Marcella Hazan’s Bolognese Sauce Recipe (2024)

Table of Contents
Ratings Private Notes Cooking Notes



out of 5


user ratings

Your rating

or to rate this recipe.

Have you cooked this?

or to mark this recipe as cooked.

Private Notes

Leave a Private Note on this recipe and see it here.

Cooking Notes


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 added a chocolate bar to make the recipe more authentic.


Okay I’ve been making this recipe for a decade and always loved it as is. BUT if you are used to spicy food (brown girl here) and want a bit of something, I added a tablespoon of chopped Calabrian chilis to double the recipe on hour 3 of cooking and it’s a revelation! (I also add garlic early I’m so sorry if you are personally offended.)


I learned how to make this at age 18 to impress my boyfriend and I’m still making it for him 20 years later, so I guess it worked. I make it exactly as the recipe says with two exceptions- my lazy one is I hand chop the onions but then use a food processor to mince the carrots and celery. I also like to increase the veggie to meat ratio. I find that it doesn’t throw off the flavor profile and I convince myself this is healthy sauce because of all the veg.

Liz Friedman

I follow the recipe almost exactly as written, except I put in a 28oz can of tomatoes (I think the guy in the NYT video put that much in). This sauce is PHENOMENAL!!! As other commenters said, definitely cook for more than 3 hours, preferably 5.


This is fantastic!


Cook as written. Garlic is not an ingredient in a bolognese sauce and not in everything Italian. Italian-American cooking, maybe, but not Italy. There are many regions and styles of cooking. Expand your horizons and open your mind. This is perfect.


Cook as written. Garlic is not an ingredient in a bolognese sauce and not in everything Italian. Italian-American cooking, maybe, but not Italy. There are many regions and styles of cooking. Expand your horizons and open your mind. This is perfect.

Bruno Carnovale

My mother's parents were born Venice (north), my fathers were born in Calabria (south). I am not unfamiliar with Italian home cooking.. My mother had a high opinion of many of Hazan's recipes and once gave me a copy of one of Hazan's cookbooks. I tried this recipe with high hopes and a few doubts (no garlic? no oregano/sage/rosemary/thyme?). This recipe is BLAND, BLAND, BLAND.


I use porotbello mushrooms instead of meat....delicious


This recipe is a no-brainer. Two tips:1) Double the nutmeg, especially if you’re not using fresh. It adds enough warmth to make it worthwhile, but without overpowering the recipe. 2) Follow the timeline and BE PATIENT. It takes TIME to boil down the liquid (milk, wine). Good luck!


Add garlic early. Go for finally crumbled beef result, meaning, no vegetables at all.

Matt J

I adore this recipe and use it as my go-to. However, it can taste a bit bland to palates accustomed to typical Italian American food. To plus it up, I will add some garlic towards the end of the veggie saute, a pinch of Italian seasoning, and let simmer with a Parmesan rind.

Cleva Vilanueva

everytime I cook it, it tastes better/// a very good recepy////


At step 4 could one put it in a low-heat slow cooker?

Vicci Jaffe

can this sauce be frozen? Will the taste suffer (much)?

Private notes are only visible to you.

Marcella Hazan’s Bolognese Sauce Recipe (2024)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: The Hon. Margery Christiansen

Last Updated:

Views: 5480

Rating: 5 / 5 (70 voted)

Reviews: 85% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: The Hon. Margery Christiansen

Birthday: 2000-07-07

Address: 5050 Breitenberg Knoll, New Robert, MI 45409

Phone: +2556892639372

Job: Investor Mining Engineer

Hobby: Sketching, Cosplaying, Glassblowing, Genealogy, Crocheting, Archery, Skateboarding

Introduction: My name is The Hon. Margery Christiansen, I am a bright, adorable, precious, inexpensive, gorgeous, comfortable, happy person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.