This traditional Spaghetti Bolognese has an ultra flavorful meat sauce that’s easy to make! Even kids and picky eaters will love this classic Italian meat sauce.
There are no words to describe how much my family loves this slow cooked meat sauce. Serve it up with a tall glass of milk and some cheesy garlic bread and you’ve got an award winning meal packed with protein and the best Italian flavors.
Meat to Sauce Ratio
Traditional Spaghetti Bolognese recipes are made with very little marinara. The authentic version is mostly made of meat.
Me? I like a little bit more sauce in my pasta, so feel free to use a 28 oz. can instead of the 18 ounces noted in the recipe. You can always start with 18 ounces and add more as you see fit.
Bolognese Sauce Ingredients
See recipe card at the bottom of this post for ingredient quantities and instructions.
- Olive Oil– High quality goes a long way!
- Yellow Onion
- Garlic– Mince fresh cloves yourself for ultimate flavor
- Beef- I use 80% lean
- Italian Sausage- Sweet or Hot, (I use hot)
- Red Wine– Chianti, Pinot Pior, Merlot are great in Bolognese sauce. See below for substitution options.
- Crushed Tomatoes- Make sure you get the ground stuff, not chunky diced tomatoes.
- Rosemary– fresh or dry
- Sage– fresh or dry
- Parsley– to garnish
- Grated Parmesan– to garnish
Bay Leaves and red pepper flakes may also be added to the sauce prior to simmering.
Want to try creamy Bolognese sauce?
- Add 1 tablespoon of softened cream cheese to the sauce mixture.
How to Make it
Soften the vegetables and brown the meat.
Add red wine, crushed tomatoes, and seasonings. Simmer for an hour and stir occasionally.
Stir in cooked spaghetti. Top with grated Parmesan and serve!
Difference between Bolognese Sauce and Spaghetti Sauce
Traditional bolognese sauce is primarily comprised of meat (ground beef), with just a bit of tomato sauce. Spaghetti sauce is mostly made of tomato or marinara sauce and can be completely meat free.
Red Wine Substitutes
- Alcoholic Options include white wines such as Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio or Orvieto.
- Non-Alcoholic Options include Red Wine Vinegar, Tomato Juice, or 2 TBS tomato paste + 1 cup beef broth. See here for additional options.
- This spaghetti Bolognese reheats well in the microwave or on the stove top.
- Store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator, it’s best if eaten within three days.
- Bolognese Sauce makes a great freezer food and is best if you can freeze it separately from the pasta.
- To freeze, let it cool completely. Store it in a labeled airtight container. It’s best if you use is within 3 months.
- Boil fresh pasta once ready to serve it.
- Let it defrost in the refrigerator overnight if possible. Reheat in the microwave or on the stove top.
PSST: If you do freeze it with the spaghetti mixed in, it’s totally okay. I do it all the time. 😉
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Did You Make This Recipe?
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- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 carrot, diced
- 1 celery stalk, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- ½ pound ground beef, 80% lean
- 6 oz. ground Italian sausage, sweet or spicy
- 1 cup red wine, see note 1
- 18 oz can ground/crushed tomatoes, see note 2
- 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, or 1/4 tsp dry
- 1 teaspoon fresh sage, or 1/4 tsp dry
- Salt/Pepper, to taste
- 12 oz. spaghetti, (3/4 of a 1 lb. box.)
- Fresh parsley, to garnish
- Parmesan cheese, to garnish
- Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large saucepan.
- Add the onions, carrots, and celery and cook until softened. About 5 minutes.
- Add the meat and cook for 10 additional minutes, crumbling and stirring occasionally.
- Deglaze the pan with the wine.
- Add the tomatoes and seasonings. Let simmer for one hour, partially covered.
- Taste it and season with salt and pepper if desired.
- Cook the spaghetti according to package instructions. Drain well. Use kitchen tongs to toss the spaghetti into the saucepan with the pasta sauce.
- Garnish with fresh parsley and Parmesan cheese and serve!
- Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio or Orvieto.
- Red Wine Vinegar, Tomato Juice, or 2 TBS tomato paste + 1 cup beef broth. See here for additional options.
Note 2: I use a full 28 oz. can of crushed tomatoes when I make this recipe, you can adjust this based on your preference. Authentic Bolognese has less tomato sauce than this.
A bay leaf and a pinch of red pepper flakes may also be added if desired.
For creamy Bolognese sauce, Add 1 tablespoon of softened cream cheese to the sauce mixture.
Homemade cheesy garlic bread and a side salad with Copycat Olive Garden Salad Dressing is perfect with this meal!