Authentic Bolognese Sauce

If you think you’ve tried spaghetti Bolognese before, I have bad news. That tomato-rich red sauce that incidentally got the name “Bolognese” in the biggest part of the world, has little to do with the original, authentic Bolognese sauce.

Although unusual for most traditional Italian recipes, The Italian Academy of Kitchen (Academia Italiana della Cucina) did create their original authentic Bolognese sauce recipe in 1982. I’ve actually never found this one on the internet, but my recipe is basically the Bolognese sauce that you get in Bologna or Emilia-Romagna.

How to Use Authentic Bolognese Sauce

Bolognese sauce is a perfect accompaniment to almost any kind of Italian pasta.

You can make the favorite dish of the Emilia-Romagna region, the spaghetti alla bolognese. Just add spaghetti al dente to your authentic Bolognese sauce, top it with some grated Parmigiano-reggiano (Parmesan) cheese, and you’re ready to go. I recommend you to try this with penne, in my opinion this is better for chunky sauces. In Italy also pappardelle is a very popular pasta with this sauce.

A good Bolognese sauce is also the main ingredient of the famous lasagne Bolognese (or lasagna Bolognese in the US).

How to Store Bolognese Sauce

Authentic Bolognese sauce being quite time-consuming to prepare, my advise is to make as big quantity as you can. In the pictures, I made 4 times the quantities in this recipe.

You can store it in plastic containers or bags in your freezer. Whenever you crave for a good spaghetti Bolognese, you’re ready to go in a few minutes time.

By the way, Italians do it this way. They make a very large quantity of their sauces (ragu or sugo), store it in the freezer, and only use the amount they need for dinner or lunch.

Try the authentic Bolognese sauce and compare it to whatever you’ve thought Bolognese sauce was!

Original name: Ragù alla bolognese

Authentic Bolognese sauce

Authentic Bolognese Sauce

Balazs Szilagyi
Authentic Italian version of the classic Bolognese sauce
No ratings yet
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours 20 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 35 minutes
Course Sauce
Cuisine Italian
Servings 8 servings


  • 1 stalk celery
  • ½ pound ground pork 250 g
  • ½ pound ground beef 250 g
  • 3 oz pancetta 100 g
  • 1 cup red wine 240 ml
  • 1 cup whole milk 240 ml
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée (passata di pomodoro) 30 g (or use 1 tsp tomato paste)
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ stick unsalted butter 50 g
  • salt
  • pepper


  • For making authentic Bolognese sauce, first make a purée of the carrot, the celery and the onion with a blender (called sofrito in Italian). If you don't have a strong blender, simply grate the vegetables.
    Authentic bolognese sauce recipe 1
  • Grate the pancetta, make this also look like a purée. If it's difficult to get Italian pancetta in your neighborhood, you can use bacon instead.
  • Heat the olive oil and the butter in a large pan. Add the vegetable purée and let the water content evaporate. It takes about 15 minutes to get the right consistency.
  • Add the ground pancetta, pork, and beef. Stir occasionally over medium heat, and let it simmer for 30 minutes until all liquids evaporate.
    Authentic bolognese sauce recipe 8
  • Pour in the wine and let it simmer for about 5 minutes.
    Authentic bolognese sauce recipe 9
  • Stir in the tomato purée. If you use tomato paste, dilute it first in the chicken stock. If you use tomato purée or canned tomatoes, you don't need the stock. If you prefer canned tomatoes, use 1 ½ cups for this recipe. Salt and pepper according to taste.
  • Cook your authentic Bolognese sauce for 90 minutes over medium low, stirring occasionally. Add some chicken stock or water to compensate for the evaporated liquids.
    Authentic bolognese sauce recipe 11
  • Pour in the milk little by little. It's important to use whole milk, some Italian recipes even call for half and half. I used cream and whole milk in 1:4 ratio. Let it come to a simmer once again, than turn off the heat and your authentic Bolognese sauces is ready.
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1 thought on “Authentic Bolognese Sauce”

  1. I have a REALLY simple, yet rellay good recipe for Spahetti sauce.Start with 1 lb ground beef. Brown it in a skillet, drain most of the fat off and add it to a large pot. Leave the layer of fat in the skillet and saute a large white onion and a few cloves of garlic and some mushrooms. Add those to the pot with the beef. add one can of tomato puree and two small cans of tomato paste. Add about 1/2 tsp of salt, about 1 tbls parsley, about 1/2 tsp of pepper, and 2 bay leaves, I also add a little sugar too (about 1 tbls). Add 1/2 cup of water and stir together. (you can add more or less of the spices till it tastes right) Let it simmer for a few hours. Cook your spaghetti noodles and place some noodles on each plate and pour the sauce over the noodles.


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