauté pan on medium heat add the bacon and let it render. While that is going we add the onions and garlic into the food processor and blend until fine. We don’t want a paste we want it coarsely ground. Once the fat has been rendered we add the onion mixture into he pan and stir around.
  • While that is cooking we blend the carrots, celery and leeks together until coarse in the same food processor. After the onions have softened add the veggies and cook together with some olive oil until soft.
  • Add the beef and increase the heat, season with salt and pepper. Fry this together until there is no liquid and the mixture is dry.
  • Pour in the milk and cook until it evaporates. Add the wine/stock/water into the sauté pan and cook until there is no more liquid in the pan. Add the herbs, bay leaves, nutmeg, pepper and stir together. Add the chopped tomatoes and stir.
  • Pour in the tomato puree/passata and mix well. Bring the mixture to a bubble, reduce the heat to low, cover and cook for 15-20 mins until done. Take off the lid and add the butter. Stir together well.
  • Cook your Tagliatelle as per the package instructions and serve the sauce with it. You can toss it together if you like or spoon it over the top like I did. I have also served this with bread and it is yummy yum yum.
  • Garnish the top with parmesan cheese. If you like you can add chili flakes or fresh parsley.

Notes

  • For the milk you can use half and half (milk and cream), skimmed milk or milk and water.
  • Non Alcoholic - You can swap the red wine for beef stock, chicken stock or water.
  • Tomatoes - If using freshly chopped tomatoes and fresh tomato puree, adjust the seasoning with sugar if needed as tomatoes can be a little sour for a well balanced flavor.
  • You can serve the meat sauce with Tagliatelle, you could use Fettuccine or Rigatoni but it also works well with spaghetti, penne, fusilli and any pasta you have.

2 thoughts on “Bolognese Sauce”

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