Starting out with a mirepoix, i.e. onion, carrot, and celery, is the foundation for a great Bolognese. Finely chop your vegetables, “sweat them out” in olive oil (you don't want too much color, sauté them until they're translucent), and they’ll basically disappear into the sauce, leaving their sweet and savory flavors behind.
Fragrant garlic, rich and tangy tomato paste, a splash of dry white wine (you can use red, too!), and aromatic bay leaf are what amp up the sauce even more, taking your Bolognese to the next level. So, don't skip any of these building blocks.
Cooking your sauce for a total of almost two hours might seem tedious, but trust us, it’s worth it. Simmering allows the wine to cook off and concentrate and for all the flavors to really get to know each other.
Adding milk may sound strange here, but it’s actually ESSENTIAL to rounding out a true Bolognese. Simmering a whole cup of milk for 45 minutes turns the sauce silky and the meat tender. Serve your Bolognese over pasta and be sure to garnish with lots of freshly grated Parmesan Cheese. While you’re at it, why not double the recipe and freeze half? Think of it as a gift to yourself on a night when you’re short on time and hungry AF.
1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 carrot, peeled and finely chopped
1 stalk celery, finely chopped
1 lb. ground beef, remove fat if necessary
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 c. dry white wine
1 (15-oz.) can crushed tomatoes
3 tbsp. tomato paste
2 c. low sodium beef (or chicken) broth
1 bay leaf
1 c. whole milk
3/4 tsp. kosher salt / coarse Sea Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
In a large Dutch Oven (covered earthenware or cast-iron container for cooking casseroles) over medium-high heat, heat oil. Add onion, carrot, and celery, and cook until soft, about 7 minutes.
Stir in beef and garlic, breaking up meat with back of a spoon. Cook until no longer pink and lightly seared, about 8 minutes.
Add wine, and bring mixture to a simmer. Cook until wine is mostly reduced. Stir in tomatoes, tomato paste, stock, and bay leaf, then reduce heat and simmer for 1 hour, allowing flavors to meld.
Discard bay leaf, then gradually stir in milk. Cover with a lid slightly ajar and simmer, stirring occasionally, until milk is fully incorporated, about 45 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.