I would assume you are here because you have a deep love for delicious pasta. Pasta Bolognese is the right call and you have come to the right place. I've been limiting my pasta intake since Covid where I gained every bit of Covid-19 eating my feelings, mainly with pasta. That doesn't mean I love it any less.
If anything it means I miss it more, so when I do decide I have to have it, I make it worth it. Today is one of those moments. The desire for a deeply flavor-filled pasta dinner is sitting heavy on my soul. Bolognese is calling... along with the large glass of wine to go beside it.
- Shallots - or garlic
- Unsalted Butter
- Celery Stalks
- Red Onion
- Ground Beef
- Ground Pork
- White Wine - dry, like a Pinot Grigio
- Half & Half - ½ cup milk & ½ cup heavy cream
- Crushed Tomatoes - or diced
- Fresh Thyme
- Fresh Rosemary
- Parmesan Cheese - to finish
- Fresh Basil - or parsley to finish
- Pappardelle Pasta
Now this will not be accepted well by all, but I am solidly in the camp to use whatever pasta makes you happy. Now before the pasta purist come for me, there are absolutely different kinds of pasta for different sauces.
- Cream Sauces: Stick to smooth noodles well.
- Red Sauces: Usually ribbed noodles like sauces that have bits of meat or tomato can get stuck in, which is generally found with red sauces.
My thoughts? If you love angel hair (I'm looking at you Brad) then use it in whatever preparation you like. I love going to the pasta aisle and seeing all the fun different shapes. It makes dinner feel special while not putting in any extra effort. Some of my favorites include campanelle, cavatelli, and strozzapreti.
In this recipe, we will be using Colavita Pappardelle Nests. It was around $3 for the bag. I also really love pappardelle for Drunken Noodles, which now that I'm talking about it, I will need to make next...
At its base, Bolognese is just a meat and tomato sauce. One of the big things that set it apart is that it is generally finished with milk or cream. Not enough to turn it into a pink sauce, but enough to add some extra body and richness.
Let's get into it! In a large pot or dutch oven on medium-high heat, melt butter. Starting with the carrots and celery, add them to the pan & let cook for a few minutes. Then add the onion & shallots and cook until slightly tender.
Add the ground beef and pork to the pan and mix until combined. Try to let this brown as much as possible by not overmixing and letting the moisture evaporate as much as possible.
Deglaze with your white wine, and once evaporated add your milk and let evaporate until it thickens significantly.
Finish by adding your tomatoes, and herbs. Bring to a simmer, taste, and adjust your kosher salt & fresh ground pepper as needed. We're going to let this simmer for at least 45 minutes, or until the meat is tender and the tomatoes have broken down.
As your sauce is finishing up, bring a pot of water to a boil and cook your pasta to al dente. Make sure to reserve some pasta water. This may be needed if your sauce becomes too thick.
Toss your finished noodles with your sauce, adding pasta water if the sauce has become slightly too thick. Finish with a sprinkle of parmesan and some fresh basil or parsley.
👩🏼🍳 Chef Tip
Don't skip the ground pork! It really lightens up the dish and gives another dimension of flavor all at once. If you don't see any at your local grocery store ask the butcher. I've also seen way more pre-packaged options available lately!
🤔 Frequently Asked Questions
💲Expensive Pasta vs Discount Pasta
The cost of pasta can be vast. Ranging anywhere from .75 cents a box or less on sale, to this box of Classica Cipriani which rang in at a steep $8 for this box.
Now, I am generally a $1 box pasta girl. I decided to splurge a few months ago and bought the box you see before you and I will say there is a HUGE difference in flavor. My husband Jon cleaned his plate, plus the leftovers from Noah. It was excellent and I wasn't mad.
However, I can't justify this all the time. Keep an eye out for future homemade pasta recipes and we will see how I hold up against the competition.
🍷 What Wine to Use?
This Pasta Bolognese recipe calls for dry white wine, like a Pinot Grigio or Pinot Gris. When you use the same wine you plan on drinking with dinner while you make dinner, it really helps them pair extra well together.
Now, if you have more expensive taste and your bottle of wine costs $25+, I would not recommend pouring all that money into your sauce. With that being said, I also don't recommend just going and buying the cheapest bottle you can because you are "just cooking with it".
Something like Cavits Pinot Grigio will be just fine and is around $10 a bottle.
If you are trying round out your dining experience, I would suggest adding a loaf of french bread or a baguette to snack on before dinner. Pair this with some olive oil, a drizzle of balsamic vinegar, kosher salt, fresh ground pepper, and a sprinkle of basil.
For the Bolognese, I recommend a solid sprinkle of good parmesan right as you are serving. How much between you and the powers that be so... no judgment here.
🍝 Alternative Quick Pasta Ideas
If you are still in the mood for pasta but need something in a hurry, I highly recommend my Shrimp and Andouille Tortellini recipe. It's together in under 30 minutes but feels still delivers stunning flavor.
- 2 teaspoon Shallots - or garlic
- 3 tablespoon Unsalted Butter
- 2 Carrots - diced
- 2 Celery Stalks - diced
- 1 small Red Onion - diced
- ½ lbs Ground Beef
- ½ lbs Ground Pork
- ¾ cup White Wine - dry, like a Pinot Grigio
- 1 cup Half & Half - ½ cup milk & ½ cup heavy cream
- 2 cans Crushed Tomatoes - or diced
- 1 teaspoon Fresh Thyme
- 1 teaspoon Fresh Rosemary
- Parmesan Cheese - to finish
- Fresh Basil - or parsley to finish
- 1 Pound Pappardelle Pasta - or any other of your choosing
- In a large pot or dutch oven on medium high heat, melt butter.
- Starting with the carrots and celery, add them to the pan & let cook for a few minutes. Then add the onion & shallots and cook until slightly tender.
- Add the beef and pork to the pan and mix until combined. Let this brown and the moisture evaporate as much as possible.
- Deglaze with white wine, and once evaporated add your milk and let evaporate until it thickens significantly.
- Finish by adding your tomatoes, and herbs. Bring to a simmer, taste, and adjust your kosher salt & fresh ground pepper as needed.
- Let this simmer for at least 45 minutes, or until the meat is tender and the tomatoes have broken down.
- As your sauce is finishing, bring a pot of water to a boil and cook your pasta to al dente. Make sure to reserve some pasta water. This may be needed if your sauce becomes too thick.
- Toss your finished noodles with your sauce, adding pasta water if the sauce has become slightly too thick.
- Finish with a sprinkle of parmesan and some fresh basil or parsley.