Ragu Bolognese

Ragu Bolognese


1 large sweet onion, chopped
2 medium carrots, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
6 cloves garlic, sliced
1 pound brown mushrooms, chopped (optional – I like to “bulk up” the meatiness of the dish with these)
1 1/2 pounds ground beef (or venison)
1 pound ground pork (preferably pork shoulder)
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
1 tablespoon dried basil
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 6-oz. can tomato paste
1 15-ounce can tomato sauce
1 cup milk (I have used every kind, from skim to whole)
1 cup white wine


Place the onion, carrot, celery, garlic and mushrooms (if using) in a food processor. Pulse until the vegetables are at a very fine dice. Set aside.

Meanwhile, heat a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium high heat. Add the beef and pork. Cook until browned, stirring frequently, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon as it cooks. Drain, if desired, and return meat to pan.

Add the vegetable mixture to the pot along with the salt, basil, oregano, pepper and crushed red pepper flakes. Continue to cook for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are completely soft and everything is well combined.

Add the tomato paste, tomato sauce, milk and white wine and stir. Simmer over medium low heat for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Season with salt, to taste, and remove from heat.


Absolutely delicious and one of our all-time favorites. Easy, too.

Traditionally, ragu Bolognese is made with veal, pork and pancetta; mine is modified for the sake of cost and convenience. I also use more tomato paste, and add tomato sauce, oregano and basil. To each his own, I say! I rarely condone the use of a food processor for vegetable preparation, in this case, I encourage it so that the vegetables kind of melt into the sauce after the long simmer. It’s perfect.

I usually store mine in 2-cup containers and take one out for a quick one-off dinner of sauce over boiled pasta, two containers for dinner + lunch leftovers, or two containers for a weekend lasagna or stuffed shells. It’s a great staple to have on hand!


8 thoughts on “Ragu Bolognese

  1. Thanks Carlos!

    And Elliott – this is ragu specific to Bologna, which is made with milk and white wine, so definitely, the milk is necessary. And be patient. šŸ˜‰ Leave it to simmer for that couple of hours (and really, an hour and a half is enough).

    I'm going to also post a Ragu Napoletano at some point, too, which is much more a “tomato and meat sauce” – another Italian ragu lesson from Mario Batali!


  2. This pasta sauce makes me completely miss eating meat. I don't call myself vegetarian, I eat fish, but have found that dropping the other meat makes me feel good. HOWEVER, I do reserve the right to eat a nice bowl of this with my family on a Sunday afternoon with a nice red wine. Girl, this looks GOOOOOOOD. Total comfort food in my book.


  3. Pingback: Venison Tortelloni Bake | Hunt, Cook, Eat

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s