Classic Bolognese Sauce


This recipe from Cook’s Illustrated rivals any Bolognese I’ve eaten in Italian restaurants. To double, increase the simmering times for the milk and the wine to 30 minutes each, and the simmering time to 4 hours once the tomatoes are added. I usually quadruple and freeze extras.


  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped onion

  • 2 tablespoons minced carrot

  • 2 tablespoons minced celery

  • ¾ lb  meatloaf mix or ¼ lb each ground beef, pork & veal, or ½ lb each ground beef and pork

  • Salt and pepper

  • 1 cup whole milk

  • 1 cup dry white wine or vermouth

  • 1 (28‑ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes, drained with juice reserved, tomatoes chopped fine
    Freshly grated Parmesan


1. Heat 3 tablespoons butter in a large heavy-bottomed Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion, carrot, and celery and cook until softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in meatloaf mix and 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook, breaking up meat with wooden spoon, until it loses its raw color but has not yet browned, about 3 minutes.

2. Stir in milk, bring to simmer, and cook until milk evaporates and only clear fat remains, 10 to 15 minutes. Add wine, bring to simmer, and cook until wine evaporates, 10 to 15 minutes.

3. Add tomatoes and reserved tomato juice and bring to simmer. Reduce heat to low so that sauce continues to simmer just barely, with an occasional bubble or two at surface, until liquid has evaporated, about 3 hours. Season with salt to taste. (Sauce can be refrigerated for up to 2 days or frozen for up to 1 month.) Warm over low heat before serving.

Susan JohnsonComment