bolognese sauce |

Italian Bolognese Sauce

bolognese sauce | I hope everyone had a great weekend! We had an awesome lazy Father’s Day at home, playing outside and spending time together. Then, my boys played video games, and I went between helping Madelyn with her Kindergarten project that we put off way too long and making an epic feast for everyone. It was a really great day!

Bolognese sauce is, in my official opinion, worth every ounce of time and effort it takes to make it. It is worth going to the store to ask for 6 slices of pancetta, and getting a funny look from the deli clerk. It is worth all of it.

There are probably 800 zillion variations of bolognese sauce out there, since it was first introduced in the late 18th century. I wanted to title mine as “authentic” bolognese sauce, but when I googled it to see if I was right, I couldn’t get a straight answer. So I couldn’t tell you if it is or not.

I did google the best red wine to use, and the results told me that Chianti was it, so off to the liquor store I went to stock up on more liquor that I would pretty much only use for cooking. That’s what I spend the majority of my money on at a liquor store, stuff to cook with. Does anyone else hear Hannibal Lector in their head … “I ate his liver with some fava beans, and a nice Chianti” when the word Chianti is mentioned?

No, that’s just me, hey?

bolognese sauce |

This bolognese sauce was an absolute hit. My family couldn’t stop raving about it, and that made the 4+ hours of cooking time worth it. I cooked mine on the stove, because I don’t use my slow cooker often. Call me crazy, but I may be one of the few people in the world who isn’t a huge fan of slow-cooker meals (I do have a few recipes that I use it for, but never for roasts or large cuts of meat).

One thing I cannot stress enough. You need to chop all of your veggies to around the same size, so that they cook at the same time … and well, it looks nicer.

I didn’t stray too much from the recipe I found, except adding a tablespoon of tomato paste to thicken it up just a touch. I’ve added this recipe to my camping meal plan, and plan on making a double batch and freezing half for a night when I want spaghetti, but don’t have the time to be close to the stove for that long.

bolognese sauce |

Italian Bolognese Sauce.

Yield: 4 servings


  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 6 thick slices of pancetta, chopped
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • Stick of celery, chopped
  • 2 lb lean ground beef
  • 2 large glasses of red wine
  • 28 oz can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 lb dried fettuccine
  • freshly grated parmesan cheese, to serve


  1. In a large, heavy bottom pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add in the pancetta and fry until crisp. Add the onions and garlic, cooking until softened.
  2. Increase the heat and add the minced beef. Cook until browned.
  3. Pour in the wine and boil until it has reduced in volume by about a third.
  4. Reduce the temperature and stir in the tomatoes, tomato paste and celery.
  5. Cover with a lid and simmer on low for around 4 hours until it's thickened, stirring occasionally.
  6. Cook the fettuccine in plenty of boiling salted water. Drain and divide between plates. Sprinkle a little parmesan over the pasta before adding the sauce. Finish with a further sprinkle of cheese and some fresh black pepper.

Recipe inspired by an article found on



  • Erica Lea | Buttered Side Up
    June 17, 2014 11:43 am

    Ah, this looks so meaty and good. I don’t cook much with pancetta, but I should give it a go. :) Lovely, enticing photo.

    • Rhiannon
      June 18, 2014 1:00 am

      Thanks, Erica! Definitely give it a try and let me know what you thought. :)

  • Kiki
    June 23, 2014 9:00 am

    What would you do differently to cook it in a slow cooker?

    • Rhiannon
      June 23, 2014 10:21 am

      Hi Kiki, I’m usually home long enough to make it on the stove, but you can definitely do it in the slow cooker too. I would just put it on low for 6 hours or so.

  • Kassandra Utzinger
    July 16, 2014 5:02 pm

    Making this as I type :) but used bacon as it was on sale and added a whole bunch of different herbs 😛

    • Rhiannon
      August 19, 2014 12:48 pm

      I’d love to hear how it turned out!

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