italian bolognese

5 from 7 votes
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 4 hours
Total Time: 4 hours 20 minutes
Servings: 6


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 medium carrots finely diced
  • 1 small yellow onion finely diced
  • 1 red bell pepper finely diced
  • 3 cloves garlic minced OR frozen garlic cubes
  • kosher salt
  • cracked black pepper
  • 1 pound ground sweet Italian sausage or ground beef
  • 1 28-ounce can San Marzano whole peeled tomatoes not drained
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 cup red wine or low-sodium beef broth
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • ½ cup heavy cream optional
  • 12 ounces pappardelle pasta
  • Parmesan cheese for serving


  • Heat an extra large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil followed by 2 diced carrots, 1 diced onion,1 diced bell pepper, and 3 cloves minced garlic. Season with a big pinch of salt and pepper. Sauté, stirring frequently, until fragrant and veggies have softened, 3-4 minutes.
  • Add 1 lb. ground sausage or beef directly into the skillet with the vegetables. Break the meat up with a spatula or wooden spoon and cook until no longer pink.
  • Add 1 cup red wine or low-sodium beef broth, scraping the bottom of the pan. Add 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning and a 28-ounce can San Marzano tomatoes, stirring to combine and breaking up with the back of a spoon.  Top with lid and allow mixture to simmer gently on the stove for up to 3-4 hours. Alternatively, you can transfer to a slow cooker and continue cooking on low for 4 hours.
  • Just before serving stir in 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, ½ cup heavy cream (if using), and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper, to taste.
  • NOTE: You must check in on it and add more liquid if it gets too low. If it’s too soupy, remove the lid at the end of cooking to evaporate the excess liquid.
  • To serve, cook pasta and reserve some of the starchy water to thin sauce after tossing together, if needed. Top with freshly grated Parmesan and chopped Italian parsley


  • Serve with a crisp green salad and crusty bread.


  • Protein: Swap 1 lb. ground Italian sausage for 1 lb. ground beef or chicken.
  • Red Wine: Swap 1 cup red wine for 1 cup low-sodium beef, chicken, or vegetable broth.


  • Make bolognese up until the addition of balsamic vinegar and heavy cream. Freeze flat in a freezer bag for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and re-heat on the stovetop or in the slow cooker for a few hours (to allow the flavors to develop), stirring in the balsamic vinegar and heavy cream just before serving.


Calories: 610kcal | Carbohydrates: 51g | Protein: 21g | Fat: 36g | Saturated Fat: 14g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 15g | Trans Fat: 0.03g | Cholesterol: 127mg | Sodium: 758mg | Potassium: 707mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 4431IU | Vitamin C: 36mg | Calcium: 90mg | Iron: 3mg