Bolognese Sauce

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • 8

    portions; enough for 2 pounds spaghetti

Appears in

The New Basics Cookbook

By Sheila Lukins and Julee Rosso

Published 1989

  • About

The traditional Bolognese sauce is most often made with ground beef, veal, or pork, and with a few chicken livers added for flavoring. And in Italy, the women get up early to put this sauce on the stove for a good, long simmer. Now with a much quicker cooking time and updated ingredients, it’s become a New Basics favorite.


  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • 1 ounce dried cèpes or porcini mushrooms
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup Chopped onion
  • ½ cup Chopped celery
  • ½ cup chopped carrot
  • ½ cup Chopped green bell pepper
  • 8 ounces prosciutto, cut into julienne
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon unbleached all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup homemade beef stock or canned broth
  • 1 tablespoon dried marjoram
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 3 pounds (48 ounces) canned plum tomatoes, with their juice
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • ½ cup Chopped fresh Italian (flat-leaf) parsley
  • ½ cup slivered fresh basil leaves


  1. Bring the wine to a boil in a small saucepan. Add the cèpes; remove the pan from the heat, and set aside.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a flameproof casserole or dutch oven. Add the beef, crumbling it into the casserole. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until browned. Using a slotted spoon, remove the meat and set it aside.
  3. Melt the butter in the casserole. Add the onion, celery, carrot, and green pepper. Sauté over low heat until the vegetables are soft and translucent, 10 to 15 minutes.
  4. Add the prosciutto and garlic cloves; sprinkle with the flour, stir, and cook another 5 minutes.
  5. Drain the cèpes, reserving the wine, and coarsely chop them. Add them to the casserole.
  6. Stir in the reserved beef, the beef stock, marjoram, oregano, basil, nutmeg, salt and pepper, plum tomatoes and their juice, and the reserved red wine. Partially cover the casserole and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 1 hour.
  7. Then add the tomato paste, and cook, uncovered, for another 15 minutes.
  8. Add the minced garlic, parsley, and fresh basil, and simmer another 15 minutes.