Photo of Penne with Homemade Bolognese Sauce by WW

Penne with Homemade Bolognese Sauce

Total Time
1 hr 40 min
25 min
1 hr 15 min
This Italian sauce transforms a package of humble ground beef into a flavorful, multipurpose sauce that’s delicious over pasta, zucchini noodles, or even a baked potato. Onion, celery, and carrots are traditional, but we’ve added in pancetta for savory richness. The wine adds depth to the sauce without tasting like alcohol, but you can substitute low-sodium beef broth, if you like. The 45 minutes of simmering helps tenderize the meat and meld all the flavors together. The results are worth the effort.



2 oz, diced

Olive oil

½ Tbsp

Uncooked onion

½ medium, finely chopped


½ large, finely chopped


1 rib(s), large, finely chopped

Tomato paste

½ Tbsp

Uncooked 95% lean ground beef

½ pound(s)

Table salt

¼ tsp

Ground red pepper

1 pinch(es)

Ground nutmeg

1 pinch(es)

White wine

6 Tbsp, dry variety

Canned crushed tomatoes

1 cup(s)

Fat free evaporated milk

2 Tbsp

Uncooked yellow lentil pasta

8¾ oz, penne variety


  1. In a medium, heavy pot or Dutch oven, cook pancetta over medium heat until crisp, stirring frequently, 5 to 6 minutes. Transfer to paper towels with a slotted spoon; set aside.
  2. Add oil to pot and then add vegetables; cook, stirring frequently, until pan is nearly dry and vegetables are soft, 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in tomato paste; cook 1 minute. Add beef, salt, pepper and nutmeg; cook, breaking up meat with a wooden spoon, until no longer pink, 3 to 5 minutes.
  3. Add wine; simmer, stirring often, until wine is reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes and reserved pancetta; bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to a low simmer; cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 45 minutes (add a bit of hot water if necessary to keep meat and vegetables from sticking).
  4. Stir in milk; simmer for another 5 minutes. Taste, adjust seasoning and serve.
  5. While sauce simmers, cook pasta according to package directions. Drain pasta; toss with sauce.
  6. Serving size: about 1 1/4 cup pasta and 1/2 cup sauce