How to make the best spaghetti meat sauce! My favorite recipe starts with tons of veggies and simmers for a few hours. Besides time, though, this recipe is simple and foolproof. I love to make a double batch and freeze half for a gift to myself for later!
- 1/2 large onion
- 1 large carrot
- 1 stalk celery
- 1 1/2 pounds ground beef (any kind you like)
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/3 cup tomato paste
- 1 cup dry white wine (pinot grigio or similar)
- 28 ounces canned crushed tomatoes
- 2 cups beef stock
- 2 tablespoons balsamic glaze
- 1 cup whole milk
- kosher salt
- cooked pasta and parmesan cheese for serving
- Using a box grater, grate the onion, carrot, and celery. Preheat a large pot or pan to medium-low heat with a drizzle of oil.
- Add the veggies to the pan and sauté for 5-10 minutes with a sprinkle of salt until very soft and slightly dark at the edges.
- Add the beef with another sprinkle of salt and cook until browned and slightly crispy, breaking up with a spoon as you go.
- Add the tomato paste and garlic and stir to combine for 2 minutes.
- Add the wine and stir to remove any stuck bits from the bottom of the pan. Let the wine reduce all the way, about 5 minutes.
- Add the tomatoes, beef stock, and balsamic glaze. Stir to combine and add a few more pinches of salt. Adjust the heat as needed so the mixture is simmering but not boiling. Let the sauce simmer for 1-2 hours, stirring every 20 minutes (stir all the way to the bottom of the pan so the sauce doesn't stick).
- When the beef stock and tomato juices are mostly reduced (go with the sauce rather than the clock), add the milk and continue to stir for 30-45 minutes more, stirring every once in awhile. During this time, taste and add more salt to your preference, probably about 2 teaspoons kosher salt from start to finish. This amount will depend on your ingredients, but the sauce should be very flavorful at the end.
- To serve right away, cook pasta during the milk simmering period. I toss a bit of pasta cooking water with the sauce. To serve, I toss the pasta with about 1/3 of the sauce then top with extra sauce and Parmesan cheese.
- To save for later, let the homemade Bolognese cool to room temperature, then freeze or keep in the fridge until ready to serve.
Inspired by this video from Sam the Cooking Guy.
If you prefer to not cook with wine, you can omit the wine and add 1/2 cup more stock OR extra cooking water right before serving to get a meat sauce consistency you'd like.
For meal prep, I often double this recipe and freeze half for later.
If you make the sauce in advance, add a few more splashes of milk and some pasta cooking water right before serving. Taste and add more salt if needed; often salt flavor goes away after freezing.
I love chunky crushed tomatoes in this recipe, but whole tomatoes work perfectly as well. Just crush them with your hand before dumping into the sauce.
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