Pasta Bolognese

garnished pasta bolognese in bowl with fork and spoon and glass of wine, brown bowl of red pepper flakes and hunk of parmesan cheese surrounding it

This Pasta Bolognese is filled with lots of fresh vegetables and is full of rich flavor. It’s thick, delicious and hearty! Comfort food at its finest.  

Thank you to Erath Wines for sponsoring this post! For reference, this recipe was originally published in 2018 – I’ve since updated the recipe, photos and added Erath Wine Pinot Noir to the recipe! 

Does anything scream cozy more than a giant bowl of pasta paired with a glass of wine?! I think not. I am so in love with this dish and plan to make it all Winter long! 

What is Bolognese? 

If you’re not sure what bolognese is, let me explain it to you! Bolognese is a pasta sauce that originated in…you guessed it, Italy! It usually consists of the same similar ingredients that you would find in a normal tomato based pasta sauce, however, it has a few ingredients that makes it unique and ultra flavorful. 

bolognese sauce in dutch oven with wooden spoon

Of course, you then pair the bolognese sauce with your choice of pasta! Apparently it’s the most authentic way to choose a noodle that really gets coated with the sauce.

Why You’ll Love this Dish: 

The flavor of this bolognese sauce is astounding! From the cooked down vegetables, to the 2 different meats, the hearty texture…each bite will have you wanting to come back for more!

Each bite is loaded with perfectly cooked al-dente noodles and lots of sauce! I don’t know about you, but I do not enjoy dry pasta dishes….I want a bowl that’s loaded with both noodles AND sauce and…this fits the bill. It’s LOADED with sauce!

This dish is so hearty – it’s pure comfort food at its finest. A big bowl of this pasta feels like a warm hug on a cold day and it will fill you up! 

close up of garnished pasta bolognese in bowl

This sauce takes a little extra time, effort and love than other sauces on the market…but the flavor and texture is totally worth it and you might never buy jarred sauce again! 

Pairing With Erath: 

What better pairing with a hearty bowl of pasta than a smooth glass of Erath Pinot Noir?!

side view photo of pasta bolognese in grey bowl with bottle of Erath Pinot Noir beside it

If you didn’t know, Erath has been in the art of making wine for over 40 years…needless to say they have absolutely perfected the Pinot Noir which makes it the dreamiest combo with a big bowl of Pasta Bolognese!

Not only does Erath’s Pinot taste good WITH a bowl of pasta, we actually use the wine as one of the main ingredients in the sauce! 

Erath Pinot Noir being poured into dutch oven full of bolognese sauce

The flavor it adds is so complex, rich and deep. It takes the sauce up a notch in deliciousness as it simmers away in the dutch oven! Best part? You can pour yourself a glass after you pour the amount you need in the sauce…win win! 

If you’re interested in trying out Erath for yourself, find out more about their wines HERE!

Ingredients You Need: 

Extra Virgin Olive Oil – the base you need to coat the bottom of your dutch oven to prepare for the veggies

Yellow Onion, Carrots, Celery and Garlic – these will serve as the vegetable base of this dish. 

Ground Beef – I used 85/15 grass fed ground beef.

Ground Pork – I used 80/20 ground pork.

Crushed Tomatoes – this will serve as the tomato base of the sauce. 

Tomato Paste – this will add flavor and help thicken it slightly. 

Erath Pinot Noir (or any dry red wine) – a must have for flavor! 

Kosher Salt, Italian Seasoning, Red Pepper Flakes– the three main seasonings you will use for this sauce!

Whole Milk + Heavy Cream – you will use a blend of these two to make the sauce ultra creamy. 

Pasta – I used bronze cut linguine, feel free to use any thick noodle that will really soak up the sauce. 

Parmesan – use freshly grated parmesan!

Fresh herbs – for garnish and for extra flavor!

How to Make Pasta Bolognese in 5 Simple Steps: 

  1. Grab the yellow onion, celery, carrots and garlic. FINELY dice/mince these ingredients. Keep in mind, the bigger the chunks, you will taste them! You really want them to be easily integrated into the sauce so…take the time to mince! After I was done mincing each ingredient, I placed it in a bowl on the side.
  2. In a large pot or dutch oven, add olive oil and place on medium heat. Once warmed, add in the onion, celery and carrots with a pinch of salt. Cook for 4-5 minutes and then add in the garlic and cook until fragrant (about 1 minute). 
  3. Add in the ground beef and pork along with 2 tsp of kosher salt to season the meat. Break up the meat to make sure it’s in small crumbles and let it cook fully – about 7-10 minutes. Once done, add in the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, spices and Erath Pinot Noir. Stir to combine and then cover to let this cook for around 2 hours or so – stirring occasionally.
  4. When the sauce is almost done cooking, cook the pasta noodles according to the package and drain them. 
  5. The final step is to add milk and cream to the sauce. Once you do that, be sure to TASTE the sauce. Adjust seasoning if needed – add more salt, more Italian seasoning, more milk etc. Then, add in the pasta directly to the sauce and toss to combine! Garnish with parmesan cheese, fresh herbs and red pepper flakes. Enjoy with a glass of Erath!

Best Tips for Success: 

The longer you let the bolognese sauce simmer in your dutch oven or pot, the better. The flavors will continue to develop. It’s kind of like chili, it gets better with time.

For texture purposes, make sure to mince the yellow onion, carrots and celery VERY FINELY. Yes, this takes time – but this step directly affects the texture of the sauce. You don’t want huge chunks of carrot or a hunk of celery in your sauce so be sure to take the time to mince them finely. 

If you want to take it up a notch, you could even throw them in your food processor to really make sure they are minced well and save some time!

view of overhead photo of pasta bolognese with pasta twirled on fork

Be sure to taste as you go! This sauce has 2 pounds of meat in it…so you want to make sure that everything is seasoned adequately and to your liking!

Ingredient Substitutions: 

If you want a spicier take on this recipe, substitute Spicy Italian Sausage for the ground pork. 

You can use fresh herbs instead of the dried herbs – just use a combination of basil, oregano and thyme. 

No heavy cream? All milk is fine or you can use half and half!

Use whatever noodles you may have on hand that are hearty (aka not spaghetti noodles) and long (aka not macaroni noodles)….the noodles are truly just a vehicle for the amazing flavor of the sauce! 

Storing Leftovers: 

Store your leftovers in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. When ready to eat, simply heat them up to your liking, add a little bit of fresh parmesan and enjoy!

I hope you guys love this Pasta Bolognese as much as I do! It’s just over the top flavorful, the perfect meal for anytime of the week – especially in the cozy Winter months.

Did you enjoy this recipe? Here are a few others you might like:

Roasted Red Pepper Pasta with Chicken Sausage 

Garlic Mushroom Pasta 

Sausage Gnocchi with Tomato Sauce 

Thank you so much for following along here, friends! Want to see more? Be sure to follow ourbalancedbowl on Instagram and tag me with your photo if you end up making a recipe! You can also post a photo of your recipe to the Our Balanced Bowl Facebook page! Like a recipe that you saw? Follow me on Pinterest here! I always love to see your re-creations! If you do make a recipe, it would make my whole day if you were to rate and comment so I can get your feedback! Lots of love! – Haylie

5 from 1 vote

Pasta Bolognese

This Pasta Bolognese is filled with lots of fresh vegetables and is full of deep flavors. It’s thick, delicious and hearty! It’s comfort food at its finest.  

Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Keyword bolognese sauce, easy bolognese, pasta bolognese
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours 20 minutes
Total Time 3 hours 25 minutes
Servings 8 servings
Author Haylie


  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced finely
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 medium carrots, diced finely
  • 2 celery stalks, diced finely
  • 1 lb. ground beef (I used 85/15)
  • 1 lb. ground pork (i used 80/20)
  • 1 28 oz. can of crushed tomatoes
  • 3 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup Erath Pinot Noir (or any dry red wine)
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 lb pasta of choice (i used bronze cut linguine)
  • lots of salt and pepper to taste
  • Freshly grated parmesan cheese for garnish
  • fresh basil and red pepper flakes for garnish (optional)


  1. Finely mince your carrots, celery, and yellow onion. Take the time to REALLY mince these - as you don’t want huge chunks of carrot in your sauce. Once these are minced, place them in a bowl and set them aside. Mince the garlic as well and leave on the cutting board for now. 

  2. Heat a large pot or dutch oven on medium heat. Add in the olive oil and let it warm up. Once hot, add in your carrots, onions and celery with a pinch of kosher salt. Cook for about 4 minutes, stirring occasionally and then add in your garlic. Cook for an additional 1-2 minutes or until the garlic is fragrant. 

  3. Next, add in your ground beef and ground pork. Season generously with 2 tsp of kosher salt. Break up the meat into crumbles and cook until fully brown, should take about 7-10 minutes.

  4. Next, add in your two cans of tomatoes, tomato paste, Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes and the wine. Stir to combine. Cover and cook over medium low heat, simmering for 2 hours, stirring occasionally. 

  5. As it cooks, be sure to taste as you go along and adjust your seasonings if needed by adding more salt or additional Italian seasoning.

  6. When the bolognese sauce is nearly finished, cook your pasta noodles. Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil and cook your pasta according to the package directions. 

  7. Drain your pasta when it's finished cooking. 

  8. To the bolognese sauce, stir in the milk and heavy cream. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.

  9. Add the drained pasta directly into the sauce and toss to coat the noodles. Garnish with fresh parmesan, fresh herbs and red pepper flakes if desired for garnish. Eat while hot and enjoy! 

2 comments / Add your comment below

  1. 5 stars
    Oh my gosh Haylie, that sounds like a horrible 3 days. I’ve been ill like that on vacation and it is not fun! But I’m glad you guys still had fun and found a lovely Italian restaurant! Food is such an important part of travelling. As for this pasta, it looks so flavourful and hearty. Perfect comfort food! Happy Friday!

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