Food & Wine

Rigatoni Bolognese Recipe – Jeff’s Weeknight Favorite

Jeff Wicks Rigatoni Bolognese Recipe - Easiest weeknight dinner that is delicious and quick enough to make. Yummy pasta recipe for weeknight dinners.

We love Bolognese in our house, it’s packed with so much flavor melded together from a mixture of vegetables, meat and other goodness! Added to your favorite pasta, this can easily be a hearty meal all by itself. Kristy suggested that I write the entire rigatoni bolognese recipe down so you all can enjoy it too.

This is the first time I’ve written down how I make it, so hopefully it’s easy enough to follow. The good news is this recipe is one that doesn’t need to be adhered to exactly. Feel free to change it up… add or combine different meats, add cream instead of milk and try different types of stock like vegetable instead of chicken. I make it a little different each time and we always love it.

I hope you enjoy my rigatoni bolognese recipe, please let me know in the comments if you try it.


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5 from 9 votes
Rigatoni Bolognese
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
2 hrs 10 mins
Total Time
2 hrs 25 mins
  • 1 med Carrot – Peeled and Coarsely Chopped
  • 1 med Onion – Coarsely Chopped
  • 2 stocks Celery – Coarsely Chopped
  • 2 cloves Garlic – Peeled
  • 2 oz Olive Oil
  • 1 lb Ground Beef
  • 1 cup Dry White Wine – I use Chardonnay
  • 3 oz Tomato Paste
  • 1 cup Whole Milk
  • 2 cups Chicken Stock
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese Grated – divided
  • 1 lb Boxed Dry Rigatoni – or your favorite pasta
  • Salt and Pepper to Taste
  1. Coarsely chop carrot, onion and celery then put in food processor along with garlic until finely ground together.


  2. In a skillet, brown the beef on medium heat for about 7-8 minutes working the beef into small bits. Remove from heat and set aside.


    Don’t over cook at this point the beef will get fully cooked in the sauce later.


  3. In a large saute pan heat oil on medium then add the veggie mixture and cook 8-10 minutes until thick.


    Feel free to use the saute pan to cook the beef above as well to save time cleaning an extra pan.  Just remove the beef to a separate bowl before starting with the veggies…  Now you have an extra bowl to clean :)


  4. Add beef and wine to the veggie mixture, cook down for about 5-7 minutes constantly working to break the beef into small bits.


    Reduce heat to medium-low about half way through. I use a wooden spatula to help break the beef down.


  5. Stir in tomato paste and cook another 5 minutes on medium-low. Continue breaking the beef into smaller pieces…


  6. Mix in chicken stock, milk, bay leaf then salt and pepper to taste. 


    Reduce to simmer and allow to cook down uncovered for 1 1/2 – 2 hours until the mixture is thick and tender. 


    Stir occasionally during this time, I check it every 4-5 minutes then more often when it gets closer to being done.


  7. Now it’s time to cook the pasta and bring it all together. Make sure you are ready to serve, the table is set and any sides dishes are good to go.


    Remove the bay leaf and discard.


  8. Cook the pasta 2 minutes less then the box instructs, I call this double Al Dente (not a real cooking term!) Usually the box calls for 14 minutes, so I cook it for 12 minutes.


    Before removing from the heat, reserve 1 cup of the pasta water by scooping it into a cup and setting aside, do this before the 12 minutes is up!


    Drain pasta and add directly into the sauce along with about 1/2 cup of the pasta water and about 1/3 cup of grated Parmesan cheese.


    Turn heat up to medium and cook for about 2 minutes until thick. Salt and pepper to taste.  If too dry, add more pasta water and cook it in.


  9. Serve and enjoy!


Recipe Rating

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29 thoughts on “Rigatoni Bolognese Recipe – Jeff’s Weeknight Favorite

  1. This recipe looks great it looks like a good take on Hazan’s bolognese using chicken stock and tomato paste instead of tomatoes.. I started it and then realized I didn’t have the chicken stock so will use the tomatoes I have but can’t wait to try your version

  2. When you let it cook for 1.5 hours, would you ever consider using a crock pot? I’d be afraid to walk away from something on Stove with milk in it.

    1. Hi Rosemary,
      Certainly an option but you should be able to set it low enough (on a simmer) so that it won’t end up burning. This is a recipe that really does require more attention though. There may be crock pot versions that you might want to look at. Thanks for dropping by!

  3. Hi It’s a good sauce , I like to mix veal and pork in mine with beef. I also love a little Sriracha for a little kick.

  4. 5 stars
    Yummy, Yummy, Yummy!!!! The best!!!

    If I’m out of wine… what can I substitute with? Any suggestions?

  5. 5 stars
    Made this tonight & it was amazing! We were out of white wine (pandemic problems haha) so used red & it was great. A definite win with the whole family and I’m sure will be requested lots. Thank you!

  6. Thanks Jeff for writing this all out for people. I make bolognese regularly and I know how hard it can be to put down in words, your pinch of this and splash of that. Sometimes I add a hot and sweet sausage link and fennel seeds. 😋

  7. 5 stars
    I made this last night. It was delicious. And such an easy meal. Thank you for sharing your recipe! Definitely a meal we will make again!

  8. 5 stars
    Prepared this last night for dinner and it was absolutely delicious! I also loved that it made enough for leftovers for lunches at work. My husband likes spicy foods so he added crushed red pepper and said that was great too! Appreciate you sharing these recipes!

  9. I made this tonight and my family really enjoyed it – even my two young boys ate it — they didn’t even know the veggies were in there :) I just recently found Kristy’s blog/insta stories and I am loving trying the Chef Jeff recipes! Thank you!

  10. Hello!

    This is one of my absolute favorite recipes. I’m having a little trouble seeing the actual recipe. My parents are coming to town and I wanted to make it for them. I’ve tried on my phone and laptop. I was able to find the ingredient list on Pinterest but do you know if instructions are available?

    Thank you so much for sharing this awesome recipe with us!

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