Martha's traditional Bolognese sauce recipe calls for. It's not as heavily based on tomatoes as typical Italian-American meat sauces, in fact the meat is cooked with white wine, milk, and chicken stock in addition to tomatoes.



For soffrito
For sauce


Instructions Checklist
  • Heat butter and oil in a large pot over medium-high heat until butter starts to sizzle, then reduce heat to medium. Add pancetta, and cook until golden and fat has rendered, about 2 1/2 minutes. Add onion, carrot, and celery, and cook, stirring often, until just beginning to brown around edges, about 10 minutes (adjust heat if mixture is browning too quickly).

  • Add beef and pork and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently and separating meat with the back of a wooden spoon, until no longer pink, 8 to 10 minutes. Once meat is completely browned, pour off any excess fat. Add tomato paste and cook 1 minute, stirring to intensify sweetness.

  • Pour in wine and cook, stirring to scrape up browned bits from bottom of pot, until liquid has evaporated, 6 to 7 minutes. Add 1 cup milk and cook until reduced by half, about 3 minutes (don't worry if it appears slightly curdled, it will smooth out again). Add thyme bundle and bay leaves, and then pour in tomatoes and 6 cups stock. Season with 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.

  • Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a very low simmer and cook, partially covered, 3 to 3 1/2 hours, skimming the fat from the surface with a ladle periodically. If at any time the sauce appears too dry, add up to 1 cup more stock as necessary. The finished sauce should have the consistency of a loose chili. Stir in remaining 1/4 cup milk and season with salt and pepper, as desired. If not serving immediately, let cool completely before transferring to airtight containers. Refrigerate up to 3 days or freeze up to 3 months; defrost in the refrigerator before using.

Reviews (7)

227 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 47
  • 4 star values: 55
  • 3 star values: 63
  • 2 star values: 45
  • 1 star values: 17
Rating: 5.0 stars
All you knuckleheads who have given this a bad rating - it’s because you don’t know how to COOK! You say you followed the recipe but nooooo you didn’t. You f****d it up somewhere. I’ve made it numerous times and it always come out delicious. lololol
Rating: 5 stars
I have followed this to the "T" a number of times. It is the most delicious Bolognese ever. My husband is a big fan of Bolognese, and says it is the best he has ever had. It is something that with patience, you will be rewarded for. It is thick, rich and full of flavor. For those that mentioned it was too watery, I wonder if possibly while simmering the lid was left on (fully covered?) The instructions say to simmer 'partially covered'. I always leave a 1-2 inch opening (lid partially off to the side.) It allows the liquid to evaporate, resulting in a thick and rich sauce.
Rating: 5 stars
If you are patient for a low simmering classic, this is it. If you are impatient about making an immediate masterpiece, watery slop, you've come to the wrong recipe. I followed this to the T and it reduced down to the most luscious reduction of imbedded flavors -- and will be used atop stuffed shells and the rest reserved for a Tagliatelle Parmesan. Previous commentors are ....boneheads -- NO recipe is perfect. If you can't cook, face facts. Cooking is an art more than a science. Love you Martha!
Rating: 1 stars
Someone says the 6 cups chicken broth is an error, while I just ruined a pot of this (even after 3.5 hrs simmering) since it is so watered down now lacking a good tomato flavor. Added the rest of the tomato paste did not help.
Rating: Unrated
I added 4 cups chicken stock and I hope it reduces because it is so runny!!! It says to add 6? Is this correct?
Rating: Unrated
JW Adding 6 -7 cups of chicken stock can't be correct! This needs to be corrected
Rating: Unrated
This is a very good authentic and basic recipe. I would advise to make sure you finely chop the onions, carrots and celery. I did a small to medium chop and even after hours of simmering I could still identify carrot rounds and celery bits. I think these ingredients are supposed to meld into the sauce. I did not use any chicken broth because I thought that would make it much too thin. I can't understand how they came up with 6 cups of broth.
Rating: Unrated
Please advise: Step 3, last sentence is incomplete. "Season with 1..." what? Many thanks!