Beef Bolognese with Pappardelle Pasta

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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.

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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.
Pin Print Review
4.22 from 142 votes
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Total Time1 hr
Servings 6 servings
Course Entree
Cuisine Italian

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions 

  • 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

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Nutrition Facts
Beef Bolognese Sauce with Pappardelle Pasta
Amount Per Serving
Calories 642 Calories from Fat 252
% Daily Value*
Fat 28g43%
Saturated Fat 9g45%
Cholesterol 124mg41%
Sodium 731mg30%
Potassium 975mg28%
Carbohydrates 68g23%
Fiber 6g24%
Sugar 9g10%
Protein 30g60%
Vitamin A 2305IU46%
Vitamin C 15.7mg19%
Calcium 192mg19%
Iron 5.1mg28%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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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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Reader Interactions

50 Comments Leave a comment or review

  1. Erich says

    I just made your bolognesa and it was really good,I love the way you explain how to make the sauce.i work in restaurants most of my life and I love to find new recipes especially from people who love to cook like myself. Thank you and hope to see more.

  2. Jose says

    Made this last night- one of the best Bolognese sauces I’ve ever made! The flavors came through in a big way. I added a touch more garlic and a touch more oregano but not much more. I’ve always seasoned my meat, including salting it, as a first step in the process, so I worried about that part of it, but adding it to taste at the end, along with pepper, worked well. Thanks for sharing this. It was a real treat.

    José

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Hi Jose- Yes! I am so happy that you enjoyed the bolognese sauce. This is one of my husbands favorite meals and we try to get this into rotation at least a few times a month. Thank you for taking the time to try to recipe!

  3. Kamila says

    I made this recipe tonight and it turned out exceptional. The parmesan and fresh basil garnish complimented the dish perfectly. Thank you so much for this recipe. 😀

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Thank you so much for the feedback Kamila! I am thrilled to hear that you enjoyed the recipe 🙂

  4. Joyce Siniscalchi says

    I tried for years to make a sauce like this, but to no avail……Even coming from a long line of Italians didn’t give me any help making this sauce. I decided to give it another try when your Pinterest recipe came up at the first search. Can’t thank you enough!! I do make my own pasta, so it was soooo good. Married 45 years and finally able to put it in front of my hubby!!
    Thank you again!

    PS….if there were 6 stars….they’d all be filled!!

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Wow Joyce, I’m so thrilled that you enjoyed the recipe! I make this for my Italian husband and he never complains, and he’s a tough critic when it comes to meat sauce 🙂 Looking forward to sharing more recipes with you!

  5. Vanessa innes says

    Made this mid week family loved the rich sauce and loved it with pappardelle pasta over spaghetti will definitely be a regular pasta dish in my family.

    • Jessica Gavin says

      I’m so happy to hear that your family enjoyed the bolognese recipe Vanessa! Thank you for leaving a comment 🙂

    • Jessica Gavin says

      I love anchovies in sauce, what a great idea Tom! Thank you for trying the recipe, I’m happy to hear that you enjoyed it!

  6. Judy Caywood says

    Bolognese, My favorite thing to order in a restaurant. Thank you for a great looking recipe. I just wrote the ingredients down for my shopping list for next weeks meals. Another hit for me dear Jessica.

  7. Tina says

    This looks great! Pasta is always in our rotation, it’s something we both like so pasta gets a lot of love at our house. Beautiful pictures, your sauce looks amazing:)

  8. Jon says

    Wow. So simple, but so good. I let it cook low and slow for about an hour, and it developed terrific depth of flavor. Might sneak in a bit of anchovy paste next time. Great recipe that will go into the regular rotation around here! Inexpensive Italian wine went beautifully with it: 2013 Renzo Masi Chianti Riserva Rufina. Yum!

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Thank you Jon! I think anchovies would take it to the next level! The wine pairing sounds superb as usual 🙂

  9. JUDY says

    Hi Jessica,

    I have the sauce cooking right now. It is delicious. I can’t wait for dinner tonight.

    Any other recipe for this I have saved is going in the garbage. You have the best recipes hands down. There is no one else whose recipes I have tried that compare.

    Judy

  10. Carina says

    Question – is it really 871 calories per serving?? Or is this for the whole batch?? That’s what shows up when I’m on this page. Thanks!!

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Great question Carina! Yes that is the calories for a very generous serving (my husband is Italian so he probably eats more that he should, haha). I think you could easily get 6 servings out of the recipe.

  11. Judy Caywood says

    Hi Jessica,

    I think for noodles I prefer the spaghetti or angel hair with the sauce. However, it was fun to try the Pappardelle noodles. I always use them in my chicken noodle soups.

    Judy

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Hi Judy! Yes, spaghetti is definitely a classic combination 🙂 Pappardelle is a nice treat to mix it up every once in a while!

  12. Debee says

    I’m going to make this evening. I was wondering if I can add 1/4 c of finely chopped celery with the carrots? What do you think? ALL of the comments were AMAZING!! ☺ So I must try tonight!! Thank You 😉

  13. Ayelet says

    This sounds awesome! What other veggies can I add in since I’m allergic to carrots and hate mushrooms? Can’t wait to try this dairy free bolognese!

      • Ayelet says

        Thanks so much! Ended up swapping in celery instead of the carrots and garnishing with fresh pomegranate seeds. It was amazing and my husband is already begging me to make it again.

    • Jessica Gavin says

      I think that would be lovely Victoria! Perhaps about 1/2 cup, about sauteeing the mushrooms. Allow the wine to reduce to about 1/2 over medium heat and then add in the tomato paste. Let me know how it goes!

  14. Judy Caywood says

    Jessica have you ever worked out what the nutrition is without the noodles? I make the sauce but I use it over zucchini noodles or just eat it without anything else. As I have told you so many times this is a recipe I make again and again.

      • Judy Caywood says

        Thank you. I’m making it for our son when he is here at Christmas. I’m going to get your cookbook for him.

        Happy Thanksgiving to you and your sweet family Jessica.

  15. D. Carmichael says

    I was wondering if there is a substitute for the mushrooms? The texture and taste freak me out a bit. Can I substitute a different mushroom or vegetable?

    Thanks so much. I have made your Swedish Meatballs. It was delish. A definite keeper.

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Thanks for your feedback on the meatballs! You could omit the mushrooms, or I like diced portobello as well. You could also dice squash like zucchini instead, or bell peppers.

  16. Jane says

    Love your recipe. No eye rolls please…I’ve never cooked with anchovies/ anchovy paste. I am intrigued what do anchovies lend to a dish?

  17. Jenny says

    Such an easy recipe! I omitted the mushrooms, but kept everything else. Can I say AMAZING! Wow! Definitely will make this again soon! Oh and the house smells AMAZING! Thank you!!!

  18. Roger-Allen says

    I was puzzled by the mention of milk under “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.” But milk isn’t listed in your ingredients. It occurs to me that the quote ought to read ” … THAT version incorporates milk.” I had thought that “this version” meant the one coming up, i.e. your version. I don’t for my part like the idea of milk in pasta sauce. Apart from the grammatical error, I do like that you explain how to make the dish clearly and without any confusing language. I will make this recipe soon (I just moved and have not fully unpacked. Sincerely yours, Roger (Paddock Lake, Wisconsin, USA).

  19. RB says

    This recipe looks great but since I don’t eat red meat I wondering how it would work with ground turkey? Love your recipes Jessica!

    • M says

      Hello! I actually just made it with ground turkey and it was delicious and definitely less fattier than if it had been with red meat.

  20. pamela henderson says

    Hello, Love your blog, its my ‘go to ‘ place for inspiration.
    Oftentimes I find recipes that require ingredients that are not part of a regular kitchen.
    It would be so helpful if you could provide the essentials for a kitchen.
    For example… herbs and spices, basic good ingredients that can be multi purpose, tools [deleted your email by mistake].
    Alternatively ‘how to’ ways to sometimes use alternatives that you may have in your kitchen.
    So love the science aspect of your information. Thank you

    I have never

  21. 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.

  22. 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.

  23. 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.

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