Bolognese Sauce

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Makes

    7 to 8 cups

Appears in

From Scratch: 10 Meals, 175 Recipes, and Dozens of Techniques You Will Use Over and Over

From Scratch

By Michael Ruhlman

Published 2019

  • About

This is a delicious meat sauce, enriched by milk, which is cooked off so that the solids brown and deepen the flavor. It’s great as is on spaghetti, and will make enough for one big pan of lasagna. Hell, why not add some chili powder and serve it on buns as sloppy Joes? This recipe can be halved.

For a vegetarian version, sauté 2 pounds/900 grams diced cremini mushrooms. Make the sauce without the meat, then add the mushrooms about 5 minutes before serving and allow them to simmer in the sauce.


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • 2 celery ribs, diced
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • 2 pounds/900 grams coarsely ground meat (preferably a mix of pork, veal, and beef)
  • 2 cups/480 milliliters milk
  • 1 cup/240 milliliters dry red wine
  • 6 cups/1.5 liters plain tomato sauce (a good store-bought version is fine)
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano or 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce (if you have it on hand; optional, needless to say)


In a large pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. When it is hot, add the onion, carrot, and celery and cook until softened, 5 minutes or so. Hit them with a four-finger pinch of salt as they cook.

Add the meat, and cook, breaking it up as much as possible. When it has lost all its pinkness, add the milk and simmer until all the liquid has cooked off and the milk solids begin to brown.

Add the wine and stir. When the wine has come to a simmer, add the tomato sauce, oregano or bay leaves, and fish sauce (if using). When it has resumed a simmer, taste it and add more salt if needed. Simmer the sauce for 45 to 60 minutes, until thick.