By Angelika Hanna

Inspired by Ina Garten’s ‘Weeknight Bolognese’, I made this delicious bolognese, and I can truly say, that it is comfort food at a high level; just the right meal on a cold winter day.

I adjusted Ina’s recipe slightly in that I used milk instead of heavy cream in my meat sauce, and I incorporated pancetta. I left out the garlic as my meat sauce is spiced up with enough other flavorful ingredients. When I googled bolognese recipes, I found many different versions; so here is my own adapted bolognese.


Prep Time: 30 min

Cook Time: Approx. 2 hrs

Total Time: Approx. 2 hrs 30 min

Yield: 4 servings

Cuisine: Italian

Author: Angelika Hanna / Zest4Food 


For the meat sauce:

  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 4 ounce diced pancetta
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 celery stalk, diced
  • 1 medium-sized carrot
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 tbsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black ground pepper
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 3 diced Roma tomatoes
  • approx. 2 tbsp tomato paste (depending on the thickness of your sauce)
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • 1/4 cup milk


  • 3/4 Trafilata al Bronzo (from La Molisana) – I agree with Ina Garden on the little shells or ears as the right type of pasta for a bolognese!

Parmesan cheese:

  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Italian Parmesan cheese (I used Grana Padano), plus extra for serving

Grana Padano is similar to Parmigiano Reggiano but a little less expensive.


Meat sauce:

  1. In a large pot, fry the diced pancetta approx. 4 min. over high heat until the pancetta begins to release fat and appears crispy.
  2. Add vegetable mix: onions, celery, carrot.
  3. Add spices: oregano, basil, pepper flakes.
  4. Saute the pancetta-vegetable mix approx. 5-7 min over medium heat, until the vegetables begin to soften.
  5. Increase heat to medium-high, add ground beef, cook the mix approx. 15 min, stirring to break up the beef chunks into small pieces until beef begins to brown.
  6. Add salt and black pepper
  7. Add the wine, milk, diced Roma tomatoes.
  8. Bring meat sauce to boil, then reduce heat to low.
  9. At low heat, let meat sauce simmer for approx. 2 hours so that all the flavors combine and blend together, stir occasionally.
  10. After about hour, check on the consistency of your sauce, add tomato paste to help thickening the sauce.


Cook pasta in a separate pot according to the package directions.

Parmesan Cheese:

When meat sauce is cooked to be served, incorporate Parmesan cheese. Give it a few stirs to mix in.

Shred some more Parmesan on top of the meal on your plate.

I hope you enjoy your Bolognese as much as I enjoyed mine.

2 thoughts on “Bolognese

  1. Hi Angelika, thanks for visiting my blog.
    You are right there are many different recipes for rag├╣ alla bolognese to be found, but as the name implies if you call it Bolognese, you should make it like it is made in Bologna. Compliments for using milk, which is very important to get the authentic flavor and left out by many. You are correct to leave out the garlic, as in Bologna nobody would use that. Same goes for chilli flakes, basil and oregano. Especially the chili flakes are only used in the South of Italy, think Naokes and below.

    Liked by 1 person

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