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beef brisket bolognese

We’ve slammed the pedal to the metal in Charlotte and are speeding right into Spring (fingers crossed with no looking back). We started sleeping with the windows open and waking up to the sounds of birds chirping. We’ve enjoyed sunny afternoons spent sipping beer on patios under Carolina blue skies. Everything is in bloom and everyone is complaining about the allergies that come with the brilliant purple flowers. We went to the first baseball game of the season Friday night.

I wanted to share this recipe with you before winter and snow days are a distant memory (well they pretty much are distant memories at this point staring into the bright sun on this gorgeous 65 degree day). Bolognese is a warm, cozy recipe; and can totally be made in any season (but certainly hits the spot on chilly, dark, winter days). I whipped up a batch on my last snow day, and I’m sorry I’ve been hiding this from you until now.

This recipe involves a little effort but the most important thing to focus on is time. It’s all about cooking this low and slow; very, very slow. Patience is key. I used beef brisket that we picked up from the farmers market and cooked it in the crock pot the night before.

beef brisket bolognese


The result was a tender piece of meat, which I then threw in with veggies, spices, wine, tomatoes and water, to create a beautiful, comforting concoction.

It’s inspired by Chef Anne Burrell’s Pasta Bolognese (I love watching her on the Food Network, she’s bold and sassy and an excellent chef). She gives very important advice, and you need to listen to her. My favorites include: “Brown food tastes good,” (while talking about cooking up the veggies and beef), and “This is a game of reduce and add more water. This is where big rich flavors develop. If you try to add all the water in the beginning you will have boiled meat sauce rather than a rich, thick meaty sauce.” I listened, I was patient, and the result was delicious.

beef brisket bolognese

For my nine to five working pals, this would be the perfect thing to whip up over the weekend; throught the brisket in the crock pot on Saturday and whip up the sauce to simmer on Sunday. You’ll have the perfect meal to wrap up your weekend and plenty of leftovers for the rest of the week. We used our atop fresh cut linguini, but I plan to use the leftovers (which I frozen) over zucchini noodles or spaghetti squash.

Wash it all down with a glass of bold, red wine!

beef brisket bolognese

beef brisket bolognese

Prep Time: 1 minute
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 6 minutes


  • 3-3.5 lb beef brisket
  • 2 onions sliced
  • 2 cans beef broth
  • 1 tablespoon Paprika
  • 1 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 large onion or 2 small, cut into 1-inch dice
  • 2 large carrots, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 3 ribs celery, cut into 1-inch dice
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon Oregano
  • 6-8 ounces tomato paste
  • 3 cups hearty red wine (I used Apothic Red, which I love, because that's what we had open).
  • Water
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 bunch thyme, or 1-2 tsp dried thyme
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  • Put the beef brisket in a crock pot with broth, paprika, and sliced onion and cook on low for 10 hours.
  • Remove from crock pot and refrigerate for a few hours (or overnight).
  • After refrigerating, cube/shred into small pieces.
  • Chop veggies and in a food processor, puree onion, carrots, celery, and garlic into a coarse paste.
  • In a large pan over medium heat, coat pan with oil.
  • Add the pureed veggies and season with salt.
  • Bring the pan to a medium-high heat and cook until all the water has evaporated and they become nice and brown, stirring frequently, about 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Add the cubed/shredded brisket and brown. Cook another 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Add the tomato paste and cook until brown about 4 to 5 minutes.
  • Add the red wine. Cook until wine has reduced by half.
  • Add the crushed tomatoes.
  • Add water to the pan until the water is about 1 inch above the meat.
  • Toss in the bay leaves, thyme and oregano and stir to combine everything.
  • Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer, stirring occasionally.
  • As the water evaporates you will gradually need to add more, about 2 to 3 cups at a time. If you add too much, you can always cook it out. Reducing and adding more water is how the flavor develops.
  • Season with salt as you reduce and add water.
  • Simmer for 3-4 hours.
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    Mary Combis

    Friday 26th of May 2017

    Saw you on CLT TODAY and looked you up on my phone. Loved what I found. Keep up the good work.


    Monday 26th of June 2017

    Thanks for the kind words Mary!

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