Nonna’s Bolognese

Italian nonnas certainly know how to make a great bolognese sauce. This is our traditional family version – the way Nonna used to make it!

Nonna's Bolognese

Dee's Home Kitchen
This bolognese is rich and meaty and such a deliciously comforting sauce to top any variety of pasta.


  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 medium carrots
  • 1 stalk celery
  • 1 medium zucchini
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 500 g beef mince (or veal/pork combination)
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 60 g tomato paste
  • 3x 400 g tinned crushed tomato
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 bunch parsley
  • 500 g pasta of choice
  • 1 tbsp sea salt
  • large pot water
  • 50 g parmesan cheese


  • Finely chop onion, carrots, celery, and zucchini (they should be roughly the same size).
  • Add diced vegetables to a large saucepan with olive oil. Turn on stovetop heat to medium (don't preheat first, otherwise vegetables will burn rather than sautΓ©). Cook until vegetables are translucent (approximately 15 minutes) stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon.
  • Grate garlic into vegetable mix using a microplane. Stir through and cook for approximately 1 minute.
  • Add mince. Break up meat with the wooden spoon. Cook for approximately 6-7 minutes, until meat has browned.
  • Add red wine and stir through, cooking for a further 2 minutes.
  • Mix in tomato paste and tins of tomato.
  • Add water to empty tomato tins, giving the tins a bit of a rinse before adding them to the saucepan.
  • Finely chop parsley and stir through sauce.
  • Bring sauce to the boil and then reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for at least 20 minutes, stirring occasionally (the longer the better).
  • Bring to boil a large pot of water.
  • Sprinkle salt over water and add pasta. Cook for length of time according to packet.
  • Once pasta has cooked, strain out water (leaving aside 1/4 cup pasta water to be added back in).
  • Spoon in approximately 2 cups of bolognese sauce into the pasta along with the reserved pasta water. Stir through.
  • Serve pasta into bowls, adding extra bolognese sauce. Top with grated parmesan cheese.