This easy spaghetti bolognese sauce recipe is filling and full of flavor. Made with simple pantry ingredients, this meat sauce comes together quickly and is perfect for feeding a crowd. Perfect for an easy family weeknight meal but fancy enough to serve to guests!

Bolognese served with pasta on a white plate
Originally published November 2011. Updated with new photos 2016 and tips 2020.

One of our favorite dinners is bolognese. I love it for a Sunday supper, but you can count on us having it at least once a week, regardless of the night.

It’s so simple to make, but tastes like a lot of effort went into it. I often make it when I’m entertaining because it’s easy to make in abundance and looks as amazing as it tastes. It’s always a crowd pleaser among both children and adults.

It’s rich, flavorful and hearty and will warm you up on even the chilliest winter night! If you love pasta dinners, you’ve got to check out my homemade bucatini pasta recipe, served with this Amatriciana sauce, fettuccine alfredo recipe and this delicious pasta con broccoli. All are surefire family hits!

A lot of bolognese recipes call for carrots and celery. While I enjoy that with a hint of cream, in the winter I prefer this richer, meatier sauce and it’s a lot less effort. I think you’ll enjoy it, too! It’s so full of flavor, for me it’s the ultimate in comfort food.

To Make This Pasta Bolognese Sauce Recipe, You Will Need:

  • Bacon – Bacon really adds to the depth of flavor to the sauce and adds a little smokiness to it. Use a good quality natural bacon.
  • Onion
  • Ground Beef – The beef is the main ingredient for this sauce. Use a good quality grass-fed beef if you can as it has a much better flavor.
  • Milk and Red Wine – Milk adds a little creaminess to the finished sauce and the red wine adds a depth of flavor. You don’t need to use an expensive red wine, but one with good body like a cabernet sauvignon is best.
  • Tomato Paste – Tomato paste adds a strong tomato flavor to the finished sauce, and is a quick way of adding flavor.
  • Parmesan  Freshly grated parmesan gives a much better flavor and is preferable to pre-grated which can dry out.
  • Fresh Basil and Parmesan to Garnish
  • Noodles – I like to serve pasta bolognese with a wide noodle such as pappardelle, but you can use your favorite. Use store bought or make your own.

How To Make My Easy Pasta Bolognese Recipe

This pasta dish comes together quickly and easily, and is perfect for a family meal.

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and prepare noodles.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan on medium heat, add bacon and fry until almost crisp.
  3. Add chopped onion and cook until tender.
  4. Add ground beef and cook until no longer pink.
  5. Add olive oil, milk, wine, and tomato paste. Reduce on medium low.
  6. Stir parmesan into the sauce. Add noodles to your saucepan and toss.
  7. Add a few large spoonfuls of pasta water to thin sauce if desired. Serve over fresh pasta like Pappardelle and top with parmesan and fresh basil.
Close up of fresh basil garnish on top of the bolognese sauce

What Do You Serve With Spaghetti Bolognese Sauce?

I like to serve my bolognese sauce a top of a pile of wide noodles, so that they collect all of that delicious meat sauce, pappardelle is ideal. Spaghetti, bucatini and tagliatelle are also favorites.

This pasta pairs really well with an Italian SaladPear Salad or Apple Salad.

You can also serve this alongside CrostiniHomemade Bread or Garlic Bread with Olive Oil Bread Dip!

Pasta and sauce served on a white plate with a fork

Can You Make This Bolognese Recipe Ahead Of Time?

It’s always best to serve the pasta freshly cooked, but you absolutely can make the bolognese sauce ahead of time. Once you have made the sauce, let it cool and transfer to an airtight container and keep in the fridge for 2 to 3 days. You can also freeze the sauce for up to 3 months.

Tips To Make This Spaghetti Bolognese Sauce Recipe

  • Use the best ingredients you can in this recipe for the richest and most flavorful dish. The red wine doesn’t need to be expensive, but use one with good body like a cab, zinfandel or merlot.
  • You can substitute the red wine if you wish with a rich beef stock.
  • The sauce can be made ahead of time and served on top of fresh cooked pasta.
  • Freeze the sauce in an airtight container and thaw in in the fridge the night before. Gently reheat on the stovetop to serve.
  • If the sauce is too thick for your taste, you can thin it with a little water from the cooked pasta if you wish.
  • Don’t skip the fresh basil – it adds the best flavorful to this delicious dish!
A gold fork in pasta bolognese

If you try this easy pasta bolognese recipe, please come back to share using my 5 star rating in the comments below! Not only do I appreciate it, but I know readers do, too! 

The best bolognese sauce - easy & flavorful bolognese recipe
5 from 9 votes

Easy Pasta Bolognese

My easy pasta bolognese recipe is filling and full of flavor. Made with simple pantry ingredients, this meat sauce comes together quickly and is perfect for feeding a crowd. Perfect for an easy family weeknight meal but fancy enough to serve to guests!
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Total: 25 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Pin Rate Print

Ingredients  

  • 3 slices bacon sliced in 1/4″ strips.
  • 1/2 yellow onion chopped
  • 1/2 pound ground beef
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1/3 cup parmesan
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • 1 box/homemade noodles (about 2 1/2 cups)
  • fresh basil
  • fresh parmesan

Instructions 

  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil & prepare noodles.
  • Meanwhile, in a large saucepan on medium heat, add bacon and fry until almost crisp.
  • Add chopped onion and cook until tender.
  • Add ground beef and cook until no longer pink.
  • Add olive oil, milk, wine, and tomato paste. Reduce on medium low.
  • Stir parmesan into the sauce. Add noodles to your saucepan & toss.
  • Add a few large spoonfuls of pasta water to thin sauce if desired. Serve with parmesan & fresh basil.

Tips

Use the best ingredients you can in this recipe for the richest and most flavorful dish. The red wine doesn’t need to be expensive, but use one with good body.
You can substitute the red wine if you wish with a rich beef stock.
The sauce can be made ahead of time, but be sure to serve it on top of freshly cooked pasta.
Freeze the sauce in an airtight container and thaw in in the fridge the night before. Gently reheat on the stovetop to serve.
If the sauce is too thick for your taste, you can thin it with a little water from the cooked pasta if you wish.

Video

Calories: 680kcal | Carbohydrates: 119g | Protein: 37g | Fat: 31g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Cholesterol: 61mg | Sodium: 514mg | Potassium: 857mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 515IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 201mg | Iron: 4mg

Estimated nutrition information is provided as a courtesy and is not guaranteed.

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14 Comments

  1. This sounds delicious. Unfortunately I cannot consume two of the ingredients, bacon and wine. Can you recommend any substitutions?

    1. You could eliminate, but honestly, I think the wine gives it a lot of great flavor. Keep in mind that the alcohol evaporates if that’s your concern. Enjoy!

  2. My go-to Bolognese is Martha Stewart’s, always the best. I make a big batch and freeze it. This looks good if one is in a hurry.

  3. Wow your blog is just wonderful! Interesting you only use tomato paste? Doesn’t it end up slightly to sweet? I usually use only a little tomato paste and lots of fresh tomatoes. A great trick to thicken and combine all ingredients well without cooking it for several hours is to cover your pot with an Aluminium foil once all ingredients are combined and put it into the oven for 30 minutes. You will end up with a fantastic thick and flavorful sauce. 🙂

    1. Thank you, Claudia! I have done that with several sauces, including this one, but nothing beats the flavor of tomato paste with this particular recipe. I love doing that with my tomato & basil sauce though – thanks for sharing!

  4. I’ve been wanting to try this and hadn’t gotten around to searching out a recipe…and then I saw your link on Rebecca’s You Are Talking Too Much Link Party!!! Isn’t life awesome like that!!

    This looks pretty easy and so delicious!! I’m definitely Pinning and Trying!!! 🙂 Thank you!!!