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Basic Bolognese Sauce with Ground Beef

Bolognese Sauce with Ground Beef

This Bolognese Sauce with Ground Beef is actually a Combination of a Marinara and Bolognese sauce.

I would typically call it a meat sauce BUT most people search for this as a bolognese. I use more tomatoes which is like a marinara and I include meat which is a bolognese style. Traditional bolognese is made with small pieces of meat and not ground beef. It’s mostly simmered with broth and uses a small amount of tomato paste. I do have a traditional bolognese sauce you can look at here. Just in case you are curious.

I use this pasta sauce for many dishes and add what I need for specific recipes like béchamel for lasagne, pesto for other dishes, fresh herbs and dried seasonings. For me this is just a good basic sauce start with.

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Bolognese Sauce with Ground Beef

Basic Bolognese Sauce with Ground Beef

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  • Author: Carrie Pacini
  • Category: Italian Inspired


Servings: 6



Olive Oil
1 cup white onion finely chopped
1 cup celery finely chopped
1 1/2 lb of ground Beef or Bison
2 teaspoons Chicken Bouillon or 1 Cube
3 Cans (or boxes like Pomi) Chopped or Whole Tomatoes (San Marzano Tomatoes)
5 Fresh Basil leaves
2 teaspoons chopped Italian parsley
Salt & Pepper

Grated Cheese (Parmigiano or Pecorino) to shave on top for serving, I like to toss Capellini, Rigatoni, or Penne.


1. In a large pot heat up the olive oil.
2. Add onions and celery and sauté over moderate heat until translucent.
3. Add the ground beef and season with salt.
4. Continue to brown the meat with onions and celery.
5. Cook with lid off until the juices cook off
6. Add tomatoes and mix into the beef mixture.
7. Add chicken bouillon.
8. Bring the sauce to a boil, then reduce the heat to low.
9. Simmer covered for about 45 min, stirring occasionally as needed.
10. Add basil and parsley.
11. Continue to simmer until you are ready to toss with pasta.

Before serving check the seasoning and adjust salt and pepper to your taste. Toss with your preferred pasta and you are ready to eat.


Tomatoes are such a major part of this recipe so make sure you buy the chopped or whole tomatoes.


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  • Reply
    Our Family’s Famous Meatballs | The Tasteful Life
    October 14, 2010 at 12:16 pm

    […] get that with the beef and pork combination. Also if you need a sauce for the meatballs try out thisbasic red sauce . Follow all the directions with the exception of the ground beef since you will have the […]

  • Reply
    September 23, 2011 at 4:57 pm

    You are right. It doesn’t need a thing! Now I have dinner ready to enjoy after soccer practice. Delicious!

  • Reply
    Natalie D.
    January 26, 2014 at 10:48 pm

    Hi Carrie! Just a question – I’ve never heard of using chicken bouillon in tomato sauce before, why do you do it? What does it add the the sauce? I’m definitely going to try it out though!

    • Reply
      Carrie Pacini
      January 27, 2014 at 7:58 am

      Hi Natalie, chicken bouillon gives the sauce depth and really brings out the tomatoes without being overstated and overpowering. It’s really a lovely sauce.

  • Reply
    July 9, 2016 at 10:16 am

    What size are the cans of tomatoes?

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