This Bolognese sauce is dedicated to the late great Marcella Hazan. She was considered the Julia Child of Italian food, and at a time when most Americans thought 'Bolognese' was spaghetti sauce with chunks of hamburger, Marcella taught us just how magnificent this meat sauce could be. I like to toss it with some mezzi rigatoni and serve it with a little grated Parmesan cheese and a sprinkle of parsley.

Recipe Summary

prep:
15 mins
cook:
3 hrs 20 mins
total:
3 hrs 35 mins
Servings:
6
Yield:
6 servings
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Ingredients

6
Original recipe yields 6 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified
Ingredient Checklist

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Melt butter with olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat; cook onion, celery, and carrot with pinch of salt until onion turns translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir ground beef into vegetables and cook, stirring constantly until meat is crumbly and no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Season meat mixture with 1 1/2 teaspoon salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, and nutmeg.

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  • Pour milk into ground beef mixture and bring to a simmer. Cook, stirring often, until most of the milk has evaporated and bottom of pan is still slightly saucy, about 5 minutes.

  • Raise heat to medium high and pour white wine into ground beef mixture; cook and stir until white wine has mostly evaporated, about 5 more minutes.

  • Pour tomatoes with juice into a large mixing bowl and crush them with your fingers until they resemble a slightly chunky sauce. Pour tomatoes into sauce; fill can with 2 cups water and add to sauce. Bring to a simmer.

  • Reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring often, until mixture cooks down into a thick sauce, at least 3 hours but preferably 4 to 6 hours. Skim fat from top of sauce if desired. If sauce is too thick or too hot on the bottom, add a little more water. Taste and adjust seasonings before serving.

Nutrition Facts

394 calories; protein 22.6g 45% DV; carbohydrates 14.2g 5% DV; fat 20.9g 32% DV; cholesterol 84mg 28% DV; sodium 935.1mg 37% DV. Full Nutrition

Reviews (120)

Read More Reviews

Most helpful positive review

Rating: 4 stars
09/15/2014
Awesome recipe! Would change just a few things - I would add fresh minced garlic to the sauteed veggies, and add my seasonings there. Cooking them in the oil I find generally brings out more of the flavor. I would also add oregano or Italian seasoning blend - although a great sauce, wasn't super flavorful and that's my preference. Otherwise, I think it's a definite keeper and just in time for the weather to turn chilly. Thank you for sharing! Read More
(36)

Most helpful critical review

Rating: 3 stars
11/05/2013
I liked learning the technique of using the milk but something about the flavor of this was just...off. It tasted too much like wine and not like anything else. I will definitely try using my own seasonings next time! Read More
(21)
152 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 111
  • 4 star values: 29
  • 3 star values: 8
  • 2 star values: 2
  • 1 star values: 2
Rating: 4 stars
09/15/2014
Awesome recipe! Would change just a few things - I would add fresh minced garlic to the sauteed veggies, and add my seasonings there. Cooking them in the oil I find generally brings out more of the flavor. I would also add oregano or Italian seasoning blend - although a great sauce, wasn't super flavorful and that's my preference. Otherwise, I think it's a definite keeper and just in time for the weather to turn chilly. Thank you for sharing! Read More
(36)
Rating: 5 stars
05/26/2014
I made this recipe as written. It was a masterpiece. I have never made anything like this in my life that tasted this complex. Thank you for the recipe! I have enjoyed watching you on Youtube. (Next time, I might add a little handful of brown sugar at the end to take a little of the acid bite of the tomatoes away, but seriously perfect as is). I ate it without noodles just in a bowl =) Read More
(35)
Rating: 3 stars
11/04/2013
I liked learning the technique of using the milk but something about the flavor of this was just...off. It tasted too much like wine and not like anything else. I will definitely try using my own seasonings next time! Read More
(21)
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Rating: 5 stars
09/13/2017
First time, followed the recipe and instructions and the results were delicious! Second time, like any cook, I wanted to add my own touches: 1) Divided meat 1/2-ground chuck, 1/2 ground sweet Italian sausage; 2) Added 1 tsp. of garlic powder to spices; 3) Used Half & Half instead of 2% milk; and used 2 jars of thick & hearty sauce (time-saver). Flavor, consistency was amazing! Note: Follow stirring instructions, increasing times to obtain desired consistency. SAVE PASTA WATER - A cup of the pasta water will come in handy to loosen up the rich sauce if you find it too thick. I used it and it not only loosened the sauce, but it enhanced it as well. Read More
(16)
Rating: 5 stars
04/14/2017
I made this last night and my Sicilian husband who doesn't like red sauce declared it the best red sauce he's ever eaten! Although I usually stick to the recipe I did make several changes on this one. I added 4 slices of bacon, diced, with the other fats and added 2 cloves of garlic. He hates carrots so I shredded them to hide them in the sauce. I used only Italian sausage for the meat and only used 2.5 links. Substituted Stewed Italian tomatoes for the whole tomatoes, and swapped out the milk with heavy cream. I only used 1/2 tsp. salt and substituted 1 can of low sodium chicken broth for the water. I did skim off the fat before serving which eliminated some of the fat...hey! don't judge me :) Read More
(12)
Rating: 4 stars
11/19/2018
Fabulous- just like our favorite Italian restaurant version! I did add 2 cloves of crushed garlic (because what is Italian without garlic??) and I don’t do alcohol at all so subbed 2 cups beef stock for the white wine. Perfect! Read More
(10)
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Rating: 5 stars
05/07/2017
I followed the recipe without making any changes and the flavour was so very different to the "meat sauce" I've made in the past. Certainly more time consuming but worth it! Read More
(8)
Rating: 5 stars
09/22/2017
I thought this was an excellent recipe. The taste was fantastic. I doubled the recipe to have leftovers to freeze. I couldn't use the wine in the recipe so I added half chicken broth and half beef broth. The only issues that I found was that it did take longer to simmer each step than stated which wasn't really an issue for such a yummy recipe. It was worth the time. I also felt that it was a little thin when it was done cooking so I had to add some tomato paste at the end to thicken it up. That didn't alter the recipe at all. It was fantastic and I'm glad that I doubled the recipe to freeze some leftovers for future use. Nice job Chef John. Read More
(8)
Rating: 5 stars
10/17/2017
I followed the recipe exactly, as I usually do with a new recipe. This was so amazingly perfect, I will probably never make any changes. Well, maybe I'll double it. The sauce only improves with long cooking time. And I really don't like chopping carrots. Read More
(6)