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Bolognese Sauce for Traditional Lasagna Bolognese


Use this sauce to make our Traditional Lasagna Bolognese.

  • Yield: Makes about 3 quarts
traditional lasagna bolognese

Photography: Maria Robledo

Source: Martha Stewart Living, February 2001


  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 onions, cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 3 stalks celery, cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 3 carrots, cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 2 pounds ground sirloin
  • 2 pounds ground veal
  • 1 quart whole milk
  • 2 cups dry red wine
  • 1 quart Homemade Beef Stock, or two 14 1/2-ounce cans
  • 1 cup tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper


  1. In a large cast-iron or enamel pot, heat butter and olive oil over medium heat.

  2. Add onions, and cook until they begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add celery and carrots, and cook until the vegetables are tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Add ground sirloin and veal, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the meat is no longer pink. Add milk, and cook at a gentle simmer, skimming fat from surface, until the liquid has reduced by half, about 50 minutes.

  3. Add wine, and simmer until liquid is reduced by half again, about 40 minutes.

  4. Add beef stock, tomato paste, salt, and pepper; simmer gently until sauce thickens, 40 to 45 minutes. If using for lasagna, set aside to cool slightly before assembling. The sauce can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, or in the freezer for 2 months.

Reviews Add a comment

  • MS12532069
    21 MAR, 2017
    The first time I made this bolognese, it was for the Traditional Lasagna Bolognese on this site. After the hours of reducing and cooking, my husband and I tasted this bolognese before using it in the lasagna. This bolognese was the best we have ever tasted. However, once the lasagna was made, the entire dish was only mediocre, considering the amount of time and work (and cost) that went into it. Although I have never made the lasagna again, this bolognese has become a family favorite. It does make plenty of bolognese for several dinners for our family of five. The first day night we all enjoy as much as we want, and have enough leftover to freeze for two-three more meals. The only changes I make are reducing the amount of onions slightly, as that is a family taste preference.
  • besides
    15 DEC, 2012
    As Curtismem pointed out this recipe does take a long time to make. Reducing the liquid is what takes time, but its worth it. It is one of the best bolognese recipes I've tried. I've probably made it now about 10-12 times and its always a hit.
  • Curtismom
    5 JAN, 2009
    I would not recommend this sauce. This recipe took all day to prepare and the end result tasted like a bland shepherds pie with noodles. If you are looking for a great Bolognese sauce, there is a recipe on this site for a Spaghetti Bolognese using the remaining sauce for a Bolognese pie the following day.