Jun 4, 2022

Mafaldine Pasta Bolognese

Surprisingly, I haven't posted any bolognese recipes in this blog. I mean it's such a classic but after all these years I only wrote about similar dishes like marinara or meatball pasta. But isn't the common red sauce the same as bolognese? No no no, they might appear similar, but the main difference lies on the ingredients used. Milk that is. Milk provides that creamy and rich characters to the bolognese sauce. 

Some also argue that a true bolognese should involve white wine instead of the red. To me, it's like every Italian family has their own way of making the ideal bolognese. And for me, I'd like to go with the red for both the darker color and denser flavor it provides.

Mafaldine pasta bolognese - 

Mafaldine pasta bolognese

Ingredients (about 6 portions)?

  • 1 pack/500 grams mafaldine pasta (or other wide and long pasta)
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 onion
  • 2 medium carrot
  • 2 medium celery
  • 2 ripe tomatoes
  • 450 grams lean ground beef
  • 340 grams passata/tomato sauce
  • 160 grams thick-cut bacon
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Some salt
  • 1 teaspoon mixed Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Some grated aged Parmigiano Reggiano
  • Some pasta water (just in case)


Peel and chop the garlic cloves. Peel and dice the onion. Peel and dice the carrots. Dice the celery. Destem and chop the tomatoes. Cube the bacon.

Use a big pan or enameled cast iron Dutch oven per my case, drizzle in 2 tablespoons of olive oil and turn to medium heat. Add in cubed bacon and sear till slightly browned. Scoop out the bacon pieces first.

Bacon cubes

Add in diced onion along with 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper. Stir and cook till the onion softens, but slightly browned on the edges is fine too. It takes about few minutes.

Searing chopped onion

Add in carrot, celery, and garlic. Stir and cook for another 10 minutes or so, but make sure not to burn the garlic.

Searing carrot, celery, onion, and garlic

Add in ground beef and cook till browned. Make sure to use lean meat here. Transfer the bacon back.

Searing ingredients for bolognese

Pour in 1 cup of red wine and bring up the heat to keep it at a slightly bubbling stage, continue to cook for about 8 minutes.

Adding wine

Pour in 1 cup of milk and still keep it at a slightly bubbling stage. This time, cook for about 6 more minutes.

Adding milk for bolognese

Add in chopped tomatoes, tomato sauce, 1 bay leaf, 1 teaspoon of mixed Italian seasoning, and 1 more teaspoon of salt. Bring the entire mixture to a boil then put the lid on. Perhaps lower the heat to keep it at a simmer inside. This time, it'll take about 30 minutes.

Adding tomatoes and tomato sauce for bolognese

Towards the end, prepare a big pot of water with some salt in it. Bring it to a boil and cook the pasta till almost al dente. Scoop out some pasta water first just in case we need to dilute the pasta sauce later on. Not absolutely, but it's always safer to keep some water prior.

Drain out the pasta and add to the sauce mixture. Mix and taste, see if more seasonings are needed, or need to dilute a bit with pasta water we saved earlier. I didn't use any pasta water here by the way.

Plate and grate some aged Parmigiano Reggiano right before serving.  

Mafaldine pasta bolognese

One thing I like about this pasta bolognese recipe is that it used a lot of veggies, different color vegetables too. I can simply serve this pasta without sacrificing balanced, nutritious diet. 

Mafaldine pasta bolognese

You know what? If there're any leftovers, you can transfer the pasta to a baking dish and top with mixed cheese. Bake till the cheese melts and garnish with some freshly chopped parsley. There you go, another dinner preparation easily tackled. 

Other pasta recipes:

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