Weeknight Bolognese

Weeknight Bolognese – from scratch bolognese sauce made in under 30 minutes! Ground beef, garlic, oregano, onion, sugar, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, tomatoes, tomato paste, red wine, heavy cream, and parmesan cheese. Tastes like it has simmered on the stove all day. This has quickly become one of our favorite meals! Serve the sauce with a salad and some crusty garlic bread for a meal better than any restaurant!

Originally posted December 9, 2015

bowl of spaghetti and meat sauce

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Quick Homemade Italian Meat Sauce

Stop what you are doing and add this Weeknight Bolognese to your menu. It is AMAZING and only takes about 30 minutes to make! I made this for the first time about a month ago. It was so good that I’ve made it several more times since then. It has quickly become one of our favorite meals! This meat sauce is super simple to make and has TONS of great flavor. Serve the sauce over your favorite pasta with a salad and some garlic bread for a meal better than any restaurant!

ladle of meat sauce

How to Make Weeknight Bolognese

This sauce is very easy to make with only a few simple ingredients. Start with browning some lean ground sirloin beef in a large skillet or Dutch oven on medium-high heat until no longer pink. Drain fat. Add some minced garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add tomato paste and cook for an additional 30 seconds. Pour some dry red wine into the pot and scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon. Add oregano, onion powder, red pepper flakes, crushed tomatoes, sugar, salt, and black pepper. Bring the sauce to a boil and reduce heat. Simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in heavy cream and grated parmesan cheese. Cook an additional 10 minutes.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook pasta according to the package directions. Drain the pasta. Toss with the meat sauce. Serve the pasta in pasta bowls and garnish with more parmesan cheese and fresh basil leaves. 

Tips & Frequently Asked Questions

  • You can substitute ground turkey, Italian sauce, or ground pork for ground beef. 
  • We used linguine for the pasta. You can use any pasta shape. Dried pasta or fresh pasta both work great. Linguine, fettuccine, rigatoni, penne, or small shells are all delicious with this sauce.
  • Toss the cooked pasta in some olive oil to prevent it from sticking together. 
  • I used dried oregano. Feel free to use fresh herbs in this sauce. You will need 3 tablespoons of fresh oregano for this recipe.
  • I used a small bottle of cabernet sauvignon for the wine in the dish. You can use any red wine that you enjoy. 
    • Can substitute beef broth for the wine.
  • You can use freshly grated parmesan cheese or the cheese from the green can. Either is just fine.
  • Can I make Weeknight Bolognese Sauce in the slow cooker? Yes! Brown the ground beef in a 12-inch skillet and drain the fat. Add all of the ingredients except the heavy cream and parmesan sauce. Cook on LOW for 6 hours. Add the cream and parmesan cheese to the crockpot. Stir and cook until the cheese has melted and the sauce has a nice pink color.
  • Can Bolognese Sauce be frozen? Yes! Make the sauce and let it cool completely. Transfer the sauce to freezer bags and freeze. To reheat, thaw and warm on the stovetop or in the microwave.
  • Store any leftover sauce in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It will keep 3 to 4 days in the fridge.
bowl of spaghetti and meat sauce

What to Serve with Bolognese Sauce

The sauce tastes SO good! It tastes like it has simmered all day, but it only cooks for about 20 minutes. You can’t beat that! SOOO much better than opening up a jar of marinara sauce, but almost as easy. We like to serve this sauce over pasta with a salad and some crusty garlic bread. It is also great with our Italian Green Bean Salad. YUM! Make this sauce for your next spaghetti night. You will not be disappointed!

Looking for more side dish ideas? Here are a few of our favorite recipes that go great with this yummy spaghetti sauce:

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bowl of spaghetti and meat sauce

Weeknight Bolognese

Yield: 8 people
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 21 mins
Total Time 26 mins
Weeknight Bolognese – from scratch bolognese sauce made in under 30 minutes! Ground beef, garlic, oregano, onion, sugar, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, tomatoes, tomato paste, red wine, heavy cream, and parmesan cheese. Tastes like it has simmered on the stove all day. This has quickly become one of our favorite meals! Serve the sauce with a salad and some crusty garlic bread for a meal better than any restaurant!

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb ground sirloin
  • 4 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 Tbsp dried oregano
  • ½ tsp onion powder
  • ¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • ¾ cup dry red wine
  • 1 (28-oz) can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 12 -oz pasta, cooked and drained

Instructions:

  • In a Dutch Oven over medium-high heat, cook the ground beef. Drain fat. Add garlic to pan and cook for one minute. Add tomato paste. Stir into the beef and cook for an additional 30 seconds.
  • Add red wine and scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon.
  • Add oregano, onion powder, red pepper flakes, crushed tomatoes, sugar, salt, and black pepper.
  • Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes.
  • Add heavy cream and parmesan cheese. Cook additional 10 minutes. Toss with pasta.
  • Serve with additional parmesan cheese, if desired.

Notes:

  • You can substitute ground turkey, Italian sauce, or ground pork for ground beef. 
  • We used linguine for the pasta. You can use any pasta shape. Dried pasta or fresh pasta both work great. Linguine, fettuccine, rigatoni, penne, or small shells are all delicious with this sauce.
  • Toss the cooked pasta in some olive oil to prevent it from sticking together. 
  • I used dried oregano. Feel free to use fresh herbs in this sauce. You will need 3 tablespoons of fresh oregano for this recipe.
  • I used a small bottle of cabernet sauvignon for the wine in the dish. You can use any red wine that you enjoy. 
    • You can substitute beef broth for the wine.
  • Can I make Weeknight Bolognese Sauce in the slow cooker? Yes! Brown the ground beef in a 12-inch skillet and drain the fat. Add all of the ingredients except the heavy cream and parmesan sauce. Cook on LOW for 6 hours. Add the cream and parmesan cheese to the crockpot. Stir and cook until the cheese has melted and the sauce has a nice pink color.
  • Can Bolognese Sauce be frozen? Yes! Make the sauce and let it cool completely. Transfer the sauce to freezer bags and freeze. To reheat, thaw and warm on the stovetop or in the microwave.
  • Store any leftover sauce in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It will keep 3 to 4 days in the fridge.

Steph

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bowl of spaghetti and meat sauce
ladle of bolognese sauce

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Comments

  1. I have made this several times and making it again tonight. It absolutely tastes like something that has been simmering away all day. Perfect meal for a weeknight or for company. Love this recipe, thank you!

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