Rigatoni Bolognese

Try this tasty rigatoni bolognese recipe that comes straight from Italy. Easy to make using a slow cooker, your kitchen will be filled with the heavenly aromas of an Italian kitchen as it cooks on low for 6 hours. And then voila! It’s time for dinner. 

What is Rigatoni Bolognese?

Rigatoni bolognese is simply rigatoni pasta served with a bolognese meat sauce. Rigatoni is a ridged pasta in the form of small hollow tubes. This makes it wonderful for bolognese because the meat and vegetables can get inside the pieces of rigatoni, making each bite of this rigatoni pasta recipe super yummy. 

Rigatoni Bolognese can be enjoyed year round and is enjoyed by even the most picky eaters.

This traditional rigatoni bolognese takes only 20 minutes of preparation, and then the rest of the magic happens in the slow cooker. Once the sauce has been cooking for several hours it comes out absolutely mouth-watering and delicious. However, as with most Italian recipes, the real secret to the success of the dish is the quality of the ingredients. Try to find organic grass fed beef and pork as well as the freshest veggies you can find.  

What is Bolognese? 

Ragù Bolognese

This is one of the most classical Italian sauces, one of the ancient recipes of our cuisine and also one of the most famous around the world. I learned how to prepare the original version of this meat-based sauce a few years back, when I was living in Bologna, the city where it was invented. Bologna is an ancient city in Northern Italy famous for its rich food, buildings with red Spanish style rooftops and having the oldest university on the planet. Although many would prefer to travel to southern Italy, Bologna boasts some of the best food in the country and bolognese is a prime example. Learn more about the history and culinary traditions of Bologna and spaghetti bolognese here!

The secret to rigatoni bolognese is time. 

Also known as ragu bolognese, a ragu refers to a meat sauce cooked for several hours over a low heat. The only way to get the perfect result in fact, is to let this ragu simmer on low heat for at least 3 to 4 hours. Thankfully, you can use a slow cooker to make this process very easy and painless. As this recipe is time consuming, I like to make it in large quantities and store some for later. If you just want to give it a try, you can divide the amount of the ingredients in half.

Rigatoni Bolognese

Rigatoni Bolognese

3.84 from 6 votes
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 6 hours
Total Time 6 hours 20 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Servings 8
Calories 479 kcal


  • 16 oz rigatoni
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 1 large carrot, finely chopped
  • 2 celery stocks, finely chopped
  • 12 oz ground beef
  • 6 oz ground pork
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 2 cups tomate puree
  • salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste
  • 3 cups beef or chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup milk


  • Chop the vegetables very finely. If you want to speed up this step, you can use a food processor.
  • Heat extra virgin olive in a large saucepan. Add the onions, carrot and celery. Cook for around 10 minutes on medium-low heat until vegetables are softened.
  • Add beef and pork mince. Break it apart with a wooden spoon and stir constantly until the meat is browned.
  • Deglaze with red wine. 
  • Transfer your meat and vegetable mixture in the slow cooker. Add tomato puree, salt, pepper and cover with broth. 
  • Cook on low for 6 hours.
  • Finally, when the sauce ready, add the milk to round up the flavor.


Calories: 479kcalCarbohydrates: 54gProtein: 22gFat: 18gSaturated Fat: 6gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 47mgSodium: 261mgPotassium: 870mgFiber: 4gSugar: 8gVitamin A: 1680IUVitamin C: 10mgCalcium: 73mgIron: 3mg
Keyword Rigatoni Bolognese
Have you tried this recipe? Tell us about it!Click here to rate this recipe in the comments section below.

Loving Italian recipes? Giorgia Fontana’s traditional Italian recipes are some of the best we’ve ever had. Check out this recipe for Pasta with Zucchini, Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Ricotta and Pine Nuts. I’ve already cooked this recipe a few times in the last month, and it always turns out amazing!

About the Author: Giorgia Fontana
Giorgia was born in a small town on the Italian Riviera, half the way between Genova and the Cinque Terre, just a few miles away from where pesto was invented. She has a background in psychology and neuroscience and is now completing her training to become a licensed psychologist while working as a web writer. As most of the time happens in Italy, it was her lovely grandmother that taught her how to cook and enjoy every bite of simple and genuine food. Giorgia loves preparing meals for family and friends and her specialty are authentic Sicilian and Ligurian dishes. Other than cooking, her greatest passions are traveling and trekking. Her biggest dream is to be able to see (and taste!) as much of the word as possible.

One Comment

  1. Julianne Hall July 17, 2022 at 8:45 pm - Reply

    3 stars
    I made this today, and while it’s good, I feel like it’s missing something. I’ll make it again, but maybe add some bell peppers and additional seasoning.

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