Traditional Bolognese Sauce

When people say food is love, this is what they are talking about.  A big pot of Bolognese Sauce, simmered all day on the stove!  Pasta Bolognese is served in fine Italian restaurants everywhere, but you don’t have to go out to dinner to enjoy this traditional Italian favorite.  Read on and learn how you can make it right at home!

Patience is the key to this recipe!  A real Bolognese is not a quick meat sauce that you throw together in a hurry.  In fact, you will invest an entire afternoon.  But what a meal!  Special enough for guests or a romantic dinner for two.  Here are the step by step, easy to follow instructions.  Take your time and don’t rush the process!

Notice I didn’t title this post “Gluten Free” Bolognese Sauce?  That’s because it was always gluten free, there is nothing to change except the pasta you serve it with!

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6 Servings


  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 onion minced, about 1 cup
  • 1 carrot minced, 1/2 cup
  • 2 celery stalks minced, 1/2 cup
  • 2 large garlic cloves minced, 2 tbsp.
  • 3 oz. pancetta, minced*
  • fresh ground pepper
  • 1/2 lb. ground veal
  • 1/2 lb. ground beef (90% lean)
  • 2 tbsp. tomato paste*
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1 cup 1% milk (or whole milk, or cream)
  • 14.5 oz. can whole tomatoes in juices (or tomato sauce)*
  • 1/2 cup gluten free lower sodium broth (beef or chicken)*
  • fresh parsley for garnish
  • grated parmesan cheese, for serving

*Always check labels when purchasing stock, canned tomatoes and prepared meats.


To begin, you will make a “Soffritto”, a mixture of equal parts onion, celery and carrot processed to a fine mince.  This is the base for so many Italian dishes!  Add the veggies to an electric chopper and process.  Measures are approximate, but you should end up with about 2 cups total of minced veggies, including the garlic.

Heat the oil and butter in a heavy saucepan or Dutch oven on medium low heat.  Add the vegetables and sauté for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.  Season generously with salt and pepper.

Chop the pancetta into fine dice or pulse a few times in the processor.

Add it to the pot and continue cooking slowly for 10 more minutes.

Divide the ground beef and veal into 4 pieces and gradually add the meat to the pan, stirring and breaking it up with a spatula after each addition.

Allow some of the liquid to evaporate before adding more meat, you want it to brown, not steam.  Add more salt and pepper to taste.

After about 20 minutes the meat should be well browned and starting to caramelize on the bottom of the pan.  Clear a spot in the middle of the pan and add the tomato paste.  Cook for 2 minutes, then stir the tomato paste into the meat.

Add the red wine, and use a spatula to loosen up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan and stir them into the sauce.

Simmer 3 minutes to allow some of the wine to cook off, then add the milk (or cream), tomatoes and stock.

Cover the pot, but leave the lid slightly ajar so that the sauce thickens as it cooks.  Keep it on the lowest simmer for 3-4 hours, stirring occasionally.

Curious about this gadget?  It’s a heat diffuser, perfect for maintaining a long, slow simmer without burning.  I use it for all my soups, sauces and gravies.  It is a must have for this recipe!

Look at this thick, hearty sauce!  Can you imagine the aromas filling your kitchen?

Now just cook up a batch of your favorite gluten free pasta and ladle with Bolognese sauce.  Top it off with grated cheese and garnish with Italian parsley.

Notes: ♪♫  I see you eyeing that pasta!  It’s Pappardelle, a wide ribbon shaped egg noodle that is classically paired with Bolognese sauce.  It is  homemade and yes, it is gluten free!  Learn how to make it in this post, your family will love you. ♥  

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