Numerous people in a large kitchen performing various cooking duties.

Cooking at Home - Pasta Bolognese

© iStock - Rawpixel

Makes: 4 Servings

Cook Time: 1 hour 45 minutes

This rich red sauce combines ground beef, carrots, celery, onion, tomatoes with a touch of milk for added creaminess. This sauce is slow simmered and delicious served over any favorite pasta.


  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 carrot (scrubbed and diced into 1/4-inch pieces)
  • 1 celery stalk (chopped into 1/4-inch pieces)
  • 1 yellow onion (peeled and chopped into 1/4 inch pieces)
  • 3/4 pound lean ground beef (80-85% lean)
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 cans 14.5-ounce low-sodium crushed or diced tomatoes (including liquid)
  • 1/4 cup low-sodium tomato paste
  • 1 cup 2% milk
  • 8 ounces whole wheat pasta
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese


  1. To cook the Bolognese sauce: Put skillet on the stove over medium heat and when it is hot, add oil. Add carrot, celery, and onion and cook about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables begin to brown. Raise the heat to high. Pinch off tablespoon-size pieces of the beef and add a few at a time, stirring well between additions. Cook, breaking the meat apart until it is no longer raw, starts to give off liquid, and no longer clumps together, about 10 minutes.
  2. Add the water, tomatoes, and tomato paste, stirring well.  Cook about 10 minutes until the sauce begins to thicken.
  3. Slowly stir in the milk, a little bit at a time. Turn the heat down to low and cook 45 minutes until all the liquid has been absorbed.
  4. To cook the pasta: fill a large pot halfway with water. Bring it to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and about 12 minutes cook until just tender. Drain the pasta and divide into 4 bowls. Top each bowl with about ¾ cup Bolognese and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese. Serve right away.


  • One portion equals 1 cup cooked pasta + ¾ cup sauce.
  • Freeze leftover sauce for up to 1 month.

Source: USDA Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion

Nutrition Information

Serving Size: 1 cup



Total Calories


Total Fat

6 g

Saturated Fat

2 g


23 mg


114 mg


47 g

Dietary Fiber

8 g

Total Sugars

3 g

Added Sugars included

0 g


16 g

Vitamin D

0 mcg


121 mg


3 mg


290 mg