Bolognese. No one seems to know how exactly to pronounce it. But it's not about how you pronounce it...

It's about how you make it. 

Before we delve into the meat of this recipe, let's talk about why we're here. 

I, along, with my friends, love to either cook, host, or do both, and I feel as though I speak for most college students when the alternative is the university dining hall. There’s nothing like a hearty, filling, home-cooked meal enjoyed with friends, which lead me to one question: 

What meal can I make when hosting that will leave people wanting more well into the future? 

Instantly, my dad’s four-hour pasta bolognese came to mind, a dish that will live in infamy. It’s the kind of meal you deliberately make too much of, so you ensure you have leftovers. But I wanted to take things further, so in my quest for perfection, I consulted a chef at my favorite local Italian restaurant, Agliolio, as well as my friend’s dad from Italy, who founded Buonasera Ristorante, a renowned, traditional Italian restaurant who has seen the likes of Michael Jordan dine there. With this knowledge in hand, I set out to combine the best parts of each recipe, and now, without further adieu, let’s get into it.

Pasta Bolognese

  • Prep Time:45 mins
  • Cook Time:3 hrs
  • Total Time:3 hrs 45 mins
  • Servings:4
  • Medium


  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion finely chopped Spanish or sweet
  • 2 tbsp pancetta finely chopped
  • 3 carrots finely sliced
  • 3 stalks celery finely sliced
  • 1 clove garlic finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/4 cup red wine
  • 1 can San Marzano plum tomatoes
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • Grated parmesan
  • 1 pound penne or tagliatelle
Maximo Toledo
  • Step 1

    Heat the oil in a heavy saucepan or earthenware pot. Add the onion, cook over moderate heat for 5-6 minutes. Add the pancetta, and cook until the onion is translucent. Stir in the carrot, celery, and garlic. Cook until texture softens and colors lessen.

  • Step 2

    Add the beef, crumble into the vegetables with a wooden spoon (or spatula). Stir until the meat loses its red color. Season with salt and pepper. Pour in the wine, raise the heat, and cook until liquid evaporates, 3-4 minutes.

  • Step 3

    Stir in the tomatoes with their juice. Add in the basil and bay leaf. Bring the sauce to a boil. Reduce heat to low, and simmer, uncovered for 2 hours, stirring occasionally. Correct seasoning as desired. 15 minutes prior to serving, add in heavy cream and stir. Serve over pasta, with a generous amount of parmesan on top.