Homemade Bolognese Sauce with Gigli Pasta

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If you love Italian food, then our homemade Bolognese sauce is a must-try. This classic recipe takes time and patience to prepare but the end result is worth it! When served with Gigli pasta, which is said to be native to Southern Tuscany, this dish creates a truly unforgettable culinary experience.

This easy-to-follow dish is sure to be an instant favorite for anyone who loves classic Italian foods. Get ready to tantalize your taste buds with slowed cooked heavenly goodness with this homemade Bolognese sauce recipe!

Homemade Bolognese Sauce with Gigli Pasta

What is Bolognese Sauce?

Bolognese sauce is a traditional Italian meat sauce that is usually made with ground beef, pork, and veal with a mirepoix (carrots, celery and onion), tomatoes and milk or cream. The sauce is slow-cooked for several hours to allow the flavors to develop and the sauce to thicken.

Bolognese sauce is most commonly served over pasta, but it can also be used for baked ziti, lasagna and many other dishes. The sauce is hearty and filling, and it’s perfect for a winter meal or dinner party.

What is the difference between Bolognese sauce and spaghetti sauce?

Bolognese sauce is a thick, rich sauce made with ground meat. It is typically simmered for several hours to develop its deep flavor. Spaghetti sauce, on the other hand, is a thinner sauce made with tomatoes, herbs, and spices. It is most commonly used as a topping for spaghetti.

There are many variations of both sauces, so it really comes down to personal preference which one you prefer. Some people prefer the richness of Bolognese sauce, while others enjoy the slightly tangy flavor of spaghetti sauce. Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide which sauce you like best!

Homemade Bolognese Sauce with Gigli Pasta

Key Ingredients Needed

See recipe card for full ingredient list.

  • Pancetta  – Pancetta is the secret ingredient that will take your savory sauce to new heights. Its salty goodness brings out the best in vegetables and meat, an ideal base for simmering, ensuring that every bite has been infused with exquisite taste.
  • Ground Chuck – You can also use ground beef, pork or turkey or a mix of all three!
  • Tomatoes – We used San Marzano style whole peeled tomatoes but you can also use canned crushed tomatoes or even fresh tomatoes.
  • Mirepoix – A mirepoix is a classic French culinary concoction that consists of finely chopped carrots, celery and onion. This combination serves as the flavorful foundation for many hearty soups and stews – adding depth to each dish it touches!
  • Garlic – We prefer fresh garlic cloves but feel free to use garlic paste or jarred minced garlic being mindful of the added ingredients. We rarely use packaged garlic due to the unnecessary additives.
  • Tomato Paste – Tubed tomato paste is recommended. Tube-packed versions tend to have a rich, intense taste with less water content and added preservatives.
  • Red Wine – We used a cabernet sauvignon. Adding red wine to your Bolognese sauce is a great way to bring out the flavors. Not only does it provide depth and complexity, but also adds an extra layer of richness. If you prefer not to use wine you can substitute it with beef stock or water.
  • Whole Milk – A traditional ingredient in Bolognese sauce. You can use heavy cream or half and half.
  • Beef Base – You know how much we love using chicken, turkey and beef bases and this dish is no different. Our favorite brand is Better Than Bouillon.
  • Italian Herbs – While not traditional, this Italian classic can be elevated to new heights with the addition of herbs. Bay leaves, oregano and parsley lend an aromatic depth that transforms this timeless dish into a truly flavorful experience! Feel free to get creative with different herbs such as thyme, rosemary and marjoram.
  • Gigli Pasta – Also known as Gigli Toscani, this curly and twisty Italian creation is like delightful little ribbons. Its unique shape adds texture to any meal, making it an ideal choice for anyone looking to switch up their pasta dishes. Feel free to use your choice of dried or fresh pasta.
Homemade Bolognese Sauce with Gigli Pasta ingredients

How to Make Bolognese Sauce

Prep the Veggies: Finely chop onion and celery. Peel and grate carrots. For quick chopping, use a food processor or blender. Mince the garlic.

Cook the Pancetta: Over medium heat, cook pancetta in a large Dutch oven until crispy, about 10 minutes. Remove the pancetta from the pot and set aside on a paper towel.

Sauté the Veggies: Increase heat to medium-high and add butter and olive oil to the Dutch oven with the pancetta grease. Add your chopped onions, carrots and celery. Cook until the vegetables start to soften, about 5-6 minutes.

Add garlic to the mirepoix and cook for another minute before adding ground beef chuck. Season with salt and pepper.

Brown the Beef: Add beef to the veggies. Cook over medium high heat while stirring constantly until the meat is browned nicely and the water has evaporated, about 6 – 7 minutes. Note: Make sure there is no liquid in the pan at this point!  Stir in the tomato paste and beef bouillon. Cook for another 1-2 minutes.

Deglaze the Pan: Deglaze the pan by pouring in the red wine and scraping up any bits at the bottom of the pan (also known as fond).

Add Additional Ingredients: Crush the peeled tomatoes with your hand or a masher. We prefer using our hands! Add the water (or beef stock), milk, crushed tomatoes, browned pancetta, bay leaves, oregano, parsley, a pinch of salt and pepper to the pot, stirring well.

Simmer on Low: Once simmering, reduce heat to low and continue simmering for about 2 -3 hours, stirring occasionally, until meat is tender and sauce has thickened.

If the sauce reduces before the beef is tender then add a little bit of water and continue cooking. If meat is tender before sauce reduces, then continue simmering uncovered. Once meat is tender and sauce has thickened, discard bay leaves and season to taste.

Cook the Pasta: Cook pasta of your choice (we used Gigli) until al dente or according to package instructions.

Assemble: Transfer pasta to Bolognese sauce along with 1/4-1/2 cup of pasta water if needed. Mix well.

Serve on a platter topped with fresh parsley, grated parmesan cheese or diced green onions. Enjoy!

Homemade Bolognese Sauce with Gigli Pasta

How to Store

This sauce tastes even better the next day! You can store the leftovers in an airtight container in your refrigerator for up to 4 days. Bolognese sauce can also be frozen for up to six months.

Tips for Success

Here are a few tips for making your Bolognese sauce even better:

  • Use a mix of ground beef, pork, and veal. This will give the sauce a richer flavor.
  • Cook the meat slowly over low heat. This will ensure that the meat is cooked through and that the flavors have time to develop.
  • Use a variety of herbs and spices. This will add depth of flavor to the sauce. Some good choices include basil, thyme, oregano, and parsley.
  • Skim unwanted fat. Using a spoon skim off oil that pools on top of your sauce.
  • Use pasta you have on hand. Don’t have Gigli pasta? Bolognese goes great with just about pasta, especially pappardelle and tagliatelle.

With these tips in mind, you can make a truly delicious Bolognese sauce that your family will love!

FAQs

How can Bolognese sauce be served?

Bolognese sauce can be served a variety of ways. One popular way is to simply top the pasta with the sauce and serve it as is. Another option is to bake the pasta and sauce together in the oven until the pasta is tender and the sauce is bubbly and golden brown on top.

What are some good accompaniments for Bolognese pasta?

Some good accompaniments for Bolognese pasta include a green salad, garlic bread, and a glass of red wine.

How can leftovers be used?

If there are any leftovers, they can be reheated in a saucepan or microwave and served as is or used to make a new dish such as lasagna.

So, there you have it! Our delicious homemade Bolognese sauce recipe is sure to satisfy your Italian food cravings. This dish takes some time and patience to prepare, but we promise it’s worth the wait. Buon appetito!

Looking for more delicious main dishes?

Homemade Bolognese Sauce with Gigli Pasta

Homemade Bolognese Sauce Recipe with Gigli Pasta

Posted by Dee
This easy-to-follow dish is sure to be an instant favorite for anyone who loves classic Italian foods. Get ready to tantalize your taste buds with slowed cooked heavenly goodness with this homemade Bolognese sauce recipe!
5 from 35 votes
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours
Total Time 3 hours 20 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Servings 4 servings
Difficulty Medium

Ingredients
  

  • 1 medium red onion, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 medium carrots or 8-10 baby carrots, peeled, grated
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 lb ground beef chuck
  • 4 oz diced pancetta
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • 1 tbsp beef base
  • ¼ cup tomato paste
  • 28 oz whole peeled tomatoes
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 cups water or beef broth
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • Gigli pasta, or pasta of your choice
  • kosher salt and ground black pepper, to taste
  • parmesan cheese and parsley, for garnishing

Instructions
 

  • Prep the Veggies: Finely chop onion and celery. Peel and grate carrots. For quick chopping, use a food processor or blender. Mince the garlic.
  • Cook the Pancetta: Over medium heat, cook pancetta in a large Dutch oven until crispy, about 10 minutes. Remove the pancetta from the pot and set aside on a paper towel.
  • Sauté the Veggies: Increase heat to medium-high and add butter and olive oil to the Dutch oven with the pancetta grease. Add your chopped onions, carrots and celery. Cook until the vegetables start to soften, about 5-6 minutes.
  • Add garlic to the mirepoix and cook for another minute before adding ground beef chuck. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Brown the Beef: Add beef to the veggies. Cook over medium high heat while stirring constantly until the meat is browned nicely and the water has evaporated, about 6 – 7 minutes. Note: Make sure there is no liquid in the pan at this point!  Stir in the tomato paste and beef bouillon. Cook for another 1-2 minutes.
  • Deglaze the Pan: Deglaze the pan by pouring in the red wine and scraping up any bits at the bottom of the pan (also known as fond).
  • Add Additional Ingredients: Crush the peeled tomatoes with your hand or a masher. We prefer using our hands! Add the water (or beef stock), milk, crushed tomatoes, reserved pancetta, bay leaves, oregano, parsley, a pinch of salt and pepper to the pot, stirring well.
  • Simmer on Low: Once simmering, reduce heat to low and continue simmering for about 2 -3 hours, stirring occasionally, until meat is tender and sauce has thickened.
  • If the sauce reduces before the beef is tender then add a little bit of water and continue cooking. If meat is tender before sauce reduces, then continue simmering uncovered. Once meat is tender and sauce has thickened, discard bay leaves and season to taste.
  • Cook the Pasta: Cook pasta of your choice (we used Gigli) until al dente or according to package instructions.
  • Assemble: Transfer pasta to Bolognese sauce along with 1/4-1/2 cup of pasta water if needed. Mix well.
  • Serve on a platter topped with fresh parsley, grated parmesan cheese or diced green onions. Enjoy!
Keyword bolognese sauce
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Meet Dee

Meet Dee

I love to share recipes with real ingredients that are both sweet and savory (especially sweet:) My mission with Gimme From Scratch is to inspire you with recipes that will bring your families together in the kitchen. I'm introverted at heart but know how important socializing can be for maintaining good relationships, when writing not only am looking forward to sharing information - It's also building connections between readers who love good food as much as I do!

8 Responses

  1. 5 stars
    Wow! This pasta dish looks amazingly delicious! The presentation makes this recipe so enticing and tempting! Already loving this dish! We can never go wrong with pasta! Loved it!

  2. 5 stars
    This recipe was super delicious, everyone loved it! I saved the recipe so I can make it again for another pasta night! Thanks for the recipe share!

  3. 5 stars
    I made this last night and my husband loves it so much.
    So delicious and so easy to make too!

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