Veal Bolognese

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Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 120 minutes
Servings: 6

In addition to veal, this hearty Bolognese with a deep, complex flavor also contains ground pork and ground beef. However, if your market doesn’t stock all of these, you could use just two of the three and still make a fabulous dish. Or, even better, add any delicious meat that you have on hand, like bacon, sausage or guanciale. Remember, though, that if you use any kind of cured meat, you’ll need to reduce the amount of salt in the recipe.


  • 3 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 small white onion, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, finely chopped
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced
  • 2 or 3 bay leaves
  • 5 oz. (155 g) ground veal
  • 5 oz. (155 g) ground pork
  • 5 oz. (155 g) lean ground beef
  • 1 cup (8 fl. oz./250 ml) full-bodied red wine, such as Zinfandel
  • 2 cans (28 oz./875 g each) plum tomatoes, preferably San Marzano, with their juices
  • 1 cup (8 fl. oz./250 ml) heavy cream
  • 1 1⁄2 lb. (750 g) spaghetti
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1⁄2 cup (2 oz./60 g) grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 8 large fresh basil leaves, coarsely chopped


In a Dutch oven or other large, heavy pot over medium-low heat, warm the olive oil. Add the onion, carrot and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and bay leaves and cook for 1 minute more.

Add the veal, pork and beef and cook, stirring to break up the chunks, until the beef is no longer pink, about 7 minutes. Add the wine, raise the heat to high and cook until the wine is reduced slightly, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and their juices and the cream and reduce the heat to low. Cook, uncovered, stirring every 10 minutes or so, for about 1 1/2 hours.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot two-thirds full of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until also dente (tender but firm to the bite), about 8 minutes or according to the package instructions.

While the pasta is cooking, add 3/4 tsp. salt to the sauce, season with pepper and cook for about 10 minutes more. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Stir in the cheese and basil.

Drain the pasta and divide among 6 bowls. Top with the Bolognese sauce and serve immediately. Serves 6.

Adapted from Williams Sonoma The Cook & the Butcher, by Brigit Binns (Weldon Owen, 2011)

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