Rigatoni bolognese

Classic Rigatoni Bolognese – Italian Comfort in Every Bite


Rigatoni Bolognese is the embodiment of Italian comfort food, a hearty and rich pasta dish that’s deeply satisfying. The silky, meaty Bolognese sauce paired with the large, ridged rigatoni noodles creates a perfect marriage of flavors and textures. In this recipe, we’ll show you how to create an authentic Bolognese sauce and serve it over al dente rigatoni for a meal that will transport your taste buds straight to Italy.


For the Bolognese Sauce:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, finely chopped
  • 1 pound ground beef (or a mix of beef and pork)
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine (optional)
  • 2 cans (14 ounces each) crushed tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried basil
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream (optional)

For the Rigatoni:

  • 1 pound rigatoni pasta
  • Salt for pasta water

For Garnish:

  • Grated Parmesan cheese
  • Fresh basil leaves, torn


  1. Prepare the Bolognese Sauce:
    • In a large, heavy-bottomed pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat.
    • Add the finely chopped onion, carrot, and celery. Sauté until the vegetables become soft and the onion turns translucent.
    • Add the minced garlic and cook for an additional minute.
    • Increase the heat to medium-high and add the ground beef (or beef and pork mixture). Cook until browned, breaking it apart with a spoon.
    • If using wine, pour it into the pot and let it simmer until it reduces by half.
    • Stir in the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, beef broth, red pepper flakes (if using), salt, black pepper, dried oregano, dried basil, and bay leaves.
    • Bring the sauce to a simmer, then reduce the heat to low, cover, and let it simmer for at least 1 hour. Stir occasionally.
    • Before serving, stir in the heavy cream (if using) to add creaminess to the sauce.
  2. Prepare the Rigatoni:
    • While the sauce is simmering, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
    • Cook the rigatoni according to the package instructions until al dente. Drain and set aside.
  3. Serve:
    • Discard the bay leaves from the Bolognese sauce.
    • Spoon the sauce generously over a serving of rigatoni.
    • Garnish with grated Parmesan cheese and torn fresh basil leaves.

Cook’s Notes:

  • Wine Option: Using wine in the Bolognese sauce adds depth to the flavor, but it’s optional. You can omit it if you prefer.
  • Make Ahead: Bolognese sauce often tastes even better the next day, so consider making it in advance and reheating it when you’re ready to serve.

Rigatoni Bolognese is a classic Italian pasta dish that combines the earthy richness of the meat sauce with the satisfying bite of rigatoni. It’s a timeless favorite that will make your dinner table feel like an Italian trattoria. Enjoy the warm and comforting flavors of this culinary masterpiece!

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