Bolognese sauce is a classic Italian meat sauce. It’s usually served with wide noodles like tagliatelle, but works with just about any pasta. In Italy the recipe is actually registered and has standards for what ingredients need to be used to make it truly an authentic Bolognese.

I’m not that exact. Mostly because I don’t always have pancetta on hand. So the recipe I’m sharing today is a hybrid recipe of the classic Italian Bolognese and what most Americans call Spaghetti sauce. It’s hearty and meaty and full of flavor.

Growing up I had no idea what Bolognese was even though every Friday night we had it with spaghetti. It was simply called spaghetti in my house. It wasn’t until my early twenties that I realized the difference.

Over my 20 years of cooking, this recipe has had many variations and always gets better and better each time. One of the best additions to my childhood recipe is the soffritto.

A soffritto is the Italian holy trinity of vegetables that start out the dish (the French have a similar version called a mirepoix). In this case it is the combination of onion, carrot, and celery that have been finely chopped and cooked in olive oil until soft. Some recipe also add garlic, or herbs like rosemary to the soffritto but the base of onions, carrots, and celery is always there.

The addition of the soffritto added wonderful flavor and texture to the sauce and gives it a really good body. As does the addition of wine and brown sugar. The flavors dance in your mouth and make it a super satisfying experience.

Recipe hack…

A great time saving hack for this recipe is to make up the soffritto ahead of time. Make a large batch of it and once the veggies are soft, cool it, portion it out and freeze (or refrigerate) for later use.

This sauce can be used over any pasta or even for making homemade Lasagna. It also freezes well so it’s great for making a double batch and saving half for a rainy day. I love having a portion or two in the freezer. It makes a satisfying and quick dinner.


Bolognese Sauce aka Spaghetti Sauce

A hearty classic sauce of meat, tomatoes, and spices. Done right it is utter perfection over pasta or veggies.

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Category: Main Course
  • Cuisine: American, Italian


Units Scale
  • 1 TBS Olive Oil
  • 1 Large Onion (Minced)
  • 1/4 tsp Black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 2 Stalks Celery (Minced)
  • 1 Large Carrot (Minced)
  • 1 Large Garlic cloves (Minced)
  • 1 LB Ground Pork
  • 2/3 cup Red Wine
  • 1 15 oz can Tomato Sauce (Plus half the can of water )
  • 1 1/2 TBS Brown Sugar
  • 1/2 TBS Thyme- fresh (Minced)
  • 1/2 TBS Marjoram -fresh (Or Oregano, minced)
  • 1 1/2 tsp Rosemary – fresh (Minced)


  1. Place a large sauté pan over medium-high heat and add the oil. Once hot add the onion, salt and pepper. Sauté a minute and then add the celery and carrots. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the veggies are soft.
  2. Once the veggies are soft add in the ground pork and cook until brown, breaking up large chunks of pork as you stir.
  3. Once browned add the garlic cloves and cook for 1 minute. Add the wine and deglaze the pan.
  4. Once with wine has cooked down to half it's original volume add the can of tomato sauce. Fill the tomato sauce can halfway with water and swirl it gently so the remaining sauce combines with the water, then add it to the pan and stir together.
  5. Stir in the sugar and spices and allow to simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.. In that time the flavors will combine and the water will cook out of the sauce.
  6. Serve over pasta or veggies.


If you are using dried herbs for this recipe use 1 tsp each Thyme and Marjoram and 1/2 tsp Rosemary.


  • Calories: 403

Keywords: Bolognese, Dinner, Italian, Pasta, Sauce, spaghetti, tomato

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Alycia Louise
Alycia has worked in the food industry for over 10 years. She lives in the PNW with her husband and three dogs. Her likes include coffee, rainy days and horror movies.
Articles: 251

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