Your family will be craving seconds of this delicious pappardelle bolognese pasta! Lean ground beef and vegetables simmered in a tasty crushed tomato sauce.
My comfort food growing up was a shiny blue box of Kraft macaroni and cheese which I will still love forever and ever. My Italian husband Jason on the other hand, can’t resist a big bowl of spaghetti and meat sauce. Sometimes the simplest and most wholesome ingredients make the best dishes.
Nostalgia is a big hit in my family, so every once in a while I let Jason indulge in an enormous bowl of carbs and some crusty bread for dipping in the sauce. My beef bolognese sauce is the perfect chunky, meaty goodness that goes oh so nicely with some pappardelle pasta. Ciao Bella!
I’m sure you have seen this pasta with meat sauce on your favorite Italian restaurant menu. It may seem like a simple dish, yet you need to be aware about the delicate layers of flavor.
How to make bolognese sauce
This meat based sauce originated near Bologna, Italy. In fact, the recipe for ragù alla bolognese was registered in 1982 by the Italian Academy of Cuisine with the Bologna Chamber of Commerce. This version incorporates pancetta and milk. The recipe has evolved over time depending on the region in Italy, with American versions varying in style. For this pappardelle bolognese recipe, I took the key ingredients and methods to create a hearty bolognese sauce. Feel free to add your twist!
I start my sauce by browning some lean ground beef in a large saucepan. Then comes sweating the aromatics, chopped onions, carrots, and garlic to add the rustic flavors to this red sauce. A little bit of tomato paste provides some concentrated tomato flavor and sweetness.
I like to use canned crushed San Marzano plum tomatoes because they are vine ripened and super sweet, which gives just the right flavor and consistency to the sauce.
The sauce is then simmered with a dash of oregano herb and allowed to cook slowly over low heat for at least a half hour. This technique allows the flavors to meld together and the meat to become nice and tender.
So why did I chose pappardelle noodles to pair with this bolognese sauce? Pappardelle has quickly become one of my favorite noodles to use with a thicker tomato bolognese sauce. The wide egg noodle ribbons allow for maximum sauce coverage and help catch each piece of beef in its wonderful folds.
You can serve any other flat shaped pasta like tagliatelle or fettuccine with the bolognese sauce. You’re going to want to grab a fork and a big ole’ spoon for this dish!
I always enjoy seeing Jason’s reaction as he walks through the door from a long day at work and he can smell the beef bolognese sauce simmering on the stove.
With one whiff of the savory sauce and boiling noodles, he immediately relaxes and smiles (win for the wifey!). It’s those small things that I know make him happy. Now let’s pour a glass of Chianti and get to grubbing!
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If you make this recipe, please let me know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo #jessicagavin on Instagram. I’d love to see what you come up with. Cheers, friends!
Why should you slowly simmer the Bolognese Sauce?
Cooking the sauce over low temperature for a longer time does two amazing things. First, all the great aromatics, vegetables, and meat flavors become concentrated as the liquid reduces slowly over time. Secondly, the heat and acids naturally found in the tomatoes tenderizes the ground beef and allows it to break down, giving a nice soft texture.
- 3 tablespoons olive oil , , divided
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1/2 cup carrots , , 1/8-inch dice
- 1/2 cup yellow onion , , finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic , , minced
- 1 cup brown mushrooms , , 1/4-inch slices
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 28 ounces crushed tomatoes , , canned (San Marzano variety or vine ripened)
- 1/2 teaspoon oregano , , chopped fresh, or 1/4 teaspoon dried
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/6 teaspoon black pepper
- 16 ounces pappardelle noodles , , fresh or dried, Garofalo
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1/2 cup Italian parsley leaves , , chopped for garnish
- Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat in a large, heavy saucepan.
- Add ground beef and brown the meat well, using a large spoon to break up the pieces and occasionally stirring about 5 to 7 minutes or until the beef is no longer pink.
- Transfer cooked meat to a medium-sized bowl.
- Wipe the pan clean with paper towel.
- Turn heat down to medium-low and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the pan.
- Add carrots and onions to the pan and cook until the vegetables begin to soften, often stirring about 5 minutes.
- Add garlic and cook for another minute.
- Add sliced mushrooms and cook for two minutes.
- Add the tomato paste and cook for one more minute.
- Stir in the browned meat.
- Add crushed tomatoes and oregano and stir well to combine.
- Simmer the sauce over medium-low heat. Cover the pan, leaving a small opening for steam to escape. Cook until the meat is tender and the flavors have melded, at least half an hour or up to an hour. Stir every 10 minutes.
- Add some water if the sauce starts to look dry. Season sauce with salt and pepper, more to taste.
- About 20 minutes before the sauce is done cooking, bring a pot of water to boil.
- Cook the pappardelle noodles according to manufacturer's direction.
- Divide the pasta amongst 4 bowls. Top with beef bolognese sauce and garnish with shaved Parmesan cheese and parsley.
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