Recipe: Rigatoni alla Bolognese with Sausage

I love Pasta… well.. you already know that if you’re a regular here… and Bolognese Sauce is… well… for lack of another word… wonderful! This recipe for Rigatoni alla Bolognese with Sausage makes an excellent meal for the family and is special enough for guests.

So just what is Bolognese Sauce?... it’s an Italian tomato meat sauce that originated in Bologna, Italy. While it is a tomato sauce… this is one meaty sauce.. there are numerous variations… I posted one quite a while ago.. a truly excellent Pasta Bolognese.

For today’s post I decided to forego the typical beef, veal and pork meat addition… I decided to use ground beef and Italian sausage.. this wasn’t rocket science… and while I did decide to make the change in the recipe based on what I had in the freezer … I’ve made this sauce lots of times… and although sausage is used sometimes by other cooks.. certainly I’m not the first to do this… this version isn’t as common as the previous version I posted.

I do have a few tips…


When in upstate New York, I have no trouble finding ground hot and sweet Italian Sausage, but for some reason here in south Georgia I have trouble finding ground hot sausage… and this was one of those times… so I used sweet sausage (double the amount of sweet sausage specified in the recipe) and ground beef. I also have trouble finding Pancetta… so I did substitute bacon for the Pancetta. So this is my recommendation…

I highly recommend you used the hot and sweet sausage as the recipe is written.

If you can’t find ground hot sausage.. you could substitute linked hot and sweet sausage … just slice it and cook it in a skillet stirring frequently so as not to burn it, then add it to your sauce.

You can also use only ground beef and sweet sausage… but I would recommend you cut up about 4 ounces of Pancetta and cook that along with the onion and garlic. The sweet sausage doesn’t have a strong flavor and I think it needs an added umpf, which the Pancetta is perfect for.

Now if you can’t find Pancetta, you can substitute bacon, but use a mild flavored bacon, otherwise the bacon flavor will overpower the dish.

I cook the meats in a skillet and drain off the fat, then add it to my sauce pot. I do this to cut down on the amount of fat in my sauce.

I used small Belgian carrots and sliced them, I personally like the size the slices are and it’s easy. You can dice up a regular carrot if you prefer.

I used white wine, a Sauvignon Blanc. Yellow Tail is a good brand that’s not expensive.

You can also use a red wine if you prefer, just keep in mind each change, this one included, will alter the flavor of the sauce… not that this is necessarily a bad thing, I often change things to keep it interesting.

This recipe serves 4-6 depending on the size servings.

I hope you try this version of a Bolognese Sauce!

Recipe: Rigatoni alla Bolognese with Sausage

All you need:

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, finely diced
¼ cup small carrots, sliced
1 medium celery rib, finely diced
3 oz. chopped Pancetta
½ pound ground beef
½ pound ground Hot Italian Sausage
¼ pound ground Sweet Italian Sausage
2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
¾ cup dry white wine
2 cans (14.5 ounces each) Hunt’s Diced Tomatoes with Garlic, Basil and Oregano (Do NOT drain)
1 cup chicken stock or canned low-sodium broth
2 bay leaves
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Dried Basil and Oregano (optional)
Rigatoni, cooked according to pkg. directions
½ cup chopped fresh parsley for garnish (optional)
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese for serving

All you need to do:

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large sauce pot.

Add the onion, garlic, carrot and celery and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened but not browned, about 8 minutes.

Meanwhile add the meats to a large skillet. Break the meat into small pieces when putting it into the pan.

Brown the meats over medium high heat until cooked but slightly pink. Drain and add the cooked meat to the sauce pot.

Add the wine and cook, stirring occasionally, until almost evaporated, about 8 minutes.

Stir in the tomatoes, chicken stock and bay leaves.

Season with a generous pinch of salt and pepper and bring to a boil over high heat.

Reduce the heat to moderately low (a steady, low simmer).

Cover and cook over moderately low heat for 1 hour. Stir periodically.

Taste the sauce after about 30 minutes and add any additional dried basil and oregano to your tastes. ( I did not add any additional seasoning, but you may prefer to add more).

After cooking has been completed, discard the bay leaves.

Serve hot over cooked rigatoni.

Garnish with chopped fresh parsley (optional).

Serve fresh Parmesan cheese at the table.

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