White bowl with pasta topped with Bolognese sauce and freshly grated cheese

How to Make Bolognese Sauce Gluten Free

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Originally posted November 14, 2021
Modified March 6, 2024

Bolognese is my favorite meat sauce to make, and I’ve been making it for years from scratch. I’ve always Ok, actually it’s a Bolognese inspired meat sauce that’s not authentic. I think some Italians would actually cringe at the below recipe. I found the sauce to be much more flavorful with a meatloaf mix of ground beef, lamb, and pork. A dry red wine provides a bold flavor to the sauce.

After my travels in Italy and experiencing farm-to-table food, I became interested in learning more about Italian cuisine and becoming more in touch with my Italian roots. I’m part Italian, with my father’s family originating from Carrara, a small town known for marble, and located in northern Tuscany. (In relation to Florence, it’s north of Florence, close to the coast.)

A Brief History of Bolognese Sauce, ragù alla bolognese

Bolognese is a meat-based sauce, traditionally made in Bologna, Italy and typically served with tagliatelle pasta. The recipe first appeared in Pellegrino Artusi’s cookbook, “La Scienza in Cucina e L’arte di Mangier Bene” (Science in the Kitchen and the Art of Eating Well) first published in 1891. The recipe called for a veal filet along with pancetta. Pancetta literally means from the “pork belly”. The original recipe had hardly any tomatoes in it. Over time it has become more acceptable to use tomato passata. L‘Accademia Italiana della Cucina accepted an updated version of the recipe. The Accademia accepts the use of white or red wine.

[RELATED POST: How to Make Tomato Puree from Fresh Tomatoes]

Diced onions and carrots in a dutch oven with a wooden spoon
Minced onions, carrots, and celery

What is L’Accademia Italiana della Cucina?

L’Accademia Italiana della Cucina was established in Milan in 1953. L’Accademia seeks to preserve recipes by protecting traditions throughout Italian cuisine.

Red Wine for Bolognese Sauce: What type of wine to cook with

Cooking with wine provides a delicious flavor to dishes. Be careful not to use too much wine. Too much wine can give the dish too much of a wine flavor. Allow the alcohol to cook off. This recipe calls for a dry red wine. In the past, I’ve tried cooking it with white wine.

What wine is used in Bolognese sauce?

The sauce is traditionally made with white wine. It’s now acceptable to use red wine for Bolognese sauce. I’ve found that white wine have a rich flavor like red wine does.

The best wine I’ve cooked with for this recipe is Chianti. If you don’t have Chianti, any dry, red wine will do well.

Topped with Cheese

The type of cheese used really matters in this dish. We’ve always used freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano. This cheese is made in the provinces of Parma, Reggio Emilia, Modena, and Bologna. These provinces are left of the river Reno, while Mantua is to the right of the river Po. The word Parmigiano comes from the adjective for Parma, and Reggiano refers to Reggio Emilia.

One of the approved ingredients is raw cow milk. The raw milk is unique and has intense bacterial activity. The cows’ feed consists of local forage, grass, and hay. There are even strict specifications on what the cows can be fed. The cows cannot be fed silage or fermented foods. There are particular breeds of cows that the producers must use. All of these measures are to ensure the best quality of cheese.

One package of ground pork and one package of ground beef on a cutting board
Packages of Ground Beef and Pork
White bowl with pasta topped with Bolognese sauce and freshly grated cheese

Bolognese Sauce Gluten Free

How to make Bolognese sauce gluten free from scratch
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 20 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian


  • Dutch oven
  • knife
  • cutting board
  • wooden spoon


  • 1/2 lb ground pork
  • 1/2 lb ground beef
  • 1/2 lb ground lamb (optional)
  • extra virgin olive oil enough to coat bottom of dutch oven
  • 2 oz pancetta (minced, optional)
  • 1 large onion minced
  • 2 carrots minced
  • 2 s celery minced
  • 1/2 cup dry red or white wine
  • 1 can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 can tomato sauce
  • beef or chicken broth optional
  • salt to taste
  • Parmigiano Reggiano


  • Starting with medium heat on the stove, drizzle oil in the bottom of the Dutch oven, using enough to coat the bottom. If you are using pancetta, mince it and mince the vegetables. Add the pancetta and the vegetables into the Dutch oven and sauté.
  • Once the onion is golden, add the ground meat and continue cooking until the meat has been browned.
  • After the meat has been browned, stir in the wine and cook until it has evaporated.
  • Once the alcohol has cooked off from the wine, add the crushed tomatoes and tomato sauce. Depending on how thick you would like to make the sauce, ladle in broth for the consistency desired. Keep in mind that as the sauce cooks, it will thicken so more liquid may be required. Add seasoning to taste.
  • Bring the sauce to a light boil and then reduce heat to low. The sauce should then simmer for at least 2 hours. The longer the sauce cooks simmer, the more flavorful it becomes.
  • Serve over pasta and top with a generous amount of cheese.
Keyword Bolognese, Homemade pasta sauce, Homemade Sauce, Ragu

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