If you're looking for a Bolognese recipe that's rich in flavor, easy to make, and deliciously authentic, you have come to the right place.
1/4cupextra virgin olive oil
1/2medium onion, diced
2ribs celery, diced
1 large carrot, peeled and diced
1lb. 80/20 ground beef
1cupcooking wine (optional)*
16ounceswhole, peeled San Marzano tomatoes**
1parmesan rind (optional)***
1lb.thick pasta such as pappardelle or tagliatelle
Parmigiano-Reggiano for garnish
Heat a large dutch oven to medium heat. Add the olive oil and once warmed add the onion, celery, and carrots, and cook until soft and vegetables have begun to caramelize, about 10-20 minutes. Do not overcook or burn vegetables- if heat is too high adjust heat to medium-low or low.
Crumble the ground beef over the vegetables, stir to combine, and cook until the meat is cooked completely and no longer pink. If using, add the cooking wine and cook until evaporated, about 5-10 minutes. Add the whole milk and cook until also evaporated, another 5-10 minutes.
Using an immersion blender, traditional blender or food processor, pulse tomatoes for a few seconds, until they are mostly blended, but small scant pieces are still intact. Add the tomatoes, bay leaf, and parm rind to vegetables and meat and stir to incorporate. Salt to taste. Cook for a minimum of 2 hours and up to 5 hours, on the lowest possible simmer, uncovered, stirring every so often. Once complete, taste again and add additional salt if needed. Discard the parm rind and bay leaf.
Once Bolognese is about 30 minutes from being done, prepare the pasta. Heavily salt a large pot of water and bring to a boil. Cook pasta until al dente, reserve 1 cup of pasta water, strain pasta and set aside. Using tongs, gently combine Bolognese, 1/2 cup pasta water, and 2 Tablespoons of butter with pasta. If pasta seems too dry add additional pasta water, a splash at a time. Top with copious amounts of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano and enjoy immediately.
*Bolognese is traditionally prepared with red or white wine. You can swap for cooking wine if you don't drink, or omit the cooking wine completely. We tested this recipe with and without cooking wine side by side and didn't notice a significant difference. **Whole, peeled San Marzano tomatoes are our preferred tomatoes to use in this recipe. They are typically sold in 32 oz. cans in most stores (look at the bottom shelf) and yield some of the best flavor. You can use half for this recipe and save the rest for another pasta dish or pizza sauce. In a pinch, any kind of tomatoes will work for this recipe-- just make sure the quantity used is 16 ounces. ***Parmesan rinds are often underutilized and add incredible flavor to dishes such as this Bolognese. You can store parmesan rinds of your own in the freezer for a recipe like this, or oftentimes grocery stores or European markets will sell them to customers.