To me, until recently, a Bolognese sauce has always meant a tomato and meat sauce.  So I was blown away when I saw Lidia Bastianich take a totally different spin on the recipe, creating a White Bolognese.  This sauce, still with meat, drops most of the tomato, adding a bit more cream and ricotta…which leaves it…well…white.  The flavor is still wonderfully rich, yet very different from a traditional tomato based Bolognese.  Like the original, it freezes really well, so I make large batches, and then have a bunch of meals ready to go any time.  Give it a try and let me know how you like it.

Recipe Overview and Keys to Success

To make the best White Bolognese make sure you do the following:

  1. This isn’t a sauce you can rush, so make sure you’ve got a few hours to let it simmer on the stove top
  2. Taste, taste and taste.  Seasoning and balance is key in a sauce like this, and rather than blindly following the ingredient list, taste as you go, and adjust…especially the salt and pepper
  3. Use both beef and pork.  I love the combination of two meats which bring different flavors and textures
  4. Finally, know that it’s easy to control the consistency of the sauce.  If you over reduce, you can add some more water to thin it out.  If it’s too thin, simmer uncovered which will evaporate some water and thicken it.  

White Bolognese

Ingredients

  • 1 large onion
  • 1 large carrot
  • 1 celery stalk
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 ounce pancetta diced
  • 1 lbs ground pork
  • 1 lbs ground beef
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1.5 cups of cream
  • 1 tablespoon rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon thyme
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 dash nutmeg
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 3 tablespoons parmesan cheese
  • 3 tablespoons ricotta cheese

White Bolognese

  • Coarsely chop the carrot, onion, celery and garlic and put in a food processor – pulse until minced (you can also do by hand, but it will take a bit longer)
  • Heat a large, high sided sauté pan, or pot, over medium heat and add the minced vegetables
  • Season with salt and pepper
  • Cook for 5 – 7 minutes, until the veggies are soft, but not browned
  • Add the meat and stir together, cooking until browned, and fully cooked (about 15 – 20 minutes)
  • Add the white wine to deglaze the pan, and then reduce by half
  • Season again with salt and pepper, then add the cream, herbs, tomato paste, and bay leaves
  • Bring to a simmer, cover and cook for 1 – 2 hours
  • Add enough chicken stock to ensure nothing is sticking and the sauce is loose
  • Cook for another 2 hours and add a dash of nutmeg, and the parmesan and ricotta cheese
  • Mix thoroughly, and taste for salt and pepper
  • If needed, you can thin with more chicken stock, or simmer uncovered to thicken
  • Serve it up with your favorite pasta!

Wine Recommendation

This is a really rich sauce, that can use an equally rich wine.  Since it’s also Italian, we’ll stick with Italy, and I’ll recommend a Barolo.  These wines are the biggest and boldest out of Italy.  They age well, and go great with rich dishes like this one.  Enjoy!

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