Bolognese sauce recipe – meaty goodness
The humble bolognese sauce recipe can be exceptionally complicated or pretty straightforward. Given we’ve tried a heap of them, we now lean towards the latter.
We’ve done the slow food thing, simmering the sauce for eight hours. But we keep coming back to this one which is incredibly easy, quick and tasty.
And that’s not just our opinion – as a standby we’ve served it up for lots of friends. They’ve all asked for the recipe, so here it is. Our one tip is using several different types of meat to add depth and flavour.
The below quantities for the meat are approximates – don’t torture yourself (or your butcher) to get them bang on.
Also among the ingredients is a tub of tomato paste and sugar. If we’ve made Peg’s tomato sauce recipe we use 2 tbsp of that instead of the tomato paste and sugar. If you haven’t made the tomato sauce, do yourself a favour – it’s so good, people eat it by the spoonful.
We don’t use expensive ingredients in our bolognese sauce recipe. The tomatoes/paste are pretty much just the ‘home brand’ from our local supermarket. The red wine also doesn’t need to be a prized bottle – as long as you’re happy to drink a glass of it on its own, it will work in this sauce.
We use a heavy-based frying pan to brown the meat and then either a casserole dish or deep frypan for the other ingredients. More on that in the method.
We prefer a ‘meaty’ sauce rather than have a dominant tomato flavour. If you would like more tomato, amp up the paste and reduce the powdered beef stock.
- 800 grams minced beef (hamburger mince is good – it’s not too lean)
- 200 grams minced chicken thigh
- 200 grams minced pork
- 200 grams minced veal (if you can find it)
- 1 large brown onion
- 4 cloves garlic (crushed)
- 2 tbsp butter or oil (doesn’t matter which type of oil)
- 3 cans crushed tomatoes
- 1 tub tomato paste (145 grams)
- 1 tbsp sugar
- Cup of red wine
- 9 tsp good quality powdered beef stock
- 1 tbsp dried mixed herbs
- 1 cup milk/cream (optional – gives a richer sauce but it’s not absolutely necessary)
Brown the meats in one smoking-hot pan (preferably heavy-based), in small batches (a maximum of 400 grams at any one time). This ensures the meat doesn’t ‘stew’. You don’t need to add any oil or butter here.
As one lot browns, transfer it to a bowl and continue in small batches until all the meat is done.
At the same time, in a separate casserole or high-sided frying pan, melt the butter (or use oil) with the crushed garlic and mixed herbs over low heat.
Finely chop the brown onion and toss into melted butter mixture. Add a little salt so the onion doesn’t brown.
When onions are translucent, add the red wine. Simmer to reduce by half.
Add canned tomatoes, tomato paste and sugar, bring back to a simmer.
Add beef stock (you don’t need to dissolve this in water first). Mix well. Add the browned meat and simmer to desired consistency. We only simmer for around 10 minutes.
If you want to add milk or cream, do it during this simmer. It may take a little longer to get to your preferred consistency.
And you’re done. When you serve it up, grate some beautiful parmesan over the top (none of the canned/pre-grated stuff please) and enjoy.
This bolognese sauce recipe makes a significant quantity, which we decant into smaller containers and freeze. We have 400ml containers which easily serve two people.
You need to thaw out your container first. Microwave is fine, but don’t put a frozen hunk into a pan.
We tend to reduce the sauce a bit further when reheating to intensify the flavour. Once it’s hot enough, toss in your cooked pasta (and yes, we’re Aussies, so we use spaghetti – don’t hate us!), stir to combine and then add some of the pasta cooking water to achieve the consistency you prefer.