Based in the Bay Area, WLK is Mikee and Jo — working parents of two loving and kind kids. They love sharing stories and tips at the intersection of work, life and kids.

Our favorite bolognese recipe


  • Based on this original recipe:

  • A certain magic happens as the beef and aromatic vegetables slowly cook down with wine, tomato paste, and broth. The mirepoix dissolves into the sauce that your kids will have no idea that they actually consumed considerable amounts of carrots, onions and celery.

  • I often double the meat quantity in this recipe and double tomato paste so I have extra portions for freezing.

  • Warning! This recipe takes a long time on the stove - but that’s what makes it melty delicious. About 10 min prep and 2.5h on the stove. Hence I always cook it the night before and reheat next day to serve.

  • It actually tastes even better on second day reheat!

  • I’m not legalistic about how much vegetables I have on hand to be honest. I just go with whatever I have.

  • DO AHEAD: Ragù can be made 2 days ahead. Chill uncovered until cold, then cover and keep chilled. Rewarm before continuing.


  • 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)

  • 2-3 celery stalks, finely chopped (about 1 cup)

  • 2-3 carrots, peeled, finely chopped (about 3/4 cup)

  • 6 oz. ground beef (I double this)

  • 6 oz. ground veal (I Just use whatever combo of pork or beef I have on hand including sausages but I double the amount! Really good luck substituting with 2 bratwurst. Remove the casing and get the meat in)

  • 3 oz. thinly sliced pancetta or bacon, finely chopped (I double this)

  • 1/2 cup dry red wine (I skip this since I often find not much to deglaze)

  • 3 cups (about) beef stock or chicken stock, divided

  • 3 Tbsp. tomato paste (I use the whole can!)

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 cup whole milk

  • 1 lb. tagliatelle or fettuccine (preferably fresh egg but I use whatever pasta I have on hand like spaghetti)

  • Finely grated Parmesan (for serving)


  1. Heat oil in a large heavy pot over medium-high heat. Add onions, celery, and carrots. Sauté until soft, 8-10 minutes. (Because i usually double the recipe, I remove the vegetables and cook the meat separately.)

  2. Add beef, veal, and pancetta; sauté, breaking up with the back of a spoon, until browned, about 15 minutes. Add wine; boil 1 minute, stirring often and scraping up browned bits. (Mix the vegetables back in)

  3. Add 2 1/2 cups stock and tomato paste; stir to blend. Reduce heat to very low and gently simmer, stirring occasionally, until flavors meld, 1 -1 1/2 hours. Season with salt and pepper.

  4. Bring milk to a simmer in a small saucepan; gradually add to sauce. Cover sauce with lid slightly ajar and simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally, until milk is absorbed, about 45 minutes, adding more stock by 1/4-cupfuls to thin if needed.

  5. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Season with salt; add pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, until 1 minute before al dente. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup pasta water. Transfer ragù to a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add pasta and vigorously toss to coat for a few minutes. This is key because the starch from the pasta will rub off into the sauce to make it even creamier. Stir in some of the reserved pasta water by tablespoonfuls if sauce seems dry.

  6. Divide pasta among warm plates. Serve with Parmesan.

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