I’m amazed that I hadn’t posted a pasta bolognese on this site before. I haven’t really done that much Italian food, to be honest. I want to try to change that because I love Italian food! Recently Kramer and I have been trying some fantastic Italian restaurants in New York. One that we are absolutely in love with is in Brooklyn and it’s called Il Passatore. The seafood pasta there is honestly to die for; it’s possibly some of the best pasta that I’ve ever had in my entire life. The bread is phenomenal as well, and they were really my inspiration to come home and make some tasty Italian cuisine for myself. Traditionally, bolognese is not made with a heavy amount of tomatoes, and it is a thick, slightly creamy pasta sauce. I used a bit more tomato than would be served in an Italian restaurant, but a lot of it reduced and the shining star of the ragù was the bacon, the meat, and the additions to the sauce, such as fragrant herbs and white wine. I chose to use campanelle pasta with this bolognese because the little horn-shaped pasta scooped up the maximum amount of sauce per bite.
This is one of the best pasta dishes I have ever made. Kramer and I have been eating leftovers of this pasta bolognese for days; it’s fantastic. I think that the bacon really added something extra special to the sauce; I had never made bolognese with bacon in it before (even though a traditional bolognese will have pancetta in it) and I will never make it without bacon again! I used two whole onions in the sauce as well, which added amazing flavor. Onions are so delicious, especially when sauteed with butter, like I did. I also used garlic (of course), as well as plenty of wonderful spices, like basil, oregano, thyme, and red pepper flakes. I added nutmeg, too, which added a fantastic fragrance and some bite. Bolognese traditionally used red wine, but I had white, so I used that, as well as some half and half (you can use cream, too), which created a beautifully flavorful and creamy bolognese sauce. The longer that you simmer this sauce, the better it tastes, and if you can let it sit in the fridge overnight, the leftovers will be incomparable, I promise! You’ll be eating this bolognese as leftovers just as happily as you ate it the first night that you made it, and you’ll be singing a sad song as you spoon the last of it out onto your plate.
Melt your butter in a large pan over medium heat.
Add your onions and celery and saute for 5 minutes over medium-high heat. Add in the garlic and saute for a minute, until fragrant.
When the onions and celery are softened, add in the bacon and cook until slightly crisp, another 5 minutes or so.
Add in the ground beef and cook for another 5 minutes or so, until cooked through.
When the ground beef is cooked, add in the diced tomatoes, tomato paste, salt, pepper, basil, oregano, thyme, red pepper flakes, nutmeg, and bay leaves.
Add in the white wine and heavy cream and stir to combine. Over medium heat, bring the sauce to a simmer. Simmer for 1 hour or so, until reduced and slightly thickened. Taste for seasoning and adjust as you see fit (I added in some more red pepper flakes).
Cook your pasta according to package directions and drain.
Add the cooked and drained noodles to the bolognese and stir to combine.
Serve and top with grated Parmigiano-Reggiano.
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 2 medium onions, diced
- 4 stalks celery, sliced
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 5 slices thick-cut bacon, sliced into 2-inch pieces
- 1 pound ground beef
- 28 oz. diced tomatoes
- 6 oz. tomato paste
- ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon dried or fresh oregano
- ½ teaspoon dried or fresh thyme
- ¼ teaspoon dried or fresh basil
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 cup white wine
- ¼ cup heavy cream or half & half
- 1 pound pasta
- Melt your butter in a large pot or pan over medium heat. Turn the heat up to medium-high heat and then add in the diced onions and sliced celery. Cook for 5 minutes until softened then add in the garlic and cook for 1 minute until fragrant.
- Add in the bacon and cook for 5 minutes or so until slightly crisp. Add in the ground beef and cook for another 5 minutes or so, until cooked through. Add in the diced tomatoes, tomato paste, salt, pepper, oregano, thyme, basil, red pepper flakes, nutmeg, and bay leaves. Stir to combine.
- Add in the white wine and heavy cream or half & half and stir. Bring the bolognese to a simmer over medium heat and cook for an hour or so until reduced, stirring every so often so that it doesn't burn.
- Cook the pasta according to package directions, drain, and add to the bolognese. Stir to combine. Serve and top with some grated Parmigiano-Reggiano. Serves 6-8.
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