Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner; Styling: Rose Nguyen
6 servings

Meat-based pasta sauces are popular throughout Italy. The most prominent, ragù alla Bolognese, originated in the northern city of Bologna. Even among residents of the city from which it hails, different variations abound.

How to Make It

Step 1

Heat a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add pancetta to pan, and cook 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add chopped onion, chopped celery, and chopped carrot; cook 10 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Add ground veal, ground pork, 1 teaspoon salt, and pepper; cook 5 minutes or until browned, stirring to crumble. Stir in wine. Cook for 3 minutes or until liquid almost evaporates, stirring occasionally. Stir in tomato paste. Reduce heat to medium-low.

Step 2

Place 5 parsley sprigs and next 3 ingredients (through thyme) on a double layer of cheesecloth. Gather edges of cheesecloth together; tie securely. Add cheesecloth bag and milk to pan; bring to a simmer. Simmer on low heat 1 hour or until thick, stirring occasionally. Discard cheesecloth bag.

Step 3

Bring 6 quarts water and remaining 1 tablespoon salt to a boil in an 8-quart pot. Add pasta to pot; stir. Cover; return water to a boil. Uncover and cook 8 minutes or until al dente. Drain. Place 1 cup pasta in each of 6 shallow bowls; spoon about 3/4 cup sauce over each serving. Sprinkle each with 1 tablespoon chopped parsley.

Step 4

Wine note: A pasta with Bolognese sauce needs a wine that will balance the richness of the pork, veal, and pancetta, plus mirror the acidity of the tomato paste. A wine made from sangiovese grapes—such as Chianti—is ideal. Opt specifically for a Chianti Classico, which is richer and earthier than basic Chianti. A great wine for the price is the Banfi Chianti Classico 2005 ($14). —Karen MacNeil

Ratings & Reviews

ckingvik's Review

October 07, 2012

SusanDudley's Review

June 04, 2012
did not enjoy this at all. yes, it was edible but was VERY disappointing. i thought it was going to be this rich, heavily spiced dish and it was very bland. there was barely any "sauce". the prep was not a big deal but by the time the meat had cooked, it was so greasy/liquidy, i had to drain it. THAT was disgusting and hot and not fun. i will eat the leftovers because i hate cooking and this will make several more meals for me but will not make again. i do not advise it to anyone. was more trouble than its worth.

aneresRN's Review

July 20, 2011
I made this recipe for my family when they came to visit and everyone loved it. I doubled the milk, wine and tomato paste to give it more sauce. The veal and pork gave it a different taste then any other bolognese I've had. I will definitely be making this again.

JimMarltonNJ's Review

April 06, 2011
This dish is not what I would normally think of when it comes to pasta with a meat sauce, however the taste was exellent. I served with a spring mix salad with dried cherries, walnuts, goat cheese and flavoured balsamic vinegar.

bobbo605's Review

March 30, 2009
Definitely a good solid recipe. However I think adding some merlot or cabernet sauvignon would be good. The sauce certainly lacked a depth of flavor that I enjoy so much in Italian recipes. I like the Ragu Alla Bolognese with Fettuccine (another CL recipe) better. Not totally sure, but maybe putting the meat/veggie mixture in the crock pot this morning on low (instead of simmering for an hour as the recipe states, because I don't get home till 6PM some weeknights) made it flavorless. I'm not a big fan of crock pot cooking but I thought maybe putting it in the pot with all the seasonings would be fine. I think this recipe has potential, but I will leave that to someone else...I like my own meat sauce recipe better.

dusher's Review

March 05, 2009
This is a tasty delight! An italian pasta recipe without any garlic or olive oil, who would have thought? It is easy to make and the ragu was even better warmed over the next day. Use the very best pasta you can get to complement this wonderful Bolognese ragu. A side salad creates a wonderful meal. Use an infuser ball for the spices if you don't have cheesecloth.