Bolognese piled on a white plate with fresh oregano garnish and served with a glass of red wine
Photography & Art Direction: Anthony Contrino – Food Styling: Katie Stilo

Nothing screams Sunday more than macaroni and gravy.  Yes, we say gravy in my family, not sauce – well, usually, but I don’t need to get into that.  Anyway, while I obviously love a classic Sunday sauce loaded with meatballs, sausage and braciola, I’ll take a slamming Bolognese over that any day!  

In my opinion, making a Bolognese is so much easier than making Sunday Sauce.  Everything is done in one pot; there’s no need for mixing bowls and frying pans.  The only time-consuming part is chopping the vegetables for the soffritto (the Italian version of mirepoix).  If chopping vegetables isn’t your thing, most supermarkets carry them already diced, but you’ll pay up to four times more for the convenience.  


Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours
Servings: 12


  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 ounces pancetta, finely diced
  • 6 ounces celery, finely chopped (about 1 ¼ cups)
  • 6 ounces carrots, peeled, finely chopped (about 1 ¼ cups)
  • 6 ounces red onion, peeled, finely chopped (about 1 ¼ cups)
  • 4 very large cloves garlic, sliced
  • 2 pounds of meatloaf mix, or 1 pound ground beef, ½ pound ground veal, ½ pound ground pork
  • cup dry red wine
  • 2 28-ounce cans certified whole peeled San Marzano tomatoes, pureed with juice
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary
  • 1 sprig fresh oregano
  • 1 fresh bay leaf
  • cup whole milk
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


  • In a large, heavy-bottomed Dutch oven, warm the olive oil over medium-high heat.
  • Add the pancetta and cook until crispy, about 4 minutes.
  • Add the celery, carrots, red onions and a generous pinch of salt and cook, stirring often, until the vegetables begin to caramelize, about 10 minutes.
  • Add the garlic and cook, stirring often, an additional 2 minutes.
  • Add the meatloaf mix and a generous pinch of salt. Using the back of a wooden spoon, break up the meat into small bits and cook, stirring often, until all meat is browned, for 6 to 8 minutes.
  • Add the red wine and cook until it reduces by half, a minute or two.
  • Add the pureed tomatoes and a generous pinch of salt and stir to combine. Bring to a boil and then reduce the flame to low.
  • Add the herbs and simmer, stirring every 15 minutes or so, for 2 hours.
  • Fish out the herbs, as best as you can, and stir in the milk and nutmeg.
  • Return to a simmer and cook an additional 30 minutes, stirring often.
  • Season with salt and pepper, to taste.


The sauce will keep for up to 4 days in the refrigerator, or 3 months in the freezer. Serve with a wide noodle pasta, such as tagliatelle or pappardelle.
Cuisine: Italian
Course: Pasta, Sauces
Author: Anthony Michael Contrino