An Italian Mom's Favorite Bolognese Recipe Is the Best Ever by Ann Marie Patitucci

An Italian Mom's Favorite Bolognese Recipe Is the Best Ever

Bolognese is probably easy enough to make on the stove top. But why not let the slow cooker do most of the work when you make Bolognese sauce?

I come from a long line of amazing Italian cooks. Most of the older women in my family are natural cooks and they like to cook everything from scratch. I’m not as natural as they are in the kitchen, I work full time, and I have a one hour daily commute. I love authentic Italian food and treasure their recipes, but sometimes I like to find my own recipes and my slow cooker is a savior on busy work/school nights. We don’t have one cherished family Bolognese recipe anyway, so I set out to find the perfect one for my family – and I think I did!

I’ve learned that the best spaghetti Bolognese is cooked slowly for hours. This is what the slow cooker was made for, so using it helps you to achieve authentic Bolognese! Other recipes call for a longer cook time but I have found that four hours on high is enough. I’ve also figured out that it’s best to brown the ground meat before adding it to the slow cooker. The extra step is worth it. Trust me. You're going to love this slow-cooker recipe.

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Cuisine: Italian 
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 4 hours
Total Time: 4 hours and 15 minutes
Servings: 8


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Recipe Notes

  • My mom and I are partial to Contadina crushed tomatoes.
  • Try this recipe with ground turkey.

Here’s how to make it:

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet or pan over medium-high heat. Sauté chopped onions until softened. Add garlic and cook about 30 seconds, or until fragrant.
  2. Brown the meat, breaking it apart with a wooden spatula or spoon, until it just begins to brown, about 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a 6-quart slow cooker.
  3. Return skillet to the stove. Pour in the wine/beef broth, if desired, while scraping any bits of fried meat from the pan. Bring to a gentle simmer and transfer to the slow cooker.
  4. Add the following to the slow cooker: crushed tomatoes, 1 cup beef broth, tomato paste, crushed bouillon cubes, salt, oregano, basil, sugar, pepper and carrot (if desired). Cover and cook on high for 3 to 4 hours or on low for 6 to 7 hours. Add in the chopped parsley shortly before boiling the spaghetti. Stir.
  5. In the last 12 to 15 minutes or so of cooking time, boil spaghetti in salted water until al dente. Drain spaghetti, reserving 1/2 cup of pasta water. Pour the reserved water back into the pasta along with 2 cups cooked Bolognese sauce. Stir until the sauce is thick enough to coat the pasta. Serve with Parmesan cheese and chopped parsley, if desired.

Nutrition Facts Per Serving

Calories: 529

Total Fat: 17.5g

Saturated Fat: 3.4g

Cholesterol: 41mg

Sodium: 283mg

Total Carbohydrate: 82.1g

Dietary Fiber: 17.7g

Total Sugars: 26.8g

Protein: 22.3g

Vitamin D: 0mcg

Calcium: 588mg

Iron: 21mg

Potassium: 1646mg

Recipe cooking times, nutritional information and servings are approximate and provided for your convenience. However, 30Seconds is not responsible for the outcome of any recipe, nor may you have the same results because of variations in ingredients, temperatures, altitude, errors, omissions or cooking/baking abilities. This recipe has been analyzed by VeryWellFit. However, any nutritional information is provided as a courtesy and it is up to the individual to ascertain accuracy. To ensure image quality, we may occasionally use stock photography.

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Elisa Schmitz
One of my all-time favorite dishes. Thanks for the easier recipe! #yum
Gwen Johnson
Great idea letting the slow cooker do the work.
Ann Marie Patitucci
Update: I made this the other night with what I had on hand (only one onion, no carrots, and broth-- not red wine) and it came out great! My hubby said it's one of the best meals I've ever made and that's high praise coming from him! I hope others enjoy it!
Hi Ann Marie Patitucci ! Looks yummy! Approximately how many cups of sauce does this make, and can leftover sauce be frozen, once it's cooled? Thanks so much!

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