Bolognese Sauce

We were thinking about going out to our local Italian Food Restaurant “Vinny’s” once James arrived from Portland for his visit, but due to traffic, weather and a late start, we figured by the time he got here it would be rather late. So I decided to make Linguine Bolognese for us last night. It was just the right kind of night for it too; cold and drizzly.

Here is the recipe for the sauce.

Notes: Even if you have fresh tomatoes available in the store, use the canned. Canned tomatoes are superior for cooked dishes because the tomatoes are picked when ripe and seeded. You may, of course use fresh tomatoes from your garden if you are so lucky to have some. If you are in a rush you may substitute 2 cups of prepared pasta sauce (not tomato sauce please) for the canned tomatoes, but do not leave out the wine. Prepared pasta sauce is quite sweet as is, so no additional sugar is usually needed. At home we call this “Faux Bo”. You may also add a bit of minced garlic while the sausage is cooking. For a bit of a kick substitute hot sausage for the sweet, or add some dried red pepper flakes while the sausage is frying. And finally, if you can stand the calories, adding 1/2 cup of cream at the end makes the sauce luxuriously rich.

Serving Ideas: Always serve with a high-quality Parmesan cheese, freshly grated of course.

  • 1 pound Italian Sausage
  • /2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup robust extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced fin
  • 4 carrots, peeled and diced fine
  • 4 stalks celery with tops, diced fine
  • 1 14 1/2 ounce can diced tomatoes, with juice
  • 1 14 1/2 ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • 1/4 cup Italian flat leaf parsley, chopped (optional)
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • sugar, to taste
  • 1 pound spaghetti, cooked al dente in salted water


1. In a large frying pan or Dutch oven, over medium high heat, heat olive oil and add sausage. Slit the casing and squeeze out the meat.

2. Break up pieces of sausage as it cooks. Continue to cook and break apart until brown all over. About 5 minutes

3. Add milk and cook until almost all the milk has been absorbed into the meat

4. Add onions, carrots and celery and cook for 5 minutes

5. Add wine and cook until reduced by half

6. Add diced tomatoes and tomato sauce, bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer

7. Cook for at least 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. It is important that the sauce gets thicker so that it coats the pasta

8. Taste sauce and add salt and ground pepper as necessary. Some sausage is saltier than others

9. Taste again for acidity. If it is too acidic, add a bit of sugar; a little goes a long way so be careful not to make it too sweet

10. At this point you can serve it with pasta, garnished with some chopped Italian parsley, or you may cool it and place in refrigerator for up to a week

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