Get carried away to Italy with a homemade beef bolognese sauce. The flavors are spot on!
Use the tomato meat sauce over spaghetti or in a lasagne and serve it up on a weeknight!
What is Bolognese Sauce?
A bolognese sauce consists mainly of ground meat, wine, and tomato sauce (amongst other seasonings).
This sauce originated in the Italian city of Bologna, which is pretty much visibly reflected in the given name of this particular meat sauce.
In Italian cuisine, a tomato meat sauce is called a ragu.
The Italian bolognese is kind of a ragu just that a classic ragu is prepared with red wine, while a bolognese sauce is based on white wine. My compromise is a fruity rose!
That said, I have had bolognese prepared by Italians and they pretty much followed their own rules and still called it a bolognese sauce.
Ingredients used can vary.
A most authentic bolognese may (or may not if you want to argue with an Italian food fan) contain ground beef and can be enhanced with milk.
The milk is said to make it creamier and makes the meat softer (although can’t prove the latter). It also turns the sauce orange.
I never saw the need for milk in my bolognese, after having learned a great bolognese sauce recipe from my former Italian Gelateria boss (he would cook for us).
Parmesan cheese as a garnish was enough and I followed his philosophy to make, in my opinion, the best ragu alla bolognese sauce.
How to make Bolognese
Making a bolognese from scratch is easy enough and you will just need one pot to prepare the sauce.
Get the complete recipe with ingredients and detailed step by steps at the bottom of this post.
Here is a quick recipe overview to help you decide if you want to make this sauce tonight.
Heat up a pan and saute veggies.
Deglaze with wine, add meat, tomato sauce and seasoning.
Simmer so that the sauce gains flavor.
Serve up with parmesan and fresh basil.
How to use this sauce?
The classic use for this sauce is served with pasta.
Especially spaghetti bolognese has become a common sight in restaurants around the world.
Tagliatelle pasta is a traditional top tip but here are some other pasta variations that go really well with this ground meat sauce:
Your lasagne will be greatly enhanced with layers of this bolognese sauce, bechamel sauce, and of course cheese.
I loved this sauce over a pizza crust with some cheese and I got super creative using this sauce as a quesadilla filling.
The sauce is low carb and you can take advantage of that by using it as a zucchini boat stuffing.
You can store this sauce in a fridge-friendly container or prepare batches and freeze.
Mixed in pasta, leftovers can be stored in the fridge too.
Use within 5 days, if you store the sauce or sauce with pasta in the fridge.
Use frozen sauce within 2 months.
To defrost, keep in the fridge overnight or place frozen sauce into a saucepan and warm up.
Wait until it completely melts cooks and stir so that nothing sticks at the bottom.
Besides beef, you can add ground pork meat to this meat sauce.
In fact, beef combined with pork makes for a tastier meat sauce because pork meat contains flavor-giving fats.
You could use ground turkey or chicken but I’m not a fan of those meats in this sauce because they get too dry (no fats).
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Bolognese Sauce Recipe
For the Sauce:
- 2 medium Onion chopped
- 1 Carrot quartered and slices
- 2-3 large Garlic cloves chopped
- 2 Tablespoon Olive Oil
- ½ cup Wine *See Notes
- 16 ounces Ground Beef
- 3 cups Tomato Sauce
- 1 Teaspoon Salt
- Black Pepper to taste
- bunch Basil fresh
- Basil fresh
- Parmesan grated, optional
- Prepare your veggies. Chop onion and garlic, quarter carrot and slice. Keep aside.
- Heat up a pan with olive oil. Saute onion a bit over a medium heat setting. Stir occasionaly.
- Add chopped garlic and sliced carrot to the pan with the onion. Mix and sautee over medium to high heat for about 5 minutes.
- Deglaze with your wine while maintianng the heat setting. Then, mix and reduce heat.
- Add the ground beef to the pan and mix in. When done increase heat to medium setting again.
- Pour tomato sauce over meat and combine as well.
- Season with salt, black pepper and fresh basil leaves. Mix.
- Simmer for about 30 -35 minutes over slow heat. The ingredients will come together better and your sauce will get more flavorful.
- Garnish with parmesan and fresh basil and serve up hot over pasta or use in lasagne.
- Authentic bolognese is prepared with white wine, and Italian ragu meat sauce is made of red wine. Choose whatever you have at home, I picked a fruity rose wine because that’s how I like my sauce!
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