The Best Rigatoni Bolognese

by Tatiana
rigatoni bolognese recipe

Rigatoni Bolognese is a typical dish of Italian cuisine. The Bolognese sauce is a thick and full-bodied sauce with meat, creamy to perfection, yet tasty and fragrant. This pasta dish is a real triumph of flavor prepared with a few basic ingredients. 

His majesty the Bolognese sauce is the typical flavoring of the classic lasagna. One of the most representative sauces of good Italian cuisine, in particular of Bologna where it is a real institution. The bolognese sauce can be classified as a real comfort food since you leave it “hissing” in the pan, then coat in any type of pasta to transform the dinner into something extraordinarily delicious. Every family has its own bolognese sauce recipe, and the Delice Recipes family is no exception!

rigatoni bolognese

What is the bolognese sauce or the Ragù?

The bolognese sauce, or as the Italians call it “Ragu alla bolognese”, is a rich and tasty condiment based on minced meat and tomatoes (canned or fresh), ideal for any type of pasta and lasagne. Our delicious and succulent Lasagna recipe is also made with bolognese sauce. The sauce is an absolute success and has conquered the world, and not by chance.

There are many variations of Bolognese sauce. Some people add a glass of milk at the end of cooking. It serves to dampen the acidity of the tomato. However, I prefer to balance the acidity by adding one tablespoon of sugar.

bolognese sauce

The wine I consider an indispensable ingredient as it flavors so well the meat. Although my first choice is red wine, people successfully use white wine as well.

The cooking times can also vary, but the minimum required for that authentic Italian consistency is two hours. If you prefer a very tight sauce, you can extend the time and dose the addition of hot water or broth as needed.

How to make an excellent Bolognese sauce at home? Easy, the secret of the preparation is the simmering time. Follow this bolognese rigatoni recipe and I will share with you all the tips ranging from the choice of ingredients to the various cooking stages.

ingredients rigatoni bolognese

Ingredients for the Bolognese sauce

The two main ingredients for the bolognese sauce are minced meat and the canned tomatoes. Everything else can be adjusted according to the own preferences.  See the list of ingredients to prepare delicious rigatoni bolognese:

  • Rigatoni pasta, or any other pasta type like spaghetti, tagliatelle, penne, or conchiglie
  • Minced meat, beef, or pork, or the mixture of the two
  • Bacon or pancetta
  • Canned tomatoes, peeled and chopped
  • Tomato sauce, with or without basil (optional)
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Red wine
  • Italian herbs
  • Bay leaves

If you like the taste of the carrot and celery in the sauce, feel free to include them in the recipe.

bolognese sauce

How to cook the bolognese sauce?

Prepare the Bolognese sauce. Heat up a large skillet, in the meantime peel and finely chop one large onion. Add 3 tablespoons of olive oil to the pan and add the finely chopped onion. Then chop 3-4 garlic cloves and add them to the onion and cook until translucent on medium-low heat.

Raise the heat, add the minced meat and brown it for about ten minutes, stir well to shell it. Pour the wine and let it evaporate. Wait until the meat is well browned before deglazing with the wine. This is when it needs to seal well to prevent it from becoming tough or stringy during long cooking.

rigatoni bolognese

Chop the bacon into small cubes on a cutting board and add it to the skillet. Let it melt its fat and combine with the minced meat. Add the seasoning herbs and salt, add the canned tomatoes and the tomato sauce and bring back to a boil.  Lower the heat to medium-low, add the bay leaves and let simmer; cover halfway and continue cooking for at least 1 hour.

Halfway through cooking, add a little hot water, about half a cup, because the sauce must be thick but always stay soft and creamy.

rigatoni bolognese

How to cook the Rigatoni Bolognese?

When the sauce is almost cooked, put a large pot full of water on the stove. As soon as it boils, add salt and drop the rigatoni. Cook according to the package instructions then drain when al dente and toss with the hot bolognese sauce. Complete with a few leaves of fresh parsley and serve immediately. You may as well sprinkle with grated parmesan on top.

rigatoni bolognese

How to store the Rigatoni Bolognese?

You can prepare the Bolognese sauce in advance and heat it when needed. You can keep it in a glass container, well covered with cling film, for a maximum of 2-3 days. If you have used all fresh ingredients you can also freeze the sauce and mix it with pasta whenever you have a craving for rigatoni bolognese.

rigatoni bolognese

rigatoni bolognese

The Best Rigatoni Bolognese

Rigatoni Bolognese is a typical dish of Italian cuisine. The Bolognese sauce is a thick and full-bodied sauce with meat, creamy to perfection, yet tasty and fragrant. This pasta dish is a real triumph of flavor prepared with a few basic ingredients. 
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 10 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Servings 8 people
Calories 453 kcal


  • 8 oz rigatoni pasta
  • 2 cups ground pork or beef, or mix
  • 1 cup bacon chopped
  • 2 cans tomatoes peeled
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion
  • 3-4 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp herbs
  • 2 bay leaves


  • Peel and finely chop the garlic and the onion. Sautee in 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • Add the ground meat and brown for 7 minutes on high flame. Always stir
  • Deglaze the meat with the red wine, let simmer until the wine evaporates
  • Chop and add the bacon. Cook until the fat melts
  • Add the canned tomatoes, the tomato sauce, and season up
  • Mix and cook for 1 hour. Halfway through cooking, add a little hot water
  • Cook the pasta al dente according to the package instructions
  • Drain the water and mix with the sauce
  • Sprinkle some chopped parsley and grated parmesan on top and serve immediately


Calories: 453kcalCarbohydrates: 26gProtein: 18gFat: 29gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 60mgSodium: 1263mgPotassium: 441mgFiber: 2gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 166IUVitamin C: 4mgCalcium: 29mgIron: 2mg
Keyword bolognese sauce, italian bolognese, pasta bolognese, pasta dish, rigatoni bolognese
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