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Bolognese [boh-luhn-yey-zee]

The Only Pasta Sauce Recipe You Will Make Weekly

Just the word is fun to say- [boh-luh n-yey-zee]. Phonetics are so important when naming dishes in other languages so we wanted to make sure you get it right! For a laugh you can watch this video and learn a thing or two about other Italian words frequently pronounced incorrectly. Having studied Italian in school I am now certain it is an easier language to learn than English, where it seems, according to my second-grader, everything is an exception to the rule!

Bolognese at our house is like being handed a trophy, it is gilded in happiness when presented for dinner. My youngest always remarks when she sees the simple ingredients being chopped, “Dad, if that is Bolognese, I don’t like it…I love it.” Her comedic timing waiting for her father to say, “What? You don’t like Bolognese?” before she can interject her punch line is part of the ritual of this dish. Food rituals are wonderful. They heighten the senses when the food is being prepared and ultimately enjoyed. They are the memories we share when we offer the dish to others for the first time.

When the family as a whole agreed they loved Bolognese it turned from a “special dinner” to a weeknight staple since it could be made ahead and put on reserve for any night when we didn’t feel like more than boiling a pot of pasta. For many families it can be a substitute for the age-old Spaghetti and Meatballs- a teaching moment that food can be similar even when it looks different. The beauty of this dish is you can doctor it up with whatever you like, but the basic recipe suits us just fine with a couple of substitutions- we enjoy ground veal or lamb for a little more sweetness and we also favor Rigatoni to a the traditional wide, flat pasta- Tagliatelle or Pappardelle because it is easier for young children to manage!

And our last piece of advice is if you are not doing the shopping, send the shopper to the store with a picture of the can of tomatoes (crushed) and brand (San Marzano) you are looking for in order to avoid the inevitable phone call, "I am standing in front of the canned tomatoes, what kind do you want?"


Simple Bolognese Sauce



  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil,
  • 1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 1 celery stock, coarsely chopped
  • 1 carrot, coarsely chopped
  • 1 pound ground chuck beef
  • One 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • ¼ cup flat leaf Italian parsley, chopped
  • 8 fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup flat-leaf Italian parsley, chopped
  • ¼ cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano




  1. In a large skillet heat the olive oil. When almost smoking, add the onion and garlic and sauté over medium heat until the onions become very soft, about 8 minutes.
  2. Add the celery and carrots and sauté for 5 minutes.
  3. Raise heat to high and add the ground beef. Sauté, stirring frequently and breaking up any large lumps and cook until meat is no longer pink, about 10 minutes.
  4. Add the tomatoes, parsley and basil and cook over medium low heat until the sauce thickens. Season with salt and pepper. This will take approximately ½ hour.
  5. Finish dish with Pecorino Romano grated over each plate.

 Arcadia Platter Blue and White Dinnerware Sunday Supper


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