This rich and homey Bolognese meat sauce is the ultimate winter comfort food. It’s worth the time it takes to make. You’ll make it again and again.
To store: Transfer some or all of the cooled sauce to an airtight storage container. Cover and chill up to 3 days or freeze up to 3 months.
- 3 tablespoon unsalted butter (divided)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 4 ounce pancetta or bacon (well chopped)
- 1 cup diced onion
- 1 cup diced carrot
- 1 cup diced fennel
- 2 pound ground beef (85% lean)
- 1 pound ground pork
- salt and cracked black pepper (as needed for seasoning)
- 3 cup dry white wine (you can also use red if you prefer)
- 2 cup whole milk
- 1/8 teaspoon finely grated nutmeg
- 1 (28 oz) can whole tomatoes, cut up (undrained)
- ½ cup Parmesan (plus more for serving)
- water as needed (2 to 3 cups total)
- 1 ½ pound pasta (cooked al dente and kept warm for serving)
Heat 2 tablespoons butter and olive oil in a 4‑quart Dutch oven set over medium-high heat. Add pancetta; cook and stir until just starting to brown, about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to medium. Add onion. Cook and stir until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add carrot and fennel. Cook 2 minutes more.
Add the beef and pork to the Dutch oven. Season generously with salt and pepper. Cook until browned, using a wooden spoon to break up the meat often. Add the wine and scrape up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Simmer, uncovered, until the wine has evaporated, about 50 to 60 minutes.
Add the milk and nutmeg. Simmer, uncovered, until the milk has evaporated, about 30 minutes, stirring frequently. Once the milk has evaporated, add the tomatoes and all their juice; stir to combine. When the tomatoes just start to bubble, reduce heat to low and add the Parmesan. Cook, uncovered, 2 ½ to 3 hours, stirring and adjusting seasoning occasionally. As the sauce cooks, the liquid will evaporate and the sauce will start to look dry. Add ½ cup water at a time (2 to 3 cups water total) and continue to simmer as the liquid evaporates. At the end no water should be left in the sauce. Toss with hot, cooked, drained pasta, adding the remaining tablespoon of butter. Serve with freshly grated Parmesan on the side.