Classic Italian Bolognese Sauce

by Emily Kemme
Classic Italian Bolognese Sauce

There are plenty of nights when I’m not in the mood to let dinner control me, meaning, I want to get out of the kitchen as quickly as possible — or I have to — because there is work to do. But then there are the lazy days, the Saturdays or when we’re taking a few days off from life, when “slow food” beckons. Taking time to create this classic Italian bolognese sauce allows your mind to rest and wander; during the process, you might be surprised by what your “time off” brain can do. Problem solving is known to happen during those times we least expect it: sleep, relaxation, meditation. Cooking can be that sort of leisure time, as well.

Take a step back and let your mind wander as you create this luscious, classically Italian bolognese sauce. Revel in the depth of flavors and celebrate a mini vacation from the everyday pace. It’s healing. I promise you.

Classic Italian Bolognese Sauce Recipe

Classic Italian Bolognese Sauce

A classic mirepoix, or slowly sauteed mixture of onions, celery, and carrots, creates the underlying structure for a bolognese sauce.

1/4 lb pancetta, diced

1 medium onion, finely chopped

1 stalk celery, finely diced

1 large carrot, peeled, finely diced

8 cloves garlic, minced

4 T unsalted butter

3 T grapeseed oil

1 lb ground pork

1 lb ground veal

1 – 10 1/2 oz can beef consommé

1 cup red wine

1 – 28 oz can tomato puree

salt and pepper to taste

2 tsp rubbed sage

1 T oregano

1 tsp red pepper flakes

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1 cup milk

1 lb thin spaghetti


In medium Dutch Oven or large, heavy pot, warm butter and grapeseed oil over medium heat until butter froths.

Add onion, celery, carrot, garlic, and pancetta.

Sauté until onions are translucent, stirring frequently so they don’t brown, about 10 minutes.

Add ground pork and veal to pot. Brown, stirring and breaking up into small pieces.

Add wine and consommé and raise heat, bringing contents to boil. Reduce until liquid is almost evaporated.

Lower heat to simmer. Add spices. Simmer covered for 20 minutes.

Add tomatoes and increase to boil, stirring.

Partially cover pot, reduce heat to low, and simmer for two hours, stirring often to prevent sauce from sticking.

Prepare pasta according to package directions. Drain and toss with olive oil to prevent sticking.

Add milk, stirring to incorporate into sauce. Simmer for 10 minutes.

Serve sauce over spaghetti.

Classic Italian Bolognese Sauce

Bolognese sauce, what slow food is all about.

Terra d'Oro Barbera

Stephanie Davis, wine educator with Winacea, thought I might expect her to pair Italian wine with Italian fare. Instead, she turned this pairing on its head, selecting a California wine made with the Italian grape, Barbera. Amador County is home to award-winning Barberas, Zinfandels and Rhone blends. The Barbera from Terra d’Oro isn’t a wimpy wine, making it a perfect accompaniment to this hearty bolognese sauce. Reasonably priced at $15/bottle.

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Award-winning author Emily Kemme writes about human nature, because living brings its own humor, angst and heroism. Follow her on her blog, Feeding the Famished,, or on Twitter @EmFeedsYou where she hopes you’ll find illumination of the everyday in a way that highlights its brilliance. Vodka and recipes optional.



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