Recipe Review

This Pasta Bolognese Has Thousands of 5-Star Ratings. Here’s What Makes It So Good.

published Feb 3, 2021
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Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Stylist: Cyd McDowell

When it comes time to select contenders for our celebrity recipe showdowns, I’m always on the hunt for recipes with a distinct point of view — which makes this pasta Bolognese right up my alley! Developed by Food & Wine’s former Senior Test Kitchen Editor and seasoned cookbook author Grace Parisi, it sticks to some of the traditional Bolognese methods (like the aromatic base of onion, carrot, and celery) while also adding in some signature flair (finely chopped pancetta, anyone?).

I was intrigued that the recipe calls for a combination of ground chuck, veal, and ground pork — the most diverse meat combination of all the recipes I tried — and that it uses chicken stock. I was also interested in its 90-minute cook time, which falls squarely between Ina’s 30-minute version and Anne Burrell’s hours-long simmer. Here’s what happened when I gave it a go.

How to Make Food & Wine’s Pasta Bolognese

Grace’s recipe begins by having you sauté the pancetta with onion, carrot, and celery. Cook until the vegetables are tender but not brown, then transfer to a bowl and reserve. Heat more oil and add the beef, veal, and pork, cooking until just barely cooked through. Add the reserved vegetables and chopped garlic and cook until fragrant, then add the wine and simmer until almost completely evaporated. Add a can of chopped Italian tomatoes and their juices, chicken stock, dried thyme, 1 bay leaf, salt, and pepper and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce to a simmer and let cook over low heat for 1 hour. Discard the bay leaf and stir in 1/4 cup of heavy cream and cook until the mixture is just heated through.

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Stylist: Cyd McDowell

My Honest Review of Food & Wine’s Bolognese

This one is for the pork-lovers. The pancetta and ground pork gave the sauce deep porky flavors I tasted immediately, so much so that I almost forgot there was beef and veal in there, too. I like that the recipe mostly stayed true to a traditional Bolognese — the use of white wine and canned tomatoes kept the sauce light and bright. I was worried the heavy cream would make the sauce too creamy, but I ended up finding it to be a nice addition. Overall I really liked this recipe, and would absolutely make it again.

Credit: Amelia Rampe

If You’re Making Food & Wine’s Bolognese, a Few Tips

  1. Omit the pancetta, if desired. If you’re not into big porky flavors, you can omit the pancetta and just use the vegetables.
  2. Don’t stress about including all three types of meat. If you only have one, that will be fine. I also think you could use water instead of chicken stock.
  3. Add fresh nutmeg. In my opinion, a fresh grating of nutmeg would really take this dish up a notch.

Overall rating: 8/10

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Stylist: Cyd McDowell; Headshots From Left to Right: Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images, Noam Galai/Getty Images, Barbara Banks, Food & Wine

Have you ever made Food & Wine’s Bolognese? Tell us what you thought in the comments below!