Simple Bolognese sauce is a hearty and savory classic meat sauce. Even though it takes a few hours to make, it really is an easy recipe because most of the time is hands-off cooking time. So grab a book, a glass of wine and relax and enjoy the aroma of the simmering sauce.
This homemade and tasty bolognese sauce is a pasta sauce recipe that everyone will love, and I mean everyone because I’m also including a vegetarian/vegan option that is just as delicious.
Here is what you will need to make homemade traditional Bolognese sauce: ground beef, Italian sausage, celery, onion, garlic, carrots, red wine, strained tomatoes, milk.
For the vegetarian version, you will need mushrooms, walnuts, and nut milk to replace the meat and milk.
First, The Wine
A few weeks ago, I attended a local wine tasting and pairing dinner. These dinners are a fun night learning about wine, and pairing with delicious food. We were served six courses that were perfectly paired with wines from a handful of small vineyards northern Italy. One of the courses included beef ravioli with Bolognese sauce which inspired me to make my own Bolognese sauce.
This is a lighter version of Bolognese sauce and I served it with linguine,so I chose to pair my sauce with a lighter, every day wine, Castello di Nieve Barbera d’Alba Basarin 2013. This wine is a smooth tasting wine which is made from 100% Dolcetto grapes.
Wine made with Dolcetto grapes is fruity (but not sweet) and low in acidity and is often described as an easy drinking and food-friendly wine. It is a pretty versatile wine when it comes to food pairing. You can enjoy Dolcetto wine with a wide variety of foods such as; a healthy charcuterie board , pizza, roasted chicken, homemade Bolognese sauce or you might even like it with this Mediterranean Chicken in a Slow Cooker.
A fun fact about these wines, is that they are made with grapes grown with a Green Attitude, which means the wineries are farming responsibly and leading efforts in conservation and sustainability.
Simple Bolognese Sauce
Bolognese sauce which originated in Bologna Italy, is a and super flavorful sauce that’s typically made with ground meat, tomatoes, wine, cream and what is called the holy trinity in many cuisines; diced celery, onions, and carrots.
Homemade Bolognese sauce starts with the celery, onions and carrots combined with garlic and olive oil. The flavor builds as the meat and other ingredients are gradually added to the sauce. Once you have a taste of this amazing sauce you will agree it was well worth the time waiting for it to cook.
Here is How to Make Simple Bolognese sauce
The ingredients are added gradually to the sauce to build a robust flavor. The meat, vegetables, wine and tomatoes are added, the sauce simmers slowly over low heat. This recipe takes approximately 1 1/2 to 2 hours to make, so plan ahead.
How to Make Vegetarian Bolognese Sauce
A vegetarian version of bolognese gets it’s meaty texture from chopped mushrooms and walnuts. They are cooked in the wine and sauce just as you would the meat. It’s super flavorful and hard to tell the difference in both appearance and taste.
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Tips And Variations for Making Simple Bolognese Sauce
The best wine to use
The rule of thumb is to use the wine that you are going to drink with the meal in your recipe. If that doesn’t work, try a good Cabernet, Merlot, or Pinot Noir. If you don’t like to use wine in your cooking, you can substitute it with beef, chicken or vegetable broth. The wine adds so much flavor to this sauce and the alcohol cooks out, therefore, I highly recommend using wine if at all possible.
Meat Recommendations for making homemade Bolognese Sauce
There are many variations and ways to make Bolognese sauce. I like to use half ground beef and half Italian Sausage. Other options are a combination of ground, beef, pork and veal; ground beef and pancetta or just ground beef. This is the kind of recipe that you really can’t mess up, so use whatever you like for meat.
Vegetarian Bolognese Sauce Variations
I like too use mushrooms and walnuts to replace ground meat. The combination of the two has a meaty texture and the walnuts also add a little extra protein. Even if you are a meat eater, I suggest you give this version a try, you really won’t miss the meat in this sauce.
The best tomatoes to use in homemade Bolognese sauce
My preference is to use pure strained organic tomatoes without added salt like these strained tomatoes from Bionature . These tomatoes are pure tomatoes without any additives. They taste fresh, and you can control the amount of salt in the sauce by seasoning it to the way you like it.
Bolognese sauce tastes great with a heartier pasta such as linguine, tagliatelle, pappardelle, rigatoni or even lasagna.