The BEST Homemade Bolognese Sauce

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  • Hands down the BEST homemade bolognese sauce ever! The flavors in this bolognese are unreal and it will soon become your new go to sauce for pasta night!

    This spaghetti bolognese is an Italian classic that has SO much flavor. It tastes just as authentic as a fancy restaurant in Italy! Some of my other top Italian classics are spaghetti and meatballs, fettuccine alfredo, baked beef ravioli and lasagna.

    spaghetti bolognese

    Bolognese sauce

    This spaghetti bolognese is what dreams are made of. Seriously! Take one bite and you’ll think you are dining in a fancy restaurant in Italy. It tastes so amazing that I had one bowl and had to go back for another. I could have eaten it all on it’s own.

    The best part about this bolognese recipe is that it’s made in one pot. The longer it cooks, the more flavor that comes out. So much flavor! I’m telling you, you have to make this bolognese recipe. So much better than the canned stuff.

    The bolognese comes together pretty quickly as well. Serve over your favorite pasta (we love it over spaghetti noodles or zoodles) with a piece of homemade garlic bread or garlic cheese roll.

    What is the difference between between bolognese sauce and spaghetti sauce?

    Although there are some similarities between the two, a classic Italian bolognese sauce is typically made with a meat base and usually includes tomatoes, dairy (milk or half and half), red wine and spices. It’s hearty and simmers longer so that the flavors come out.

    Spaghetti sauce is on the lighter side and comes together quickly. It’s typically made with tomatoes, oil, onions and spices and has a bright and acidic flavor. It doesn’t need to simmer as long as bolognese.

    Spaghetti bolognese

    What is bolognese sauce made of?

    This bolognese recipe has all of your favorite ingredients such as fire roasted tomatoes, garlic, brown sugar, half and half and wine (or you can substitute for pomegranate juice like I did). The flavors marinate so well together and once you make this homemade bolognese, you won’t ever go back to your old one!

    What pasta is best for bolognese?

    Our favorite pasta to serve over bolognese is classic spaghetti noodles. If I’m watching my carb intake, sometimes I’ll serve over zucchini noodles for a healthier alternative. Feel free to serve over your pasta of choice, like penne, rigatoni, macaroni or pappardelle.

    How to make bolognese sauce

    Scroll down for the printable bolognese sauce recipe and video tutorial.

    1. Melt butter over medium-low heat in large pot. Add onion and garlic with pinch of salt and cook for 5 minutes, until translucent.
    2. Turn heat to medium then add beef and pork. Remove any excess grease. Add in pepper, basil, oregano, red pepper flakes and remaining teaspoon salt. Cook until meat has browned.
    3. Then add in brown sugar, half and half, wine (or pomegranate juice), diced tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, tomato paste and parmesan. Stir and then simmer for 10 minutes.
    4. Cover and cook additional 20 minutes. S&P to taste.
    5. Serve over your favorite pasta and enjoy!

    TIP: To make slow cooker bolognese sauce, simply cook onions and meat, then add in slow cooker with remaining ingredients. Cook on low all day, then enjoy.

    One pot bolognese recipe

    How do you thicken Bolognese sauce?

    If you’re bolognese hasn’t reached your desired thickness, there are a few tricks that will help. One of the main things that makes a thicker bolognese is the amount of time that you let it simmer. The longer it simmers, the thicker it will be. You could also try adding in a little more tomato paste, since it acts as a thickening agent. I’d add in a teaspoon or two at first, so that you don’t alter the taste too much. Also, be sure to drain any excess grease from the meats to remove extra liquid.

    Do you add milk to Bolognese sauce?

    When making homemade bolognese, a dairy component like milk, half and half or cream is typically always included. I prefer to use half and half, however you can still use milk or cream. The dairy helps to give the bolognese sauce a silkier consistency and keeps the meat tender.

    Easy bolognese recipe

    How do you freeze bolognese sauce?

    This bolognese sauce makes a lot, so we always end up freezing half for another time. Simply place the leftover bolognese in a zip top bag and then let it cool. Press flat and then store in the freezer for up to 3 months. When ready to eat, thaw bolognese in the refrigerator over night and then reheat on low on the stovetop or in the slow cooker. Perfect for a busy night!

    The BEST Homemade Bolognese Sauce

    Course: Side Dish
    Cuisine: Italian
    Keyword: bolognese
    Prep Time: 10 minutes
    Cook Time: 40 minutes
    Total Time: 50 minutes
    Servings: 10
    Calories: 373
    Author: Jamielyn
    Hands down the BEST homemade bolognese sauce ever! The flavors in this bolognese are unreal and it will soon become your new go to sauce for pasta night!

    Ingredients

    • 2 Tablespoons butter
    • 1 sweet onion , diced (about 1 cup)
    • 4 cloves garlic , minced
    • 1 teaspoon salt + pinch
    • 1 pound ground beef
    • 1 pound ground pork , or pork sausage
    • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
    • 2 teaspoons dried basil
    • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
    • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red-pepper flakes
    • 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
    • 1/2 cup half-and-half (can use milk)
    • 1 cup dry red wine (I used pomegranate juice)
    • 14 ounce can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
    • 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
    • 1/2 cup tomato paste
    • 1/3 cup finely grated parmesan

    Instructions

    • In a large pot , melt the butter over medium-low heat. Add the onion and garlic with a pinch of salt. Cook for 5 minutes, or until translucent. Increase the heat to medium and add the beef and pork. Remove any excess grease. Add in the remaining teaspoon of salt, pepper, basil, oregano, and red pepper flakes. Cook until the meat is browned.
    • Next add the brown sugar, half-and-half, wine (or pomegranate juice), diced tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, and parmesan. Stir well and bring to a simmer for 10 minutes. Cover and cook an additional 20 minutes. Taste and season with more salt and pepper if needed.
    • Serve over your favorite pasta.

    Video

    Notes

    This bolognese sauce can also be made in the slow cooker. Cook the onions and meat, then add in the slow cooker with the remaining ingredients and let it cook all day on low.
    Slighty adapted from The Pretty Dish

    Nutrition

    Calories: 373kcal | Carbohydrates: 17g | Protein: 19g | Fat: 23g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 78mg | Sodium: 638mg | Potassium: 692mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 13.9% | Vitamin C: 16.1% | Calcium: 12.9% | Iron: 18.9%
    PIN THIS RECIPE

    This bolognese recipe comes from my friend Jessica’s (How Sweet Eats) AMAZING cookbook: The Pretty Dish. Be sure to check it out!

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