Classic Bolognese Sauce

What's your Sunday routine? At least with my family (and a good number of other Italian households), Sunday means sitting around a big table with a plate of pasta.

This Bolognese sauce always tastes consistent and is 100% pantry approved (aka, we'll be using canned tomatoes and not ones from the produce section). We're all looking for that easy, classic Sunday Italian pasta sauce. Here's mine!


  • ~4 Tablespoons Olive Oil (enough to cover the bottom of the pot)

  • 1/2 medium Onion (chopped)

  • 1 pound Ground Beef (80%/20% preferable)

  • 1 can Tomato Paste (6 oz.)

  • 2 cans (each can ~28 oz.) Crushed Tomatoes

  • ~28 oz. Water

  • 2 cloves Garlic (minced)

  • ~2 Tablespoons chopped Parsley

  • Salt

  • Black Pepper


1. Start by chopping the Onion and set aside for a few minutes.

2. In a large stockpot, pour in the Olive Oil and heat up on a medium flame.

let's be Frank: There should be enough olive oil to cover the base of the pot. But do not overdo it with the oil, otherwise you will have the dreaded "oily" sauce, rather than a consistent Bolognese tomato sauce.

3. Add in the Onion and sauté until they are translucent.

let's be Frank: Do not burn the onion. If you do, no worries, just start over. A burnt flavor at this stage will kill the rest of the sauce.

4. Add in the Ground Beef and stir frequently until the meat has been "browned".

let's be Frank: If there's a little bit of pink meat left, do not worry. The meat will continue to cook in the sauce. The goal here is just to brown it and tie that olive oil and onion flavor in with meat.
let's be Frank: The meat should be broken up at the end of this step - you should not have a one pound brown block of meat. It should somewhat resemble how taco beef looks.

5. Spoon in the Tomato Paste and mix thoroughly. Once incorporated, add in the cans of Crushed Tomatoes.

let's be Frank: Don't thrown those empty cans out yet!

6. Before tossing out the empty cans, we'll "measure" out the Water with them. Fill each can halfway with Water and pour them into the stockpot.

let's be Frank: If we have to add water, why not pick up any left over tomato flavors too?! Also, do not worry if you add too much water by accident. The longer the sauce cooks, the thicker the sauce will get. 

7. Mince the Garlic, chop the Parsley and add them into the sauce.

let's be Frank: To measure the parsley, I typically add the leaves of ~2-3 sprigs of Parsley. Do NOT add the stems - no one wants that.

8. Add Salt and Black Pepper to taste.

let's be Frank: For the salt, I usually add a large wooden spoonful of salt to bring out all the flavors. This is your chance to be a chef, do what works for your tastes.

9. Let the stockpot sit on a medium flame (partially covered) for about 30 minutes and stir occasionally.

let's be Frank: This is when the flavors of the sauce really come out. Taste it occasionally and adjust as needed. 
=Too salty, add more pepper or tomato paste.
-Too thick, add some water.
-Too heavy on the tomato flavor, add some minced garlic, salt and pepper.

Think of this step as "damage control" or "perfection" (depending on outlook on life)- now's the time you can turn it from "Oww" to "Wow".

10. Plate it up with some penne (or other pasta) and enjoy!