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a pasta bowl full of papperdelle alla Bolognese sprinkled with Grana Padano cheese

White Wine Bolognese Recipe (Authentic Recipe)

Classic Tagliatelle alla Bolognese (and pappardelle alla Bolognese) is as good as pasta gets and it’s incredibly easy to make! A rich slow-simmered beef, pork, and tomato Italian ragù with extra flavor from soffritto and the addition of white wine, milk, and beef stock tossed together with wide ribbons of chewy egg-rich pasta — this is one of the most delicious Italian pasta sauces of all time.  Double, triple, or quadruple this sauce to freeze it or to make the best homemade Lasagna alla Bolognese. If you’re looking for a Bolognese recipe that uses red wine (instead of white), you can find our favorite TWO Bolognese recipes over here with tips from the locals for how to make it.

Where Does Bolognese Sauce Come From? 

The birthplace of the original recipe for Ragù alla Bolognese can be traced back to the end of the 1700s.  The chef of the Cardinal of Imola (just outside of the city of Bologna) cooked the first real Bolognese ragù. and served his tomato-based meat sauce with a plate of maccheroni pasta. By the 1800s, recipes for tomato-based ragù start to show up in a few cookbooks from the Emilia-Romagna region, but the official Ragu alla Bolognese was officially registered by the Italian Academy of Cuisine at the Bologna Chamber of Commerce on October 17th, 1982.

What is Tagliatelle alla Bolognese or Pappardelle alla Bolognese?

Tagliatelle alla Bolognese and Pappardelle alla Bolognese are both delicious Italian pasta dishes that come from Bologna, Italy, and the surrounding area. The only difference between these two egg-rich pasta dishes is the width of the actual pasta (with the pappardelle being slightly wider than the tagliatelle).

Pasta is tossed in an hours-long slow-simmered ragù (ragù alla Bolognese) made of ground beef, pancetta, onions, carrots, celery, garlic, milk, beef stock, tomatoes, and wine. Just about any wide, egg-rich pasta (including fresh maccheroni) pairs really well with Bolognese (see below).

Below in Photos — One Version of Tagliatelle Bolognese When you Order it In Italy 

What Does Tagliatelle alla Bolognese Look Like When You Eat It In Italy?

Of course, Bolognese dishes vary from restaurant to restaurant and home to home, but the photos above will help give you a better idea of what you can expect when you order Bolognese in Italy. Some restaurants will have lots of sauce covering the pasta, while others will be slightly less so. For the most part, the sauce is creamy and has an orangeish-red color from the addition of tomatoes and milk.

The ragù itself will often have finely chopped bits of beef, pancetta, and vegetables that seem to mostly melt into the sauce. If you want to mimic this authentic style be sure to finely chop the beef and pancetta before cooking it and add plenty of milk.

If you want to see two other styles of Authentic Bolognese Sauces (our favorites in fact) that I’ve learned from all of my research in Bologna, Italy, and the surrounding Emilia Romagna region head over to my Ultimate Bolognese Sauce post to get those recipes and plenty of tips from the locals. 

Why We Love This Pappardelle alla Bolognese Recipe

  • Classic Ragù alla Bolognese is one of the easiest Italian pasta sauces you can make
  • Slow-simmered braising marries all of the delicious flavors together and tenderizes the meat
  • The combination of beef and pork makes this ragù extra tasty
  • Wine brings out the flavor of the tomatoes and overall finished ragù
  • Milk adds richness, and color, and gives the ragù its melt-in-your-mouth feel
  • The actual hands-on time for this Bolognese recipe is only about 20 minutes
  • A great meal prep meat sauce that freezes perfectly

What’s The Difference Between Bolognese Sauce & Spaghetti Sauce You Ask?

The short answer — everything (take a look at the comparison photos above and below between Bolognese Ragù, and Spaghetti Sauce). The difference between Bolognese and typical American-style “Spaghetti sauce”  is the ingredients, length of required cooking time, and even the type of pasta they’re paired with. Head over here to learn even more about what separates these two sauces.

Tagliatelle alla Bolognese Ingredients (Tagliatelle w/Bolognese Ingredients)

Authentic Italian Bolognese sauce is incredibly easy to make but needs ample time (in this case 3 hours) to simmer into a delicious ragù that melts in your mouth. After that, all you need is some chewy egg tagliatelle or pappardelle pasta and dinner can be ready in about 5 minutes. Double, triple, or even quadruple the Bolognese ragù recipe to portion and freeze for easy weeknight meals.

  • ground beef
  • pancetta
  • tomatoes
  • carrots
  • onions
  • celery
  • garlic (not traditional, but sometimes I’ll smash them and remove them just before serving, so the flavor doesn’t overwhelm the ragù)
  • dry white or red wine (nothing sparkling or sweet)
  • milk
  • beef broth
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Tagliatelle or Pappardelle egg pasta (or your favorite pasta)

Adding Starchy Pasta Water to Bolognese Sauce Changes Its Appearance

In the photos above, you’ll see what Bolognese sauce looks like after cooking — thick, rich, and luscious. But when you’re making pasta Bolognese with tagliatelle or pappardelle, etc. it’s customary (as with most pasta sauces) to add a little starchy pasta cooking water to the sauce just before adding and tossing the cooked pasta. When you do this with Bolognese sauce, the starchy water revives the milk solids in the ragù turns the sauce into a beautiful color and it makes the sauce super velvety!

Overview: How to Make Tagliatelle (or Pappardelle) alla Bolognese 

With just about 20 minutes of actual hands-on time, white wine Bolognese is one of the easiest meat ragùs you’ll ever make. But you’ll need to keep an eye on it and stir it occasionally throughout it’s low and slow simmer time. If you don’t, this could happen!

  1. Render the fat from the pancetta. 
  2. Sauté the vegetables. 
  3. Cook the beef. 
  4. Deglaze the pan with wine, add the tomatoes and broth, and simmer for 2 hours. 
  5. Add the milk and simmer 45 minutes to 1 hour. 
  6. Cook the Pasta & combine it with the sauce.

Pappardelle alla Bolognese step-by-step photos

Meal Prep Bolognese Sauce (Portion, Freeze, Reheat & Eat)

This sauce recipe is a favorite MealPrep dish to make ahead of time. I freeze it into 225-250g (about 1 cup) portions that we can pull out of the freezer to reheat for easy weeknight meals or in larger portions for when we want to easily assemble Lasagna Bolognese or for dinner parties.  Plus, if I’m going to cook something as long as this Bolognese sauce, it’s worth my time (and the energy it consumes) to make extra. I like to double or triple the recipe to maximize the yield.



Looking for More Delicious Pasta Recipes to Make?

If you love pasta as much as we do, here are a few more recipes to inspire your next dinner.

Let’s Get Started!

The Original Ragù alla Bolognese Recipe from the Italian Academy of Cuisine — A Very Old Authentic Italian Recipe 

If you’re curious about the official Bolognese recipe from Bologna, Italy, click over here to find it.


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a pasta bowl full of papperdelle alla Bolognese sprinkled with Grana Padano cheese

Authentic Italian Pappardelle alla Bolognese

  • Author: Kelly
  • Total Time: 3 hours 15 minutes
  • Yield: 8 to 10 servings 1x


Classic Tagliatelle alla Bolognese (or pappardelle alla Bolognese) is as good as pasta gets. A rich slow-simmered beef, pork, and tomato Italian ragù with extra flavor from sofrito and the addition of white wine, milk, and beef stock tossed together with wide ribbons of buttery egg-rich pasta — this is one of the most delicious Italian pasta sauces of all time. This Bolognese sauce recipe is based on the official Italian Academy of Cuisine’s original recipe and it couldn’t be easier to make. Double, triple, or quadruple this sauce to freeze it or to make the best homemade Lasagna alla Bolognese. 


Units Scale
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (28g)
  • 2 medium onions, finely diced (9.5 ounces) (270g)
  • 2 celery stalks, finely diced (3.5 ounces) (100g)
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled, finely diced (6 ounces) (170g)
  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed (optional but not traditional)
  • 1/2 cup (4 ounces) Mutti finely chopped canned tomatoes (118g)
  • 1 pound ground beef (454g)
  • 6 1/2 ounces cubed pancetta, finely chopped (188g)
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine (118g) (pinot grigio, sauvignon blanc, pinot gris, etc.)
  • 2 to 3 cups low-sodium homemade beef stock, or store-bought (240-720g)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste, or to taste (28g)
  • 1 cup whole milk, or more to taste (240g)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 3 to 4 ounces of tagliatelle, fettuccine, or pappardelle egg pasta per person (80g-100g)
  • grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Grana Padano (for serving)


  1. Render the fat from the pancetta. Heat oil in a large heavy pot over medium heat and add the pancetta and cook for approximately 15 minutes to allow some of the fat to render.
  2. Sauté the vegetables. Add the onions, celery, carrots, and smashed garlic (if using) and sauté for 8-10 minutes, or until soft and onions are translucent. Season with salt to taste
  3. Cook the beef. Add the beef breaking it up into small pieces with the back of a spoon, season with salt, and sauté until browned and cooked through with most of the liquid evaporated, about 15 minutes.
  4. Deglaze the pan with wine. Add wine while scraping the browned bits (the fond) from the bottom of the pan. Let the mixture cook for 3 minutes for the alcohol to evaporate. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, beef stock, and salt to taste and stir to blend. Reduce heat to the lowest setting and gently simmer, stirring occasionally for approximately 2 hours. Season with salt and pepper to taste. *do not add too much salt at this stage (before the long simmer time) because as the ragù cooks the flavors reduce and concentrate including the salt. 
  5. Add the milk. Add milk to the sauce and cover with a lid left slightly ajar and continue simmering over low heat, stirring occasionally, until milk is absorbed, about 45 minutes to 1 hour, adding more stock 1/4 cup at a time only as needed to thin it out. Turn off the heat, adjust the seasonings, while your pasta cooks.
  6. Cook the Pasta & combine it with the sauce. Cook pasta in lightly salted boiling water according to the package directions, stirring occasionally. Just before the pasta is finished cooking, add about 1/4 cup of starchy pasta cooking water to the sauce set over medium-high heat and stir to combine. Add a little more starchy water if needed until you reach the desired consistency, but don’t add too much as it could dilute the sauce flavors. Turn the heat off and add the noodles quickly tossing them to coat. Serve with freshly grated cheese, Enjoy!


  • Substitute low-sodium chicken stock (homemade or store-bought) for the beef stock.
  • Make the ragù ahead.  It can be made up to 3 days in advance. Chill uncovered until cold, then cover in an airtight container in the fridge until ready to use. Reheat and use for layering in Lasagna Bolognese or to make a steaming bowl of pasta alla ragù Bolognese. Alternatively, the ragù can be frozen for up to 6 months and thawed in the fridge overnight before you need to use it in a recipe.
  • When dicing the vegetables, try and cut them to approximately the same size so that they’ll cook evenly together.
  • The amount of veggies used can vary.  According to the official Bolognese recipe, equal amounts of onion, carrots, and celery should be used equalling 50g of each. I love onion and the very sweet carrots we have in Italy, so I used more of these two veggies than the celery. But feel free to make it the official way if you’d prefer.
  • If you don’t have tomato paste, add 1/2 cup (118g) of finely chopped tomatoes bringing the total amount of finely chopped tomatoes to 1 cup (240g).
  • Do not oversalt. Be sure to season the vegetables, beef, and sauce as the ingredients are added and cooked so that each layer of this ragù is properly seasoned.  However, be careful not to over-salt the sauce in the beginning because as it cooks the liquid will reduce and evaporate somewhat which concentrates the flavors and intensifies the salt. Remember, you can always add salt but can never take it away.
  • I typically end up using 2 1/2 to 3 cups of broth in this sauce, but it’s also great and perhaps a bit more tomatoey if you only use 2 cups of broth.  If you’re making this for the first time, start with 2 cups and increase by 1/2 cup portions as desired.  Be sure to record how much you use, so you’ll know the next time you make this sauce (because you’ll definitely be making it again if you love it as much as we do!).
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 3 hours
  • Category: Pasta
  • Method: Braised & Simmered
  • Cuisine: Italian


  • Serving Size: 3 to 4 ounce serving

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