Marcella Hazan’s Bolognese Sauce Recipe (2024)

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I cannot comment of the taste of the sauce. It was cooling and I ran a short errand. In the meantime, my 8 year old Labrador Retriever, Jake, (who had never, ever bothered anything in the kitchen) somehow got the pot off of the cooktop and ate all of the sauce. The worst part was that I had tripled the recipe, so Jake ate 3 pounds of Bolognese sauce! I am certain he would rate the sauce a 5. We had to go out for dinner, but I will make the recipe again and post relevant feedback!PS Jake is fine.

Rob Ron

At the end of the cooking process am I to remove the separated fat. I'm new to this.

Andrew from New York

This was a great and helpful guide. Added a few bits more here, reduced a few things there and ended up with a great bolognese.

I have to laugh at the people who are complaining about it not being good. You're saying that you had something on your stove top for 3 hours and not once did you taste it? This is cooking not baking. You taste everything at every step along the way and make adjustments. It is the lazy cook that blames the recipe


I've been making this sauce for 25 years. It comes out great every time. I can say that it works with ground beef or a mixture of beef, pork and/or veal. I can also say that this sauce is 97.32% as good after 1 hour as it is after 3 hours, so if you're impatient. Noting that it takes about 1 hour to get to step 4, so if you started cooking a bit late, when you get to step 4, you can eat it with minimal reduction in quality after one hour of cooking.


I have the 1979 version of the book. The proportions of ingredients in my cookbook are very different.

For 3/4 lb of beef, go with:
3 tbs each - olive oil and butter
2 tbs each chopped onion, celery and carrot
1/2 c milk
2 c canned Italian tomatoes, roughly chopped.

My recipe calls for adding the wine and cooking off, before adding the milk.

I always make a triple or quadruple recipe. I cut down on the amount of butter/oil I use - never more than 4-6 tbs of each. It freezes well.


Marcella has never never let me down. No exception here. If you have had less than a satisfactory result, less thaN a religious experience, try this:1.Do what she says—EXACTLY.2.Tell Alexa to play Puccini or Verdi3.Use the heavy bottom pot.4.Do NOTHING to make any step happen more quickly.7.Don’t deviate from her instructions.You will have a different result. Tanti saluti.

Brian T Hunt

Authentic. Using a broad, flat noodle such as parpadelle is essential. Chop the vegetables pretty fine- they seem to disappear, but are actually part of the chunks in the ragu. The tip about using a little butter and a little starchy pasta water to toss the sauce with the pasta is also important. And spring for the real Parmesan-Reggiano- desecrating a five-hour ragu with stuff from the green can would not only be disastrously counter-productive and sad, but borderline immoral. :)


This the the best Bolognese recipe there is in my opinion. Btw... Ground chuck is 80/20 ground beef. That is also known as 80%. Any leaner beef and the sauce would not be correct. We do not find it too fatty in the least. You need the butter and whole milk for this sauce to be the way it is supposed to be. Using turkey and skim milk might give you a tasty end result, but it is not Marcella's sauce. As far as I am concerned this recipe is perfect as written . No changes necessary.


I am making this right now and it is going great. I really just wanted to say that I love the expression, "laziest of simmers".

Patricia Garcia

Marcella hailed from the Northern Adriatic coast, where seafood was the most commonly available. She only learned to cook after she was married, trying to please Victor, who was and is an oenophile. She was a gifted cook. I wonder how many of the complainers bothered with the is the most defining flavor in a true Bolognese sauce, which this most definitely is


I've been making this for over 30 years. I cook it exactly for 5 hours. The difference in the taste when you cook it for 3 hours (more bland) and 5 hours is incredible and well worth the time. It ends up being a thick, concentrated sauce that you don't pour on top of the pasta but that you toss into the pasta.


Holy goodness. I'm amazed at the number of people who are absolutely sure that the version of Bolognese that they prefer is the one, true, authentic version. I imagine there are as many variations as there are kitchens in Bologna, folks.

If I could add anything to the conversation, it would be to throw a little starchy pasta water in with the sauce and pasta as they are being tossed together, and really bring it all together.


No; it's just a signal that it's finished cooking ("ready to eat"). When sauce cooks long enough that the fat separates it 1) improves the taste of the ingredients, and 2) improves the appearance of the dish. Separated fat looks and tastes beautiful in a dish--it often takes on the deepest colors and flavors in the pot, and is one measure that separates an amateur's dish from a professional's. So, yes! The fat is meant to stay in the pot!


I've made this sauce many times, and I like it for what it is. I love to doctor things, too, but sometimes a classic is a classic. That being said, I would add two observations:
-Fresh, blanched, peeled, and chopped tomatoes work well, too. Lean toward longer cooking time. Haven't needed to add water when using fresh.
-I finely mince the vegetables, particularly the carrot and celery. Otherwise, it has a "beef stew" appearance that my family finds less appealing.


Oh goodness no! Fear not the fat! Fear the pasta more.


I made this as written with one exception, after half an hour simmering on stovetop, I moved this to my oven and allowed it to bake at low (275-300 degrees) the rest of the time. I continued the occasional stirring etc as written. It came out beautifully. No additional water was needed at any point.


5 stars - nothing more to say!


Could I use lamb to make this? Has anyone tried it?


I was hopeful, given the rave reviews, but after about an hour and a half in, I tasted and found it very bland. Whipped out several Italian cookbooks, and doctored it up by adding sautéed pancetta, garlic, tomato paste, more wine, bay leaves, Parmesan rind, a sprig of basil, and low salt chicken broth. Simmered very slowly for a total of 3.5 hours before serving over papardelle, with Parmesan and some chopped basil.Frankly, I prefer my own old spaghetti sauce recipe.


No no no. Carrot and celery in a bolognese? No no no


3x recipe:1 big can (32 oz) tomatoes 1 small can (14 oz)

Joan DeCenzo

I cannot fathom the rave reviews about this recipe. There is not one redeeming aspect. The flavor was bland, texturally the meat dissolved into tiny pieces ultimately leaving it visually unappealing. I made the recipe exactly as directed and simmered the sauce for 5 hours. It required some "doctoring" before I could serve it to my family. A huge disappointment given the time required.


Oops realized I accidentally grabbed strawberry flavored milk. It’s already evaporated into the beef. Wish me luck 😬

Name Debbie

I forgot to add the milk and everything is simmering. Is it too late?

Rie Rie

Thank you to the person who noted that they allow 30 minutes between each layer. I am very new to cooking and still not confident about when a liquid "evaporates off". I am guessing that it means there is virtually no liquid remaining before the tomatoes are added. Fingers crossed but I'm feeling pretty good about how it smells so far and haven't added the tomatoes yet.

Charlene Spierer

I’ve made this recipe for years. Perfect every time! I usually double the recipe so I could freeze half. Highly recommend. Huge fan of Marcella Hazan.


It is amazing, although, I call it my mom's bolognese, as I have been making it for over 20 years based on my mom's recipe. It is also a very flexible and forgiving recipe - a tasty addition is Trader Joe's Italian bacon pieces (I think 4 oz), which gives some additional flavor. I usually make a triple portion of this without the milk and freeze it, and then cook it with some added milk for another hour. I would not abbreviate the cooking time, the longer the better.


Excellent recipe. I had to add garlic, how could you not? I also used a combination of pork/veal/beef for protein. Cooking was done in a large cast iron pan, which worked perfectly. I agree that long simmering is key here.

Jeanette R

Followed recipe exactly with hopes of discovering how six hours plus exacting handling could render such basic ingredients magical. The result, we agreed, was certainly edible, but far from approaching five star status.


This is my favorite bolognese ever. I do prefer red wine to white, so I always make it that way now.

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Marcella Hazan’s Bolognese Sauce Recipe (2024)
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