Classic Bolognese



serves 4 to 6

This Bolognese recipe is slightly different than the traditional version. With a classic Bolognese you’re supposed to use far less tomato, no tomato paste, milk over cream and simmer the sauce for hours and hours until the meat is virtually cooked into the sauce. I like this version over the traditional for a few reasons. This Bolognese is quicker, brighter from  higher acid-to-fat ratio, and seems to be tastier when reheated as leftovers. 


1 tablespoon olive oil 

1 pound ground beef or pork

2 oz pancetta or bacon, chopped 

1 small onion, roughly chopped 

1 small fennel bulb, cored, roughly chopped 

4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

¼ teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary

¼ teaspoon chopped fresh thyme

¼ teaspoon chopped fresh oregano 

1 tablespoon tomato paste  

½ cup red wine 

3 cups canned diced tomatoes 

1 cup beef or vegetable broth 

¼ cup heavy cream

2 teaspoons Kosher salt

For serving

Shaved Parmesan

Whole flat-leaf parsley leaves

Cooked pasta or grilled country bread


1. In a food processor, pulse the onion and fennel, or finely chop with a chef’s knife.  Reserve in a bowl for use in step 4.

2. In a large heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat the olive oil until it shimmers. When the oil is hot, begin browning the ground meat a half pound at a time. Don’t worry about crumbling it up at this point, the goal is to get some golden-brown caramelization on as much surface area of the meat as possible. Once you brown all the meat, transfer it to a bowl and reserve for step 5.

3. Sauté pancetta or bacon in the same pan until it renders some fat and begins to crisp. 

4. Add the onion and fennel, and half of the salt to the pan and sauté until the onion is translucent. Add the garlic, nutmeg, and fresh herbs. When you smell the fragrant aroma of the cooking garlic, stir in the tomato paste and the red wine. Reduce the liquid until it is almost gone.

5. Add the ground beef, diced tomatoes, and broth; bring to a low simmer. Simmer the sauce, partially covered, for one hour, stir occasionally. 

7. Finish the sauce by stirring in the heavy cream and taste for seasoning. Add the remaining teaspoon of salt if desired. 

To serve, spoon over your favorite pasta or grilled country bread, garnish with freshly shaved Parmesan and flat-leaf parsley.

This recipe is delicious with ground beef, but do yourself a favor and try it with our ground pork (bonus points for using our bacon, too!). You can only find pork this good at some farmer’s markets (if you’re lucky), and all three of our Larder boxes (if you’re really lucky):