Weeknight Traditional Bolognese over Rigatoni

Weeknight Traditional Bolognese over Rigatoni


I probably say this EVERY change of season, but here I am again. This time of year is one of my favorite for cooking. The ovens, crockpots, and stovetops are slowly turning back on. The hearty and warm meals are beginning to be craveable for cooler nights. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not wishing away an Indian Summer the next few weeks. But, I’m preparing for those colder nights. So I’m arming you with your first stick to your ribs recipe of the season. Weeknight Traditional Bolognese over Rigatoni is on the menu so get those print buttons ready. You don’t want to miss this one.  

Bolognese is an Italian red sauce that originates from Bologna, Italy. I’ve actually had the pleasure of visiting on a food and wine study abroad in college. And yes, I indulged in this classic meat-based sauce while I was there.  The sauce is essentially a ragu of vegetables and beef. To make it in the traditional sense the secret ingredients are wine and milk! So, I’ve added those into my own version to keep it true to custom.

The only mark I missed was that a true Bolognese should be served in Lasagna or over tagliatelle shaped pasta. But, to make it easy I chose rigatoni. I love how the meaty sauce gets caught in the tubes for an extra mouthful of sauce in each bite.

The meal is on the table in less than an hour and still has so many layers and dimensions of flavor.

Here’s my favorite way to indulge:

  • Top with Parmesan Reggiano Cheese (also aged in the same area of Italy-so keeping it traditional)
  • Make garlic bread to scoop up the extra chunky sauce bits
  • Pair with a Barbera to take your weeknight to a 10!

Now to to the recipe…

…all for the love of the dish


Weeknight Traditional Bolognese over Rigatoni

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes

Yield: 4-6 servings


  • 1 lb Ground Beef
  • 1/4 lb Ground Pork (optional)
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 large carrots, diced
  • 2 celery sticks, diced
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1 cup milk
  • 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 6oz can tomato paste
  • 2 cloves of Garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp Italian Seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • Parmesan Reggiano Cheese for topping (optional)
  • 1lb Rigatoni


  1. Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium/high heat. Add diced onions, celery and carrots and cook until slightly softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for an additional minute. Add ground beef and pork until cooked through (no more pink). Season with salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning.
  2. Add red wine and let reduce, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add crushed tomatoes and tomato paste. let simmer 15 minutes. Stir in the milk and allow an additional 15 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, bring a stock pot of salted water to a rolling boil. Add the Rigatoni and cook 10-12 minutes or according to the box.
  5. **I tossed my pasta with a little sauce and then added a heaping scoop on top to serve.
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