September 25, 2023

Traditional Bolognese Sauce – The real deal

Posted on October 16, 2018 by in beef, pasta

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Traditional Bolognese Sauce

A traditional Bolognese Sauce is so much simpler than you thought it could ever be.

A traditional Bolognese Sauce has none of the ingredients that you thought it would have. The secret or the success lies in the cooking time and the types of meat that you use. Obviously we are going to use a good quality ground beef. Something like topside or steak mince. This is only half of the meat. The other half is a good quality ground pork. I am lucky, I get my meat from Klein Merino – the best!

If you can get your hands on a very good pork sausage ( 100 % meat), then you use it.  Get these basics right and you are halfway there. Nothing fancy and elaborate.

If you have read the list of ingredients, you will see there is milk on the list. This is not a mistake, nor is it weird. Adding milk to the bolognese, gives it a silkier and sweeter end product.

Here are a few myth ingredients that most people think should go into a bolognese.

Traditional Bolognese Sauce

Italian herbs

The first thing we want to add to a bolognese is the Italian herbs – either dry or fresh. I know you are tempted, but don’t do it. Keep it simple, the secret is in the way you cook it.

Red Wine

Look, if you insist or you do not have white wine, go ahead, use red wine, but if you want to keep it authentic, white wine is the best.


We have a sweet tooth, our South Africans! So we are very tempted to add sugar to the sauce. Please cook the sauce finished, 3-4 hours. Then decide if it needs sugar.

Traditional Bolognese Sauce

Traditional Bolognese Sauce


15 ml/1 T olive oil
1 T/15 ml butter
620 g/ 1.5 pounds ground beef
620 g/ 1.5 pounds ground pork
170 g/ 6 oz streaky bacon
5 ml salt
5 ml freshly ground black pepper
1 large onion – finely chopped
2 celery stalks – finely chopped
1 large carrot – finely chopped
3-5 cloves garlic – finely grated or chopped
250 ml/1 cup white wine
750 ml/ 3 cups tomato puree
500 ml/ 2 cups milk
250 ml/ 1 cup beef stock


Heat a large cast iron pot on the stove. Add the oil and butter and then the beef, pork and bacon. Brown the meat while stirring. Take your time with this as it all adds flavor.
Once the meat is brown, remove from the pot and keep warm. Sauté the onion, garlic, celery and carrot in the fat left in the pot from the meat. Add a little butter if you feel it is needed.
Once the vegetables has a good color, add the meat back to the pot. Add the wine and reduce the wine for about 2-3 minutes. Now add the tomato pureé, the milk and the beef stock.

At this stage you have 3 options:

Option #1 – Turn the stove plate to its lowest setting, partially cover the pot and cook for 3-4 hours.

Option #2 – Transfer the mix to your slow-cooker and allow to cook on lowest setting for a few hours. Go to work and let the slow-cooker do it for you.

Option #3 – Place the lid on the pot and place the pot in a very low oven 120 – 130 C and cook for 3 hours.

Serve the bolognese with homemade parpadelle, you can find the recipe for the pasta here.

Traditional Bolognese Sauce

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