Ragù alla Bolognese Recipe


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A go-to meat sauce is an absolute must in my world. It’s one of those things I keep on hand in the freezer at all times so if I need a comforting / impressive / delicious meal, I pull out a Ragù alla Bolognese in like no time flat!

Ragù alla Bolognese from www.whatsgabycooking.com (@whatsgabycookin)

Like most things on What’s Gaby Cooking – this isn’t just any red sauce. It’s quite possibly the best combo ever as it’s a marriage of a Ragù sauce and a Béchamel sauce which gives it that extra creamy flavor and let’s be real here people, what isn’t better with a little cream sauce? It’s made with both ground beef and ground pork plus a giant glug of wine… so it’s a winner in my book. Not to mention it makes a whole vat of sauce! Which is perfect because I can stick half of it in the freezer for a rainy day when I am in a crunch for dinner!

Serve it up on a bed of pasta, a plate of gnocchi, on top of spaghetti squash… you name it! Skies the limit with this one. And it’s perfect for all that cold weather going on this time of year!

Ragù alla Bolognese from www.whatsgabycooking.com (@whatsgabycookin)

Ragù alla Bolognese

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Gaby Dalkin
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For the Béchamel

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 2 2/3 cups milk
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • Freshly grated nutmeg to taste

For the Ragù

  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 ounces pancetta finely chopped
  • 1 medium onion minced
  • 3 medium stalk celery with leaves minced
  • 3 small carrot minced
  • 10 ounces ground pork
  • 10 oz ounces ground beef
  • 2 ounce thinly sliced Prosciutto chopped
  • 2/3 cup dry red wine
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 2 cups milk
  • 3 cups canned plum tomatoes drained
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Recommended for serving

  • 1 lb gnocchi or pasta
  • Torn burrata cheese


For the Béchamel

  • In a large saucepan melt the butter over medium hight heat. Add the flour and cook, stirring with a whisk, for 3 minutes. Slowly add the milk, and whisk together. Add the grated nutmeg. Whisk and cook over medium heat for several minutes, until slightly thickened. Remove from heat and let cool.

For the Ragù

  • Heat the olive oil in a 12 inch dutch oven over medium-high heat.
  • Add the pancetta and chopped vegetables and sauté, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon, about 10 minutes.
  • Add all the meats together, including the prosciutto. Stir into the pan and slowly brown over medium heat. Stir often with the wooden spatula and cook for about 15 minutes, or until the meats are a deep brown. Turn the contents of the skillet into a strainer and shake out the fat. Put them into the dutch oven and set over medium heat.
  • Add the wine to the dutch oven, lowering the heat so the sauce bubbles quietly. Stir occasionally until the wine has reduced by half, about 3 minutes. Scrape up the brown bits as the wine bubbles.
  • Stir ½ cup stock into the dutch oven and let it bubble slowly, 10 minutes, or until totally evaporated. Repeat with another ½ cup stock. Stir in the last 1/2 cup stock along with the milk. Adjust heat so the liquid bubbles very slowly. Partially cover the pot, and cook 1 hour. Stir frequently to check for sticking.
  • Add the tomatoes, crushing them as they go into the pot. Cook uncovered, at a very slow bubble for another 45 minutes, or until the sauce resembles a thick, meaty stew. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Lastly, add the Béchamel sauce into the meat sauce and combine with a wooden spoon until fully combined. Serve over pasta or gnocchi and serve with burrata cheese on top.
Ragù alla Bolognese: Chef Vision
Photo by Matt Armendariz / Food Styling by Adam Pearson / Recipe from What’s Gaby Cooking

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  1. monika

    This sounds so creamy and delicious. This is a perfect warm or cool weather meal.

  2. marla

    Great & very tempting bowl of saucy pasta Gaby!! The wine & prosciutto add so much to these great Bolognese sauce 🙂

  3. Brooke@FoodWoolf

    Seriously. What is better than a bowl of ragu? Nothin’ that’s what. Thank you for this recipe. This seems to be incredibly easy–which makes me think I might have to go make this ASAP! Yay!

  4. sippitysup

    Weirdly this is exactly what I am making for dinner tonight. Mine has beef and pork, but I have veal instead of prosciutto and I always add a touch of milk. Love the synchronicity. GREG

  5. David

    So nice to see an authentic recipe for ragù alla Bolognese! Brava – and now, thanks to you, I have one! When I was in Bologna, I was told that they never use garlic – too overpowering for the sauce. And tradition is so strong there! he combination of the milk with the meats and tomatoes is what does it for me! Thanks so much!

  6. Megan

    I remember this challenge and we loved the sauce. Thanks for the reminder. My freezer could use a little stocking! 🙂

  7. Paul Kalemkiarian

    Love this old, standard Ragu Bolognese. And there’s no question of what wine to serve it with…a good old Chianti. There is a reason why Italian food goes with Italian wines.

  8. Barbara

    Hi Gaby, I plan on making this yummy sauce tomorrow…I just need to get a few more of the ingredients. I was wondering….do you have a favorite brand of Italian Plum tomatoes you like in the can? I would appreciate knowing what you recommend. Thanks.

    • Barbara

      Oh, thank you so much….off to go food shopping! So, it turns out that we have a place here in the Village of the Arts called Arte Caffe…it is a restaurant owned and operated by an Italian chef, right from Italy. He makes the most wonderful Gnocchi …I am going to buy some from him for my sauce…excited! I will post my creation when it is done. Happy Holidays to you and yours, Gaby. ❤️

  9. Shellie

    Hi. I’m making now. But the recipe is a bit off. The ingredients don’t call for pancetta but in the instructions it says add pancetta. So I’m making with just prosciutto.

    • Gaby

      Hi Shellie, I’m confused with your comment. Pancetta is in the ingredients and it’s in step 3 for the sauce. I’m sure either way it will be delish

  10. Jess

    What’s the best way to freeze/unfreeze this? Can’t wait to try!
    Mine will be with Turkey though and I’ll let you know how it works out!

    • Gaby

      once you make it let it cool for a bit, pop it in an airtight container and then freeze. I take it out and put it in the fridge the day before I want to serve and then warm it over low heat on the stove to re-heat

  11. Keara

    Can I make this a day ahead and put in the fridge and warm the day of?
    Do I cook the meat first in a separate pan before straining and then add to the dutch?

    • Gaby

      you cook everything in the same pan – and yes you can make it a day ahead!

  12. Amy

    I’ve made this 2x now and it’s absolutely fantastic. Only thing is when I add the bechemel, the sauce becomes light orange rather than rich red like the photo – maybe I’m not making the bechemel thick enough or not getting the right depth to my meat sauce? I also realize this could just be a photo/internet colour thing. Regardless, it’s great and is anew family classic for us – making it again tonight for a party.

  13. monika

    Why have I never tried this? It sounds amazing. Perfect for a party coming up….

  14. Amy

    Just noticed the two cups of milk in the ragu ingredients but no step for it in the recipe…is this reduced down too? Might explain my colour issue. Regardless, still delicious

  15. Rachael

    Hey I really want to make this recipe but I’m from Australia so measurements are different here we don’t use ounces for meat here we uses grams or kilograms so many ounces in Australian measurements is that I just find ounces bit confusing in my country ? Hope I didn’t confuse you I tried looking it up online

  16. Carrie Lindgren

    Just checking if the “2 cups of milk” in Ragu portion of this recipe is an error? I have made many, many of your recipes and all have been wonderful and looked very similar to your photos. (so thank you for all of your great recipes, I have shared with many friends and they now follow you as well)
    This sauce, however, was a VERY light pink and was also very thin, even after simmering one hour after adding the milk as recipe indicates. Your photos show a rich and thick deep red sauce.
    Any tips you may have for achieving a better result are appreciated! Thanks!

  17. KP

    Question – How do you measure 3 cups of whole peeled plum tomatoes? I have two 28oz cans. Should i use both or just one? Also, so far the ‘stew’ is very beige, not deep red… #gettingworried

    • Gaby

      it’s roughly 1 28-ounce can! No need to worry – color develops as it cooks! And if you want to add extra tomatoes to make it more red, that’s totally allowed