Beef Bolognese with Pappardelle Pasta

4.67 from 178 votes
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Your family will be craving seconds of this delicious pappardelle bolognese pasta! Lean ground beef and vegetables simmered in a tasty crushed tomato sauce.

Pappardelle Bolognese Recipe

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 of the delicate layers of flavor.

Bowl of beef bolognese sauce with pappardelle pasta

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!

Lean ground beef and mushrooms in a large saucepan

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.

Italian-style tomato paste provides concentrated flavors

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.

Bowl of pasta noodles and beef sauce

So why did I choose 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!

Fork inside bowl of pappardelle pasta and meat sauce

I always enjoy seeing Jason’s reaction as he walks through the door after 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!

More Pasta recipes

Why should you slowly simmer the Bolognese Sauce?

Cooking the sauce over a 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.

Beef Bolognese Sauce with Pappardelle Pasta

Your family will ask for seconds of this hearty beef bolognese sauce served with pappardelle pasta! Lean ground beef is simmered in a crushed tomato sauce.
4.67 from 178 votes
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time45 minutes
Total Time1 hour
Servings 6 servings
Course Entree
Cuisine Italian


  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • ½ cup carrots, ⅛-inch dice
  • ½ cup yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 cup brown mushrooms, ¼-inch slices
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 28 ounces crushed tomatoes, canned San Marzano recommended
  • ½ teaspoon oregano, chopped fresh, or ¼ teaspoon dried
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 16 ounces pappardelle noodles, fresh or dried
  • ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • ½ 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, stirring often about 5 minutes.
  • Add garlic and cook for 1 minute.
  • Add sliced mushrooms and cook for 2 minutes.
  • Add the tomato paste and cook for 1 minute.
  • Add the browned meat, crushed tomatoes, oregano, salt, and pepper, stir well to combine.
  • Simmer the sauce over medium-low heat. Cover the pan, leaving a small opening for steam to escape.
  • Cook sauce until the meat is tender and the flavors have melded, at least 30 minutes to 1 hour. Stir every 10 minutes. Add some water if the sauce starts to look dry.
  • 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.
  • Top pasta with beef bolognese sauce and garnish with shaved Parmesan cheese and parsley.

Recipe Video

YouTube video

Nutrition Facts

Serves: 6 servings
Calories 642kcal (32%)Carbohydrates 68g (23%)Protein 30g (60%)Fat 28g (43%)Saturated Fat 9g (45%)Cholesterol 124mg (41%)Sodium 731mg (30%)Potassium 975mg (28%)Fiber 6g (24%)Sugar 9g (10%)Vitamin A 2305IU (46%)Vitamin C 15.7mg (19%)Calcium 192mg (19%)Iron 5.1mg (28%)

Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000-calorie diet. All nutritional information is based on estimated third-party calculations. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods, and portion sizes per household.

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Jessica Gavin

I'm a culinary school graduate, cookbook author, and a mom who loves croissants! My passion is creating recipes and sharing the science behind cooking to help you gain confidence in the kitchen.

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52 Comments Leave a comment or review

  1. Maria Terry says

    Hi Jessica! Made your bolognese last night. Both of us thought it was delicious. I liked the addition of carrots, added a little more texture and a bit of sweetness. Happy to make this again. Another recipe for the binder.

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Thank you Maria! You are totally right with the flavor and texture of the carrots in the sauce. Great job!

  2. Michael says

    Jessica I am so glad I came across you website. I am 75 yrs old and have been cooking with very mixed results since I left home at 18 yrs but i have never understood the basic science so now I am an avid reader of your tips. Could you give all your recipes and tables in metric as well as imperial measurements; I know I can lookup a conversion table but it would be easier to see the metric conversions on screen.

  3. Russ says

    Made this for dinner last night. Outrageously excellent! Jessica, you might want to try Bianco di Napoli tomatoes–organic, grown in CA, and I almost guarantee you that you will never think about or say “San Marzano” again. Available at WF.

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