Swirled Chocolate Butterscotch Bars.
This Slow Cooker Saucy Sunday Bolognese Pasta is best for Sunday nights, but easy enough for any weeknight. Slow cooked Italian Bolognese sauce with a mix of spicy meat, vegetables, tomatoes, herbs, and rich red wine. Serve this sauce over rigatoni pasta and top with homemade parmesan breadcrumbs. All it needs is a side of crusty bread for mopping up all that sauce. You simply can’t go wrong with this hearty Sunday Bolognese. Added bonus? You can make this in the Instant Pot or simmer on the stove.
Another October Monday, another easy slow cooker dinner that’s cozy and delicious. Last week I shared my healthier take on a slow cooker creamy tortellini vegetable soup. This week…we’ve got something a little cozier and heartier.
Both are equally delicious and equally great for fall (or Sunday nights). But if you’re in the mood for rich, saucy pasta, this is your recipe. It’s classic, but yet updated and even made with a few healthy swaps as well. But most importantly? It’s just really delicious, stick to your bones, feel-good kind of comfort food.
As we head deeper and deeper into fall I’m really leaning into the slow cooked meals that are easy, hearty, and delicious. Enter this Sunday Sauce. Also known as the sauce you can make on a Sunday, but then enjoy leftovers throughout the week.
Growing up, I didn’t know what a Sunday sauce was. This wasn’t something my mom made or a recipe passed down through the family. No, this is a sauce I somehow created a few years back because it sounded really comforting to me. The sauce I made years ago, I simply called Crockpot Sunday Sauce. It’s made with short ribs, and it’s delicious.
It’s that sauce that inspired today’s “Sunday sauce”. This sauce is made Bolognese style with a mix of ground meat, vegetables, and rich red wine. It is the easiest to throw together, but yet it’s so full of hearty, slow cooked, Italian flavors.
I’ve been excited to share the recipe for days!
Making this Sunday Bolognese is easy. You can make it one of three ways. Slow cook all day in your slow cooker, simmer all day on the stove, or speed up the process and cook in the Instant Pot. I prefer the slow cooker, but either method yields a delicious sauce.
Let’s walk through the slow cooker steps.
Just like any slow cooker meat-based recipe, start out by browning the meat. It’s a bit of an annoying step, but one that is needed to achieve the best flavor. For the meat, I love using a mix of lean ground beef or chicken and spicy ground Italian chicken sausage. The sausage is not traditional, but I find it really adds so much flavor since it’s made with garlic, herbs, and spices.
Cook the bacon, then add the meat and onion. Once everything is browned, simply transfer to the bowl of your slow cooker.
If you have a newer slow cooker that has the ability to sear meats, that’s awesome. You should definitely use that function!
Once the meat has been added, add all the remaining ingredients, give the sauce a good stir, then cook low and slow all day long.
Nothing is better than the smells that will be coming from your kitchen, like nothing. That’s why this sauce is so perfect for Sunday. Simply throw it together in the morning and go off and enjoy your Sunday. Then come home to a house that smells like your Italian grandma was there cooking all day.
It’s the best most warming welcome home.
Make those breadcrumbs and find yourself a really good loaf of bread too. Yes, you need both.
The breadcrumbs are made with sourdough, fresh oregano, and plenty of parmesan cheese. While these breadcrumbs may seem simple, they add texture to the pasta and a nice cheesy crunchy bite.
So. Very. Delicious.
And finally, the pasta. For whatever reason, I love a big rigatoni noodle for this sauce, but any pasta works. So use what you or your family love most.
And that’s it – you’re ready to serve. Just be sure to top each plate with those breadcrumbs and chunks of rustic bread for mopping up all that sauce. Delicious.
Of course not! You can make this tonight or any night of the week.
Here is my suggestion though. Make this for Sunday night dinner along with my favorite beer bread. This recipe feeds a lot, probably way more than you need, so chances are you’ll have leftovers. And those leftovers…they are amazing. Maybe even better than the “fresh” sauce because the longer this sits, the more time the flavors have to develop.
You can serve throughout the week with pasta or over mashed potatoes. Or, freeze the leftover sauce and enjoy it in a month or so. That way, when the holiday craze hits, you’ll have dinner ready at the drop of a hat. It’s always nice to have a cozy “Sunday” meal on hand during the busy holiday months!
Looking for other hearty Sunday recipes? Here are a few ideas:
Healthier 30 Minute Beer Braised Chicken
30 Minute Coq au Vin Chicken Meatballs with Browned Butter Mashed Potatoes
Lastly, if you make this Slow Cooker Saucy Sunday Bolognese Pasta be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! Above all, I love to hear from you guys and always do my best to respond to each and every comment. And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram! Looking through the photos of recipes you all have made is my favorite!
Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.
O-M-G!! How many ways can I say delicious?! This was absolutely the best bolognese we’ve ever had! We are adding it to our dinner rotations and, in fact, my family has requested we have it again this week! We all loved it and are super happy we found your recipe! Thank you for sharing!
Happy Sunday!!😃🍊 I appreciate you making this recipe and your comment, so glad to hear it was delish! Thanks for your kind message! xx
This hearty sauce sounded like a great winter meal. There was not as much flavor as I expected. Also it was very oily. Any tips on this aspect? I followed the recipe above exactly as stated, adding one cup of pasta water at the end.
Thanks for giving this dish a try and sharing your feedback!! Hmmm, unless you used super fatty meats, I’m not sure why this would be so oily. Let me know how I can help! xT