Easy Authentic Bolognese Sauce Recipe

LAST UPDATED: Oct 21, 2019 | PUBLISHED: Oct 27, 2015 | By: Julie Blanner

An easy and authentic Bolognese sauce recipe is hearty and a favorite with adults and kids alike! This healthy, fresh and fragrant fall and winter recipe serves as the best way to sneak in vegetables. Pasta, vegetables and beef – it’s a traditional weeknight dinner that is sure to please!

easy bolognese sauce recipe with spaghetti in skillet with text overlay

We’ve been enjoying a busy fall filled with travel, fall family fun and school festivities.  It seems planning and shopping for dinners has become more difficult than ever, which has resulted in more takeout than I care to admit.  And when I stumbled upon this beautiful recipe from the New York Times, I knew I had to get back in the kitchen.

One of my biggest challenges is to get the girls to eat healthy. Okay, me too. I’m always looking for ways to sneak in veggies and protein without complaints. This simple bolognese sauce was so flavorful that they never noticed, and begged for more! If you’re looking to take the stress out of cooking, I encourage you to try it out! Okay, onto the bolognese sauce recipe, because it was amazing! In fact, I’ve already made it again. It is so quick, easy and perfect for a brisk evening.

homemade bolognese sauce tossed with spaghetti pasta in stainless steel skillet

What Is Bolognese Sauce?

Basically, it’s a traditonal Northern Italian ground meat sauce with diced vegetables and a hint of tomato flavor tossed with spaghetti pasta. But the best part is the foundation of aromatic vegetables you saute first to really heighten the dish. I love it because it’s a way for me to sneak in vegetables for my kids, myself included!

carrots, rosemary, brussels sprouts, onion, tomato sauce, garlic, parsley, butter on marble countertop

Bolognese Sauce Recipe Ingredients

  • Carrots – Peel and dice as small as you can so they go unnoticed.
  • Onion – Savory and aromatic, this makes the bolognese sauce recipe all the more divine.
  • Rosemary – One of my favorite fall and winter herbs, the rosemary is so aromatic and savory. Simply remove the leaves from the stems and chop until fine.
  • Garlic – It wouldn’t be Italian without some garlic. Mince by hand for the best garlic flavor.
  • Olive Oil – My favorite is California Olive Oil. Store in a cool, dark place so your olive oil lasts longer. Heat and light tend to degrade olive oil.
  • Ground Beef – Purchase ground beef at the meat counter at your grocery store or from your local butcher. I like to buy grass fed beef for the best and most nutritional variety.
  • Tomato Sauce – One 8 oz can is enough to give the bolognese sauce recipe a hint of tomato flavor. Purchase an organic brand, if possible.
  • Spaghetti – An authentic Italian spaghetti makes all the difference. It is made from finer Italian semolina flour, which is superior in flavor.
  • Butter – A little butter goes a long way to make this bolognese sauce glossy and divine.
  • Brussels Sprouts – I know, it sounds strange, but the Brussels sprouts provide a pop of green color at the very end and it’s another way to sneak in some veggies. Prepare the Brussels sprouts by peeling the delicate leaves with your hands and wash gently in a large bowl of cold water.
  • Parsley – Fresh, bright and green, always purchase flat leaf Italian parsley. The curly parsley doesn’t have much flavor.
  • Pecorino – Salty, tangy, and delicious. Purchase a whole block of Pecorino from the cheese counter with the Italian rind intact. Grate it at home for the best flavor.

carrots, onion, rosemary and garlic sauteing in stainless steel skillet with wooden spoon

How To Make Traditional Italian Meat Sauce:

  1. Bring a large pot of water to boil.
  2. Dice carrots, onions, rosemary and garlic small so that they go unnoticed.
  3. In a large saute pan, heat olive oil over medium high heat. Add vegetables and cook until tender. Add ground beef and cook until brown.
  4. Then, add the tomato sauce and 1 cup water, bring to boil, then reduce to simmer and cook until the bolognese sauce recipe is thickened.
  5. Meanwhile, add the pasta to the boiling water. Cook 1 minute less than the package directions.
  6. Add pasta, butter, peeled Brussels sprouts and 1/2 cup pasta cooking water to the pan with beef. Toss 2-3 minutes until luscious and glossy.
  7. Garnish with chopped fresh parsley and grated Pecorino cheese when ready to serve!

traditional bolognese sauce recipe tossed with pasta in stainless steel skillet

A Few Tips For The Best Homemade Recipe:

  • Dice the vegetables as small as possible to ensure they blend into the homemade bolognese sauce recipe. Your kids will never know!
  • Cook the pasta 1 minute less than the package directions since it will continue to cook when tossing in the pan with the meat sauce.
  • Reserve the Brussels sprouts for the very end to lock in their bright green color!

More Pasta Sauce Recipes You’ll Love:

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easy bolognese sauce recipe with spaghetti in skillet with text overlay

Bolognese Sauce Recipe

An easy and authentic Bolognese sauce recipe is hearty and delicious. Sneak in some vegetables with this traditional weeknight dinner!
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Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 753kcal

Ingredients

  • 2 carrots
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 1 bunch rosemary
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1⅛ lbs ground beef
  • 1 8- oz can tomato sauce
  • 10 oz spaghetti
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 6 oz brussels sprouts
  • 1 bunch parsley chopped
  • ¼ c pecorino grated

Instructions

  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
  • Wash, dry and dice carrots, onion and rosemary leaves. Peel and mince garlic.
  • In a large pan, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the garlic, carrots, onion and rosemary and cook 6 minutes until tender. Add ground beef and cook until browned (about 5 minutes).
  • Add tomato sauce and 1 c water and bring to a boil. Reduce to medium to simmer, stirring occasionally and scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan, 7 to 9 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened.
  • Meanwhile, add the pasta to the pot of boiling water. Cook 8 to 10 minutes.
  • Add pasta, butter, brussels sprouts (peeled) and ½ cup of pasta cooking water. Cook on medium-high, stirring frequently to coat the pasta, 2 to 3 minutes until thoroughly combined and the Brussels sprouts are bright green.
  • Garnish with fresh parsley and pecorino to serve.

Notes

Dice the vegetables as small as you can so they blend into the sauce.

Nutrition

Calories: 753kcal | Carbohydrates: 67g | Protein: 36g | Fat: 38g | Saturated Fat: 15g | Cholesterol: 112mg | Sodium: 546mg | Potassium: 1005mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 5886IU | Vitamin C: 45mg | Calcium: 151mg | Iron: 5mg
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