This White Bolognese Recipe is made with onion, carrots, celery, ground beef, sausage, white wine and porcini mushroom.
If you love meat sauces and mushrooms, look no further. This sauce is ABSOLUTELY delicious but it takes time to prepare. White wine, beef bouillon broth, and a porcini mushroom liquid is simmered and evaporated separately, making a delicious blend of flavors.
This is by far one of my favorite recipes ever. You can make this with bow ties, rigatoni or spaghetti. I paired this with a nice Cabernet Sauvignon, which went well with the sausage and the meat. This is a great hearty pasta that is best enjoyed during those cold winter days.
- What is White Bolognese?
- Ragù Bianco Ingredients
- White Bolognese vs Red Bolognese Sauce
- How to make White Bolognese Recipe
- What Pasta Types Are Best for a White Bolognese Sauce?
- What White Wine Is Best for Bolognese?
- Why You Should Put Milk in Your Ragù Bianco (White Bolognese Sauce)
- White Bolognese Recipe Variations
- How to store White Bolognese
- White Bolognese Recipe Top tips
- White Bolognese Recipe
- Food safety
What is White Bolognese?
White Bolognese, also known as Bolognese bianco, is a variation of the classic Italian meat sauce, Bolognese sauce. Unlike the traditional Bolognese sauce which is made with ground beef, pork or veal and tomato sauce, White Bolognese is made with milk, cream, and a mixture of ground meat, such as beef, veal, or pork, along with aromatics like onion, garlic, and white wine.
The milk and cream in White Bolognese create a creamy and rich texture, while the meat and aromatics give the sauce a savory flavor. The use of white wine instead of red wine in the recipe also gives the sauce a lighter color.
White Bolognese is typically served with wide noodles like tagliatelle or fettuccine, but it can also be served with other types of pasta. It's a popular dish in northern Italian cuisine, particularly in the Emilia-Romagna region where the traditional Bolognese sauce originated.
Ragù Bianco Ingredients
- Italian sausage
- Ground beef
- White wine
- Beef bouillon
- Dried porcini mushrooms
- Heavy cream
See recipe card for Bolognese with Mushroom and Sausage quantities.
White Bolognese vs Red Bolognese Sauce
The main difference between White Bolognese and Red Bolognese sauce is their base ingredients. Red Bolognese sauce is made with tomatoes, while White Bolognese is made with milk and cream. Red Bolognese sauce typically contains ground beef or pork, tomatoes, onions, garlic, and herbs like oregano and basil. The sauce is usually simmered for several hours to allow the flavors to develop and the meat to become tender.
White Bolognese, on the other hand, is made with milk, cream, and a mixture of ground meat, such as beef, pork, or veal, along with aromatics like onion, garlic, and white wine. The milk and cream in White Bolognese create a creamy and rich texture, while the meat and aromatics give the sauce a savory flavor.
In terms of flavor, Red Bolognese sauce is typically sweeter and more acidic due to the tomatoes, while White Bolognese is creamier and richer in flavor due to the use of milk and cream. Both sauces are commonly served with pasta, but White Bolognese is often paired with wider noodles like fettuccine or tagliatelle, while Red Bolognese is typically paired with spaghetti or other thin pasta shapes.
How to make White Bolognese Recipe
*See video below with step by step instructions.
Start by placing the porcini mushrooms in a bowl of water and let it sit for 15 minutes. Then put a filter on top of a bowl and pour the porcini mushrooms through the filter so the liquid falls into the bowl. Chop the porcini mushrooms and keep the liquid.
Heat a skillet on medium heat and add onion, carrots and celery. Sauté for about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add the sausage to the pan breaking it into tiny pieces. Brown well. Add the chopped meat after and do the same. Pour in the wine and simmer on medium high heat, until the pan is almost dry, then add 1 cup beef bouillon mix and lower heat to medium.
Simmer gently, uncovered until bouillon is nearly gone. Meanwhile, chop the rehydrated porcini mushroom into small pieces, reserving the liquid. Bring Large pot of water to boil, add salt. Add mushroom liquid to the sauce (about 1 cup) along with porcini mushrooms.
Continue to simmer until the sauce is loose but not soupy, about 10 minutes. Add the cream, remove from heat, and cover. Cook the pasta until al dente. Drain the pasta and mix with the meat sauce. Use extra mushroom liquid or pasta water to loosen the sauce, if needed.
Hint: Make sure to let the porcini mushrooms rehydrate in hot water for 15 minutes before tossing into the dish.
What Pasta Types Are Best for a White Bolognese Sauce?
When it comes to pairing pasta with Ragù Bianco or White Bolognese sauce, it's best to choose pasta that can hold up to the rich and creamy texture of the sauce. Ultimately, the choice of pasta comes down to personal preference. Here are a few pasta types that work well with White Bolognese sauce:
- Fettuccine: This wide, flat pasta is a classic pairing for White Bolognese sauce, as the sauce clings to the noodles and the wider shape allows for a more substantial bite.
- Tagliatelle: Similar to fettuccine, tagliatelle is a long, flat pasta that pairs well with White Bolognese sauce.
- Pappardelle: This wide, ribbon-like pasta is a great choice for White Bolognese sauce, as the creamy sauce can coat each strand of pasta.
- Rigatoni: This tube-shaped pasta can hold the thick and creamy White Bolognese sauce well, making it a good choice for a heartier dish.
- Gnocchi: While not technically a pasta, potato gnocchi pairs well with White Bolognese sauce. The soft, pillowy texture of the gnocchi can soak up the rich and creamy sauce.
What White Wine Is Best for Bolognese?
When it comes to choosing the best white wine for Bolognese sauce, it's best to choose a dry white wine that's light and acidic to complement the rich flavors of the sauce. Here are a few white wine options that work well in Bolognese sauce:
- Pinot Grigio: This dry, light-bodied wine has a crisp acidity and fruity flavor that pairs well with the richness of Bolognese sauce.
- Sauvignon Blanc: This wine has a bright acidity and herbaceous flavor that can help cut through the richness of the sauce and bring out the flavors of the meat.
- Chardonnay: A dry, oaked Chardonnay can add depth and complexity to the sauce, while a lighter, unoaked Chardonnay can provide a bright acidity that complements the flavors of the sauce.
- Vermentino: This dry, crisp Italian white wine has a slightly herbaceous flavor that works well with the herb and spice flavors in Bolognese sauce.
When choosing a white wine for Bolognese sauce, it's important to use a wine that you would also enjoy drinking, as the wine will contribute to the overall flavor of the dish. It's also important to use a good-quality wine, as the quality of the wine can affect the flavor of the sauce.
Why You Should Put Milk in Your Ragù Bianco (White Bolognese Sauce)
- Balances acidity: The tomatoes in traditional Bolognese sauce can create a slightly acidic flavor. By adding milk to the sauce, the acidity is balanced out, creating a more harmonious flavor.
- Enhances creaminess: The addition of milk, along with other dairy products like cream or butter, creates a rich, velvety texture in the sauce.
- Tenderizes meat: Milk contains enzymes that can help to tenderize meat, making it more tender and flavorful.
- Adds nutrients: Milk is a good source of calcium, vitamin D, and other nutrients. By adding milk to the sauce, you can increase the nutritional value of the dish.
- Sausage: I love using Italian sausage for this, with a combination of some being spicy and some being sweet.
- Porcini mushrooms: Porcini mushrooms are so important for this recipe because it is what gives it the most delicious umami flavor.
- Ground beef: I love using ground beef for this recipe. If you are truly against it, you could use ground turkey or ground chicken.
- Parmesan: I use regular grated parmesan from the store. You could also grate your own parmesan too.
- Garlic: You can smash the garlic or mince it.
- Olive Oil: I would extra virgin olive oil for best quality and taste.
- Pasta: I used bow ties but you can use any bite size pasta.
White Bolognese Recipe Variations
There are many variations to White Bolognese recipe, here are a few:
- Spicy White Bolognese: Add red pepper flakes or diced jalapeno for a spicy kick to the sauce.
- Truffle White Bolognese: Add a splash of truffle oil or finely grated truffle to the sauce for a decadent twist.
- Pancetta White Bolognese: Add crispy pancetta to the recipe for a salty and savory addition to the sauce.
- Vegetarian White Bolognese: Use soy crumbles or textured vegetable protein instead of meat to make this dish vegetarian-friendly.
When making White Bolognese sauce, it's important to remember that the milk and cream can curdle if added too quickly or heated too rapidly. Be sure to add the milk and cream slowly, and stir the sauce frequently to prevent curdling.
Check out my Marry Me Chicken.
The equipment needed to make White Bolognese is relatively simple and includes:
- Large, heavy-bottomed skillet or Dutch oven: This dutch oven will be used to cook the meat and aromatics, and to simmer the sauce.
- Wooden spoon or spatula: This is used to stir the ingredients together and prevent the sauce from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
- Cutting board and knife: You'll need these to chop the onion, garlic, and other aromatics.
- Measuring cups and spoons: These are used to measure out ingredients accurately.
- Cheese grater: If you're using Parmesan cheese, you'll need a grater to grate it finely.
- Pasta pot: You'll need a large pot to cook the pasta.
- Colander: You'll need a colander to drain the pasta after it's cooked.
- Whisk or immersion blender: If you want a smoother, creamier sauce, you can use a whisk or immersion blender to blend the sauce.
How to store White Bolognese
To store White Bolognese sauce, transfer it to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 4 days. Alternatively, you can freeze the sauce for up to 3 months. When freezing, make sure to cool the sauce completely before transferring it to a freezer-safe container or resealable plastic bag. Label the container with the date and contents and store it in the freezer until ready to use.
When reheating White Bolognese sauce, thaw it in the refrigerator overnight (if frozen) and then reheat it in a saucepan over low heat. Stir frequently and add a splash of milk or cream if the sauce has thickened too much. Make sure the sauce reaches a safe temperature of 165°F (74°C) before serving.
It's worth noting that dairy-based sauces can separate or curdle when frozen and thawed. To prevent this, you can add a cornstarch slurry (cornstarch mixed with water) to the sauce before freezing. This will help to stabilize the sauce and prevent separation. When reheating, you can also try adding a splash of milk or cream to help bring the sauce back together.
White Bolognese Recipe Top tips
Here are some top tips to make a delicious White Bolognese recipe:
- Use a combination of ground beef and ground pork: This will add more depth of flavor to the sauce.
- Cook the meat in batches: This will ensure that the meat browns evenly and doesn't release too much liquid, which can result in a watery sauce.
- Use high-quality Parmesan cheese: Use freshly grated Parmesan cheese for the best flavor.
- Slow cook the sauce: Allow the sauce to simmer on low heat for at least 1-2 hours to allow the flavors to meld together.
- Serve the sauce with pasta that has ridges: The sauce will cling better to pasta with ridges, such as rigatoni, penne or fusilli.
- Don't overcook the pasta: Cook the pasta al dente (firm to the bite) and mix it with the sauce just before serving.
- Garnish with fresh herbs: Add a sprinkle of fresh parsley or basil over the top of the dish to add a pop of color and freshness.
- Cook to a minimum temperature of 165 °F (74 °C)
- Do not use the same utensils on cooked food, that previously touched raw meat
- Wash hands after touching raw meat
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods
- Never leave cooking food unattended
- Use oils with high smoking point to avoid harmful compounds
- Always have good ventilation when using a gas stove