Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Homemade Pasta Bolognese sauce, it's Italian, it's gut friendly and it's delicious


 I've made many versions of pasta sauce over the years, but this is now my favourite. When I have the time and I want a really rich sauce full of Italian flavours, and also minus the acid that some tomato based sauces contain this is the sauce I cook. If you can't tolerate rich tomato based sauces, yet love the rich flavours of Italian herbs, red wine, and pancetta, then this is the dish for you. Bolognese or Bolognaise, how to spell it? Bolognese is an Italian word, and here in Australia we commonly spell it Bolognaise, or call it spagbol or pasta sauce which circumvents the spelling issue. Either way we all love it.

I really enjoy the unique taste that the pancetta, red wine, herbs and milk bring to this dish. I've never used milk in pasta sauce before, and I'd love to know if anyone else has, or is it a trade secret of the Italian chef?  Ok, I know,  this is another pasta sauce when there are so many versions out there and I have been cooking them for a long time. This classic Italian meat sauce is now my new favourite though, and  is a speciality of Bologna in Italy. It is minus the concentrated tomato paste which is a standard ingredient in so many recipes and which I think can play havoc with our gut if eaten in combination with lots of extra garlic and onion. So if you feel a little bit unwell the day following a very rich tomato based pasta dish, blame it on the concentrated tomato paste, combined with the onion and garlic, and this recipe is the one for you. Don't blame the red wine, that couldn't be the cause of the discomfort, ha, ha. Of course it doesn't  look as red as a lot of the pasta sauces I have made, which Mr. HRK noticed and which worried me a bit, however the "proof is in the pudding" or in the taste as they say. It is delicious.  It is a great sauce also to choose for lasagna, and delivers beautifully with any homemade pasta or  tagliatelle, fettucine or short pasta such as penne. 

The other traditional pasta sauce that I have always made is thicker and and has a heavier tomato base, good for the colder weather perhaps but not as friendly for the sensitive gut. However if you are interested in taking a peek at that recipe, click on this link. and you will notice the difference in the ingredients. It still tastes delicious, but is very rich and tomato based with the secret ingredient being a can of tomato soup which helps to cut the amount of  acid in the tomatoes. 

Let's Cook:

Serves 6.


2 tbs. butter
60 ml/4 tbsp. olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
25 g/1 oz/2 tbsp. pancetta or unsmoked bacon, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely sliced or chopped
1 celery stick, finely sliced
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
350 g/12 oz lean minced beef
150 ml/1/4 pint/ or 2/3 cup red wine
120 ml/4 fl. oz or 1/2 cup milk
400 g/14 oz can plum tomatoes chopped, with juice
1 bay leaf
1.5 ml/1/2 tsp fresh thyme leaves (or use 1 tablespoon fresh basil), or both
salt and ground black pepper


Heat the butter and oil in a heavy saucepan. Add the onion and cook gently for 3-4 minutes. Add the pancetta or bacon and cook until the onion is translucent.

 Stir in the carrot, celery and garlic. Cook for 3-4 minutes until the vegetables are softened.

Add the minced beef and crumble it into the vegetables with a fork. Stir until the meat loses its red colour. Season with salt and pepper. 

Pour in the wine, raise the heat slightly and cook for 3-4 minutes until the liquid evaporates. Add the milk and cook until it evaporates. Stir in the tomatoes with their juice and the herbs. 

Bring the sauce to the boil. Reduce the heat to low, and simmer, uncovered for 1 1/2-2 hours, stirring occasionally. Adjust the seasoning, if necessary, before serving.

This pasta sauce is sitting on a bed of Mr. HRK's homemade pasta, which he enjoys making. Here is the link to how he makes pasta if you are interested. It's delicious and soft and never fails. Combined with this sauce it is the perfect meal.

It's been raining cats and dogs here for the last 24 hours, 50 millimeters last night, or 2 inches, and just raining softly right now. It's not windy thank goodness, just lovely steady rain and cool. It's quite an unusual weather event for this time of year as we lead into Spring, and with all the essential ingredients on hand, on a wet cosy day,  this seems the perfect meal to make. The heat of Summer is just around the corner.

Music I am listening to as I write this, is the dramatic and beautiful Skyfall sung by the amazing Adele. It's the theme song from the 2016 James Bond film of the same name in case you missed it, is it really that long ago? Seems appropriate somehow right now. 

Serve this dish with some grated fresh parmesan cheese, some fresh basil that can be added to the plate, and lots of freshly ground pepper and enjoy. 

Warm wishes,



  1. Meat sauce is my husband's top favourite. This looks like a winner for sure!

    1. Thanks so much Angie, I think it's always a favourite, I just love this version now.

  2. Milk is a very interesting addition. We had venison ragu last night. Also a version without tomato paste and no sofrito. I didn't have time for homemade pasta which really makes all the difference.

    1. I'm lucky that Neil enjoys making the pasta otherwise it would be a lot of work to cook everything. I think milk really brings a nice flavour and consistency to the meat sauce. Thanks so much for your continued interest Tandy.

  3. That looks really delicious Pauline! I've cooked pork in milk but I haven't really used it in a pasta sauce apart from rouxs!

    1. Lorraine the milk works so well both with flavour and consistency, I'll keep using it, it also softens the effects of the acid. Thanks so much for your comment:)

  4. I sometimes make the classic Bolognese sauce, although much more often the ragu that's heavy on the tomatoes, garlic, and onion (no gut issues, thank goodness, but these ingredients definitely are a problem for some people). Your version looks quite good. Thanks!

    1. Thanks KR, I think the really rich ragu type sauce can be a problem when eaten with other courses like a rich dessert and of course red wine. Never used to worry me at all, but now I am careful. So lucky to have choices aren't we?

  5. Your recipes always look so appetising, Pauline. I might make Spagbol tonight as I have just thawed some mince. Glad you had some rain. We have had some very light rain the last couple of nights so anything is appreciated.

    1. Thanks Chel, Hope you enjoyed your spagbol. The weather here is still so changeable but it's lovely to have Spring in the air. Warm wishes, Pauline

  6. Hi Pauline, FYI up this way we call it bolognese sås. Great recipe! I also avoid canned and concentrated tomatoes. We try to always use fresh tomatoes and when fresh tomatoes are not about we use the fresh tomatoes that we freeze. Well as your winter wains and spring comes our summer has all but faded and autumn has arrived and there's nothing better than a good bolognese with fresh pasta on a cool autumn night.

    1. Great to hear from you Ron. Can't beat a good spagbol on a cool night. Tomatoes here are slowly coming down in price, so I'll be looking at freezing some and making some sauce soon. The cost of fresh tomatoes has been prohibitive for some reason, but it's always seasonal I guess. Autumn is probably a very pretty time of the year in your part of the world. Hope you are well.

  7. Nice recipe which promises to be tasty. I also love the richness of Adele's voice and Skyfall is superb. Have you heard Sounds of Silence by Disturbed? It is equally wonderful. Cheers

  8. Bernie I just listened to S of S by Disturbed, wow, very powerful and he has a great voice. I also love the instrumentals on a couple of the recordings. Simon and Garfunkel purists might not like it, but I think he takes it to the next level with those instrumentals. It's inspired me to learn it on the piano, hope I can find a good version. Take care and thanks for the musical inspiration as well, Pauline

  9. Bolognese sauce is definitely a favorite in our household!

    1. Thanks so much for commenting, yes I think it is a universal favourite, and now I love to make this version of the sauce.


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