Try This! Ragù alla Bolognese (Eating Well Magazine)

It has been a couple of weeks since I shared a favorite recipe. Although I generally don’t repeat recipes very often, this one has probably been made at my house more often than any other recipe. First, it is because the Knight loves this dish. Second, we have an abundance of ground venison in the freezer, which I use in place of the beef. Third, I can make a big batch of this and freeze it in small portions for later use. It’s a win-win-win situation!

Growing up, we always made a traditional tomato meat sauce. It was very tomatoey and spiced with lots of basil, oregano, and garlic, This sauce, however, is much meatier but it is delicious in its own way. It is time consuming, so it is best made on a weekend day (note the four hours of simmer time). From start to fiinish it takes around 6 hours.

For a little more kick, I often substitute ground (venison) sausage for 1/4-1/3 of the meat, but do what sounds good to you.


Ragù alla Bolognese (Classic Bolognese Meat Sauce)

Photo credit: Eating Well

From EatingWell:  November/December 2009

This is a version of the famous meat sauce of Emilia Romagna, of which Bolognais the capital. Giuliano Hazan’s family is from Emilia Romagna, and he learned to make Bolognese sauce from his mother, Marcella, who learned it from her grandmother, Mary. Its classic pairing is with homemade tagliatelle or pappardelle but it’s also very good with rigatoni, shells or any substantial pasta shape, preferably one with ridges, that has nooks and cavities to trap the sauce. (Adapted from How to Cook Italian by Giuliano Hazan; Scribner, 2005).

About 10 cups, for 20 servings | Active Time: 1 3/4 hours | Total Time: 5 3/4 hours


  • 2 small yellow onions, finely chopped
  • 4 small or 2 large carrots, cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 4 stalks celery, cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 pounds lean ground beef (90% or leaner)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups dry white wine
  • 2 cups low-fat milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 28-ounce cans plus one 14-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes


  1. Put onions, carrots, celery, butter and oil in a heavy-bottomed Dutch oven and place over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are lightly browned, 8 to 15 minutes.
  2. Add ground beef and break it up with a wooden spoon. Season with salt and continue stirring until the meat has lost its red color, about 4 minutes.
  3. Add wine and cook, stirring occasionally, until it has almost completely evaporated, 18 to 25 minutes. Add milk and nutmeg and cook, stirring occasionally, until the milk has mostly evaporated, 12 to 18 minutes.
  4. Coarsely chop tomatoes and add them and their juice to the pot. Once the tomatoes have started bubbling, reduce the heat to low so that the sauce is barely simmering. Cook uncovered for 4 hours, stirring occasionally. If all the liquid evaporates before the cooking time is up, add water 1/2 cup at a time as needed. After 4 hours, make sure all the liquid has evaporated before you remove the sauce from the heat. Blot or skim any fat from the surface before serving.


214 Calories; 11 g Fat; 4 g Sat; 5 g Mono; 49 mg Cholesterol; 8 g Carbohydrates; 15 g Protein; 2 g Fiber; 316 mg Sodium; 420 mg Potassium

1/2 Carbohydrate Serving

Exchanges: 1 vegetable, 2 lean meat, 1 fat

Nutrition Note: Vitamin A (40% daily value), Vitamin C (20% dv), Zinc (23% dv).

Tips & Notes

  • Make Ahead Tip: Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 5 days or freeze for up to 3 months. Thin with a little water when you reheat it, if desired.



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