Bolognese Sauce

Bolognese sauce (Ragu alla Bolognese) gets it’s name from the city of Bologna in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy, where the sauce originated. Many people think of Bolognese as being a tomato sauce, but it really should be more of a meat sauce with a little tomato (some even claim it should have no tomato at all). This recipe may have a little more tomato in it than some traditionalists would be comfortable with, but when it all cooks down, it is still very much a meat sauce. We do have another Variation in our Tagliatelle alla Bolognese recipe that excludes the canned tomatoes and uses only tomato paste. Why two versions? Because they are both excellent and choices are always a good thing.

1/4 cup olive oil
1 small onion, chopped fine
1 carrot, chopped fine
1 celery stalk, chopped fine
1/4 pound pancetta, chopped coarsely
1-1/2 pounds ground beef, preferably chuck
1-1/2 pound ground pork
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 28 ounce can imported Italian plum tomatoes, passed through a food mill
1 cup meat broth, hot
salt and pepper to taste

  1. In a large deep sauce pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot and celery, cook stirring occasionally until the onion is translucent, about 10 minutes.
  2. Add the pancetta, ground beef and ground pork, turn heat to high and cook, stirring occasionally until meat is browned, about 15 minutes.
  3. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste and meat broth, and season with salt and pepper. Let come to a boil, then lower the heat to low and simmer for 2 hours, stirring occasionally. The sauce should be thick with very little liquid left.