Ragù alla Bolognese

Bologna’s beloved meat sauce is easier than you think.

  • Serves

    makes about 5 cups

  • Cook

    3 hours


By SAVEUR Editors

Updated on May 12, 2022

This bolognese came from the well known Simili sisters of Bologna. They prepare a delicate brodo di carne, or meat broth, for use in their ragu because the sauce doesn't need a lot of additional flavor. Unless you're making brodo for another use, though, any light broth will do. For more weeknight pasta ideas, check out our 47 essentials for olive-oiled, red-sauced happiness.


  • ¼ cups extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, finely chopped
  • ½ medium carrot, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 oz. prosciutto di Parma (2–3 slices), finely chopped
  • 2 chicken livers, finely chopped
  • 1½ lb. ground beef chuck
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ cups dry white wine
  • 1 cup whole milk, warmed
  • 1 cup beef, veal, or chicken stock
  • One 28-oz. can tomato purée


Step 1

To a large Dutch oven set over medium heat, add the oil and onions and cook, stirring frequently, until softened and translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the celery and carrots and cook, stirring frequently, until softened slightly, about 3 minutes. Add the prosciutto and chicken livers and cook, stirring frequently, until the livers are barely cooked, about 1 minute. Add the beef and salt and black pepper to taste, and cook, breaking up the meat with the spoon until barely cooked, about 5 minutes (do not brown). Add the wine and cook, stirring, until evaporated, about 3 minutes. Turn the heat to medium-low, add the milk, and cook, stirring occasionally, until evaporated, about 10 minutes.

Step 2

Meanwhile, in a microwave-safe bowl, whisk together the stock and tomato purée, then cover and microwave on high for 3 minutes, or until hot. Add the stock mixture to the meat mixture, turn the heat to low, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the meat is soft and the sauce is thick, about 2½ hours. Season to taste with salt and black pepper.

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