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Slow-Cooker Bolognese Sauce

  • 12 cups
  • Mins
    Prep Time
  • Mins
    Cook Time

Bolognese sauce is a hearty Italian pasta sauce in which ground beef and pork are simmered for hours in milk, wine, tomatoes, and vegetables. While it sounds a little odd, the sweet, deep-tasting sauce is a classic for good reason. This recipe comes from Cook's Country (Cook's Illustrated). There's a little bit of fussiness involved, where vegetables are sauteed in butter, and a meatloaf mixture of pork & beef (and veal) is added. Once all the ingredients have been boiled a bit, it's added to a slow cooker (lid off) to evaporate excess liquid and to concentrate the flavor. This makes a lot of sauce, which I froze into three portions. I also made homemade pasta, which made this recipe even better! Commercial pasta works just as well, though. What makes this different than classic marinara (spaghetti) sauce is that the flavor of the wine comes through in a subtle way. Excellent recipe!


3 tablespoons unsalted butter
½ small onion , chopped fine
1 small carrot , peeled and chopped fine
½ rib celery , chopped fine
3 cloves garlic , minced
3 tablespoons tomato paste
3 pounds meatloaf mix , or 1½ pounds ground chuck and 1½ pounds ground pork
3 cups whole milk
3 cups dry white wine
2 (28 ounce) cans whole tomatoes , ground in blender until smooth
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves

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