Classic bolognese sauce

Prep 45 min
Plus Cooking time: 4 minutes
Makes 10 cups (2.5 L) (beef version); 12 cups (3 L) (chicken)

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large beefsteak tomatoes, about 1 kg
2 tbsp
medium onions, chopped
garlic cloves, minced
250 g
mushrooms, sliced about 4 cups
medium carrots, chopped
2 stalks
celery, chopped
1 kg
lean ground beef, or ground chicken
1 1/2 tsp
dried basil leaves
1 tsp
dried rosemary, crumbled
1 tsp
3/4 tsp
fennel seeds, optional
1/2 tsp
hot red-chili flakes, or 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp
1/2 tsp
black pepper
1 cup
full-bodied dry red wine
2 398-mL cans
tomato sauce, or 680-mL can tomato sauce
1/4 cup
finely chopped parsley, preferably Italian flat leaf variety, or basil


  • Peel, seed and coarsely chop tomatoes. Set aside.
  • Heat oil in a large wide saucepan set over medium heat. Add onions and garlic. Stir often until soft, about 5 minutes. Add mushrooms, carrots and celery. Stir often for 2 minutes.
  • Increase heat to medium-high and add meat. Cook meat, working it with a fork to keep it from forming into clumps, until it starts to brown, about 7 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, including any juice, basil, oregano, rosemary, fennel, if using, chili flakes, salt, pepper, cloves, wine and sauce.
  • Bring mixture to a boil, stirring often. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered and stirring occasionally, until as thick as you like, about 1 hour. Stir in parsley. Ladle into freezer containers, leaving a 1 inch (2.5 cm) headspace. Sauce will keep well in the refrigerator for up to 2 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Terrific over rigatoni, penne or fusilli and topped with grated Parmesan cheese.

Our take on one of the best Italian meat sauces uses less fat than the original. It’s worth making for the aroma alone.


Three cups (750 mL) coats 1/2 lb (250 g) pasta.


Calories 295, Protein 20 g, Carbohydrates 16.4 g, Fat 16.9 g, Fibre 3.7 g, Sodium 702 mg.
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