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
  • kosher salt and cracked black pepper
  • 1 lb. sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
  • 1 cup red wine or low-sodium beef broth
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 (28-oz) can San Marzano whole peeled tomatoes, not drained
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • ½ cup heavy cream (optional)
  • 12 oz. pappardelle pasta
  • freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for serving
  • chopped Italian parsley, for serving


  • Heat an extra large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil, 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. sausage 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, scraping the bottom of the pan. Add 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning and 28 oz. 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, 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 12 oz. pappardelle pasta in a pot of boiling salted water according to package directions. 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 to complete this meal.


  • Protein: Swap 1 lb. Italian sausage for 1 lb. ground beef or chicken.
  • Vegetarian: Replace 1 lb. sausage with 1 lb. diced mixed mushrooms.
  • Red Wine: Swap 1 cup red wine for 1 cup low-sodium beef, chicken, or vegetable broth.
  • Gluten-Free: Use a gluten-free pasta for serving or serve over polenta.


  • 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 reheat 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