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Pappardelle bolognese in large pan with tongs.

Authentic Bolognese With Pappardelle

Recipe for the super hearty and delicious authentic bolognese sauce over pappardelle.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours
Total Time 3 hours 10 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 875kcal
Author James


  • 1 pound pappardelle or tagliatelle
  • 1/2 pound pancetta
  • 1 large celery rib
  • 1 medium carrot
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground 80/20 chuck
  • 1 28 ounce can plum tomatoes
  • 3/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup low sodium beef stock
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream


  • Cube the pancetta and dice celery, carrots and onion into small pieces. Pulse the whole tomatoes in a blender for a couple of seconds.
  • Saute the pancetta on medium-low heat for 5 minutes, then add in the veggies and continue to cook for 10 more minutes until they are translucent and soft.
  • Turn heat to medium and add the ground beef to the pot. Use a wooden spoon to break the meat into small pieces. After the meat has browned and cooked through add 3/4 cup of white wine and scrape the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon to dislodge all the flavor bits.
  • Cook the wine out for 10 minutes, then add the 1 cup of low sodium beef stock and all the crushed plum tomatoes. Stir it all together, turn heat to low, then cover with a tight-fitting lid and let cook for a minimum of 2 hours.
  • Every 20 minutes or so check that the sauce is not drying out and sticking to the bottom of the pot. If so, add in a half to 1 cup of water and stir to combine.
  • After 2 hours the fat from the meat and the pancetta will float to the top and the ragu will have thickened somewhat. Stir to combine then add the milk and optional cream. Stir and cook at a simmer for 15-30 minutes more.
  • If the sauce is not thick enough continue to cook for another 20-30 minutes before saucing the pasta. Prior to saucing, taste test and adjust salt and pepper if required.
  • To sauce the pasta add a few ladles of the bolognese sauce to a pan over medium-low heat, then add in the 'al dente' pasta and cook for 1-2 minutes so that the pasta can absorb the sauce. Add extra sauce as required and serve with grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese. Enjoy!



  • Serving - Makes 4 large portions or 6 smaller sized ones.
  • Sauce - Saucing the pasta in the pan is optional, but preferred, as the sauce tends to slide off otherwise.
  • Salt - The pancetta and beef stock add a lot of sodium already, but adjust to taste prior to saucing.
  • Overnight Tip - Cooking the sauce the day before adds a tremendous amount of flavor upon reheating the next day.
  • Pasta shape - Flat wide noodles such as pappardelle, fettuccine and tagliatelle work best with the heavy ragu.
  • Milk/Cream - When using fresh pasta only milk is needed.  For dry use the extra 1/4 cup of cream.
  • Freezing - Bolognese sauce can be frozen for up to 6 months and just needs to thawed and reheated on the stove-top.


Calories: 875kcal | Carbohydrates: 80g | Protein: 48.3g | Fat: 36.4g | Saturated Fat: 12.6g | Cholesterol: 191mg | Sodium: 1050mg | Potassium: 1241mg | Fiber: 3.1g | Sugar: 11.6g | Calcium: 112mg | Iron: 7mg