This White Bolognese Meat Sauce combines beef & Italian sausage in this silky, rich & delicately spiced sauce that’s perfect for topping a bowl of pasta!
Bolognese is an Italian slow cooked traditional sauce that often involves several techniques during its preparation, including sweating, sautéing, and simmering. It’s a labor of love.
The backbone starts with a sofrito- A combination of onion, celery and carrot that is cooked along with the meat (usually beef, pork, or a combination of both) and finished off with a splash of milk or cream. The milk not only helps to round out the flavors, and add a bit of richness to the sauce, but it actually helps to tenderize and break down the meat.
Typically you’ll find Bolognese as a red sauce – Made with tomatoes and maybe even a splash of red wine. I actually tend not to make it at home, just because my go-to red meat sauce is my Nana’s Sunday Gravy. But, a few months back, while browsing through one of my Rachael Ray magazines, I came across a recipe where she made a white meat sauce. It had me totally intrigued.
While her version uses a combination of beef and veal, I chose to spice things up a bit with my White Bolognese Meat Sauce by swapping out the veal for some Italian sausage. I also left out the sage (it just reminds me too much of Thanksgiving stuffing) and upped the amount of white wine – Because, in my book, you can never have too much wine. A blend of spices – nutmeg, allspice and bay – up the comfort factor, and the result is a big pot of the most silky, rich, and delicately spiced sauce that’s perfect for topping a bowl of al dente pasta. You can devour it as is, or sprinkle on a bit of parmesan cheese and fresh parsley for even more flavor.
As far as the wine goes, you’ll be using a lot in this recipe. I always tend to have a bottle of dry vermouth on hand in the cupboard – I prefer using it to white wine just because I can always have it on hand. Vermouth is a fortified wine that doesn’t go bad, and it’s affordable, under $7 a bottle. But, if you’re going the white wine route, lean towards something on the dry and un-oaked side – A Pinot Gris or Sauvignon Blanc will work well here.
I can easily tell you that I ate this White Bolognese Meat Sauce for both lunch and dinner, four days straight – And I didn’t get tired of it! And, although Nana’s Sunday Gravy will always reign supreme in my book for it’s nostalgia, this White Bolognese Sauce definitely comes in at a close second and will be filling in on those days when I get bored of the traditional pasta succo.
White Bolognese Meat Sauce
- 2 Tbsp . extra virgin olive oil
- 2 Tbsp butter
- 1 lb ground beef
- 3/4 lb . sweet Italian sausage casings removed
- 2 medium carrots finely chopped
- 2 stalks celery finely chopped
- 1/2 onion minced
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1/4 tsp . nutmeg
- 1/8 tsp . allspice
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 1/2 cups dry vermouth or white wine
- 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
- 1 cup 2% milk
- 3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 2 Tbsp . chopped fresh parsley
- Salt and pepper to taste
Heat olive oil in a Dutch oven or large skillet over medium-high heat. Add butter and when the foaming subsides, add the meat, breaking up with a spoon as it cooks. Once browned, add carrot, celery, onion, garlic, bay leaf, nutmeg and allspice to pan and cover. Cook 10-12 minutes, to sweat the vegetables, stirring occasionally. Add the vermouth and allow to boil and evaporate. Add broth and milk, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes over low heat.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta to al dente, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid before draining. Drain pasta and add to the sauce along with the parmesan and reserved pasta water. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Wine Pairings for White Bolognese Meat Sauce:
Try an Italian wine with this White Bolognese Meat Sauce –
- If you’re feeling fancy, and looking to splurge, try a Barolo or Barbera wine – Their round fruit flavors will compliment this dish nicely.
- For a lower priced option, try a Chianti – It’s tannins and acidity will pair well with the creamy flavors in this pasta.
- Looking for something a bit lighter? Try a Lambrusco – Its slight effervescence and acidity will stand up nicely to the rich meat sauce.
Looking for more pasta recipes? Try these: