gordon ramsay bolognese sauce

Gordon Ramsay Bolognese Sauce: Simple and Authentic Italian Flavors

When I set out to master Gordon Ramsay’s Bolognese sauce, I learned that a recipe is more than just a list of ingredients carefully crafting something special. In my experience, one key mistake, forgetting to simmer the sauce lovingly, resulted in a more rushed Bolognese than rich. The slow dance of flavors melding on the stovetop makes all the difference.

Remember this: a splash of milk smooths out the acidity, and that dash of wine isn’t just for the pan. It awakens the depths of tomato and meat to a full ensemble of taste. So, take your time, let the sauce thicken to perfection, and your pasta will sing with the notes of an authentic Italian kitchen. This is more than supper; it’s a slice of culinary heaven, ready to enchant every plate it graces.

Bolognese Sauce Recipe

Bolognese Sauce Recipe

Gordon Ramsay’s Bolognese sauce is a hearty, comforting delight that elevates your culinary experience. A straightforward recipe, authentic flavors of a traditional Bolognese right to your dining table.

3.8 from 203 votes


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  • 1 lb. Ground Beef

  • 2 cans Chopped Tomatoes

  • 1 Tbsp. Tomato Purée

  • 1 Medium Onion, finely chopped

  • 1 Medium Carrot, finely chopped

  • 2 cloves Garlic, minced

  • 1 Tbsp. Dried Oregano

  • 2 oz. Red Merlot Wine

  • 1 Tbsp. Worcestershire Sauce

  • 3 oz. Whole Milk

  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

  • Olive oil for cooking


  • Prepare the Vegetables: Finely chop the onion and carrot. Mince the garlic cloves.
  • Cook the Beef: Heat a dash of olive oil in a large skillet or saucepan over medium heat.
  • Add the ground beef, breaking it up with a spoon, and cook until browned. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Sauté the Vegetables: Push the beef to one side of the pan. Add the chopped onion and carrot to the other side and sauté until they soften.
  • Add the minced garlic and cook for another minute until fragrant.
  • Deglaze with Wine: Pour in the red Merlot wine and let it simmer, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan.
  • Add Tomatoes and Seasonings: Stir in the chopped tomatoes, tomato purée, dried oregano, and Worcestershire sauce.
  • Bring the mixture to a simmer.
  • Simmer the Sauce: Reduce the heat and let the sauce simmer gently for about 20-30 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld together.
  • Finish with Milk: Pour in the whole milk and stir through. Continue to simmer for another 10 minutes.
  • Adjust Seasoning: Taste and adjust the seasoning with additional salt and pepper as needed.
  • Serve the Bolognese sauce over cooked pasta, such as spaghetti or tagliatelle.
  • Garnish with grated Parmesan cheese and fresh basil if desired.

Recipe Video


What’s Bolognese Sauce Made Of?

Bolognese sauce, also known as ragù alla bolognese, is a meat-based sauce from Bologna, Italy. It typically contains a combination of ingredients that include:

  • Ground meat (usually a mixture of beef and pork)
  • Onion, carrot, and celery (soffritto)
  • Tomato paste or tomatoes
  • Red or white wine
  • Milk or cream
  • Olive oil or butter
  • Salt and pepper
  • Optionally, herbs like thyme, bay leaves, or oregano

What is the Difference Between Bolognese Sauce and Spaghetti Sauce?

“spaghetti sauce” is generally used in American cuisine and can refer to any sauce served with spaghetti. It’s often a simple tomato-based sauce seasoned with herbs and garlic. In contrast, Bolognese sauce is a specific Italian meat sauce with a more complex flavor profile. It includes soffritto (onion, carrot, and celery) and meat and is simmered with milk and wine, which is not typical for most American-style spaghetti sauces.

How Do You Get Rich Flavor in Bolognese?

To achieve a rich flavor in Bolognese sauce, follow these tips:

  1. Sauté the Soffritto: Cooking the onions, carrots, and celery slowly until soft brings out their sweetness.
  2. Brown the Meat: Properly browning the meat, not just cooking it until it is no longer pink, adds depth to the flavor.
  3. Deglaze with Wine: Adding wine to the pan and scraping up the browned bits adds complexity to the sauce.
  4. Cook Slowly: Let the sauce simmer at a low temperature for several hours. This slow-cooking process melds the flavors together and tenderizes the meat.
  5. Use Quality Tomatoes: High-quality canned tomatoes or tomato paste can make a significant difference.
  6. Finish with Dairy: Adding milk or cream near the end of cooking can balance acidity and enrich the sauce.

Why Do Italians Add Milk to Bolognese?

Italians add milk to Bolognese sauce for a few reasons:

  1. Richness: Milk adds a creamy richness to the sauce, balancing the tomatoes’ acidity and the meat’s robust flavor.
  2. Tenderness: The milk proteins can help tenderize the meat during the long, slow cooking process.
  3. Depth of Flavor: Milk contributes to the complex flavor profile of the sauce, giving it a subtle sweetness and a smoother texture.
  4. Tradition: Adding milk is part of the traditional recipe from Bologna, and classic Italian cooking often adheres to these time-honored methods.

Summing Up

As we scoop the final spoonfuls of Gordon Ramsay’s Bolognese onto a bed of steamy pasta, it’s the perfect time to savor the accomplishment of crafting such a rich, flavor-packed sauce. This kind of home-cooked meal, brimming with love and the finest tips from Chef Ramsay himself, turns a simple dinner into a treasured family moment.

So, gather around, pass the Parmesan, and delight in a dish that’s more than just food. It’s a warm embrace for your taste buds, a true celebration of the joy of cooking with heart. Remember, every fork swirl is a testament to the art of great cuisine made accessible in your kitchen. Enjoy the feast!

Last Updated on February 4, 2024 by John Siracusa


  • John Siracusa

    Hi, I'm John. I've worked in the Food Service industry for over 25 years, working in my family's business. Cooking for me has always been an art infused with traditions. My career was inspired by Hell's Kitchen, the West Side of Manhattan, which has one of New York City's best independent restaurant communities. I also admire Gordon Ramsay's no-nonsense approach to always being your best.

3.8 from 203 votes

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