Rigatoni with Bolognese Sauce

This is my version of Rigatoni with Bolognese Sauce.  I love this style of cooking because even if you don’t follow the recipe exactly, it’s still going to taste great.  I must confess, I’ve never used the same exact recipe too many times. But, this is probably the closest overall “average” of my typical method.  For example, I have made this with Italian sausage instead of ground beef, I’ve used beef stock instead of chicken stock, and so forth.  As long as the overall elements are there, it will come out fine. 

I enjoy having this recipe in my back pocket when there are  leftover ingredients to use up.  Today, I used up some remaining chicken stock that was in the refrigerator, along with some bacon and ground beef.  So, tonight was the perfect time to cook one our household favorites.  It’s an effective recipe to manage foods in the refrigerator! #WasteNotWantNot!

One of my favorite ingredients is tomato paste in a tube.  It’s a great way to control the amount needed for recipe, such as this one, that require only a tablespoon or two.  I find Cento brand at my local grocery stores. 

Thank You Alton Brown for turning me on to this! #GoodEats

You can substitute sausage, veal, pork, or a combination of any of them for the ground beef.  Regarding wine, I use whatever is open in the refrigerator.  White wine works great too.  It adds some fruitiness and does the deglazing work after the vegetables and meat have cooked.

Lastly, I prefer this with Rigatoni.  The sauce gets inside the small tubes and clings to the sides very well.  But, feel free to use other shapes of pasta.  Penne works great too.




1 lb. dry pasta

2 T olive oil
~3/4 cup chopped onion
~3/4 cup diced carrots
~1/2 cup diced roasted red pepper (I buy whole, roasted in a jar and dice)
4-5 medium garlic cloves, rough chopped
1/4 tsp. dried pepper flakes
1 medium bay leaf

1/2 pound ground beef
2 strips bacon, diced

2 T tomato paste

1/2 cup red wine
1 tsp. dried Italian seasoning
1 tsp. fresh sage, julienned (OK to leave out if you don’t have any)

12 oz. tomato sauce
1 cup chicken stock

Salt and Pepper to season

Grated Parmesan for serving


Chop your vegetables, then your bacon.  Prep your ingredients and set by the stove.  This decreases the chance of making a mistake and saves stress! 

Veggies are cut up and in a Pyrex measuring cup, stock is in a bowl, herbs are measured, bacon cut. 

Add the olive oil to a saucepan set at medium heat.  When the oil is hot, add the onions, carrots, peppers, garlic, bay leaf and red pepper flakes.  Sautee for 7-8 minutes. 

Season with a pinch of salt and cracked pepper.

This would be a good time to start heating your pasta water. 

Add the bacon and ground beef.  Cook another 8-10 minutes; until cooked. 

Clear a small spot in the middle of the pan with your spoon.  Add the tomato paste.  Let it cook for a minute or so.

Add the herbs and the red wine.  Scrape the bottom of the pan to allow the wine to deglaze any brown bits that have accumulated on the bottom of the pan.

Wine deglazes the pan.

Once the pan is deglazed, add the tomato sauce and chicken stock.  Put the cover on the pan, adjust heat until it reaches a simmer.  Cook, covered for 10 minutes.

Cook your pasta, per package directions while the sauce is cooking.

Pasta cooking on back burner.

Remove the pan cover, remove the bay leaf, taste the sauce, making any flavor additions.  (Salt, pepper, pepper flakes etc.)

Hold sauce on simmer until pasta is finished cooking.  Then, drain the pasta (do NOT rinse) and add directly to the saucepan.  Mix the pasta and sauce together and plate.

Add some parmesan cheese and fresh cracked pepper. 


This entry was posted in Bolognese, Pasta, Rigatoni. Bookmark the permalink.

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