Chorizo Bolognese Is Perfect For Your Next Pasta Night

This one ingredient swap deliciously redefines this classic ragu.

Published July 14, 2022.

Don’t you just love when a single ingredient can completely transform a recipe?

Take bolognese, for instance. You know bolognese, right? The savory, comforting ragu-style Italian meat sauce?

So what if we swapped the beef with Mexican chorizo?

The answer is a sauce that’s almost too delicious for words: chorizo bolognese.

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This works for any bolognese recipe. Simply sub in chorizo for ground beef in a 1:1 ratio.

I opted for our Weeknight Bolognese because I was hungry and didn’t want to wait all day. It did not disappoint.

This recipe started with Cook’s Illustrated Senior Editor Annie Petito. Annie masterfully developed a weeknight version of bolognese that ordinarily takes all day. Here I simply swapped 1 pound of ground beef with 1 pound of Mexican chorizo.

The flavor of this chorizo bolognese is sublime. It’s warm and spicy and full of that umami-fermented chorizo goodness. You could eat this over pasta, rice and beans, or my personal favorite: with a giant piece of grilled bread.

Next time you’re craving bolognese, I insist you try it with chorizo. It just might be your new favorite sauce.

Weeknight Chorizo Bolognese

Serves 4-6

  • 1 pound Mexican-style chorizo sausage, casings removed
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 4 cups beef broth
  • 6 ounces pancetta, chopped coarse
  • 1 onion, chopped coarse
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and chopped coarse
  • 1 celery rib, chopped coarse
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • 1 ounce Parmesan cheese, grated (1/2 cup), plus extra for serving

1. Bring broth to boil over high heat in large pot and cook until reduced to 2 cups, about 15 minutes; set aside.

2. Pulse pancetta in food processor until finely chopped, 15 to 20 pulses. Add onion, carrot, and celery and pulse until vegetables are finely chopped and mixture has paste-like consistency, 12 to 15 pulses, scraping down sides of bowl as needed.

3. Heat butter and oil in large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering. When foaming subsides, add pancetta-vegetable mixture and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid has evaporated, about 8 minutes. Spread mixture in even layer in bottom of pot and continue to cook, stirring every couple of minutes, until very dark browned bits form on bottom of pot, 7 to 12 minutes longer. Stir in tomato paste and cook until paste is rust-colored and bottom of pot is dark brown, 1 to 2 minutes.

4. Reduce heat to medium, add chorizo and cook, using wooden spoon to break meat into pieces no larger than 1/4 inch, until beef has just lost its raw pink color, 4 to 7 minutes. Stir in wine, scraping up any browned bits, and bring to simmer. Cook until wine has evaporated and sauce has thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in broth and Parmesan. Return sauce to simmer; cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 30 minutes (sauce will look thin). Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper to taste.

5. Rinse pot that held broth. While sauce simmers, bring 4 quarts water to boil in now-empty pot. Add pasta and 1 tablespoon salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente. Reserve 1/4 cup cooking water, then drain pasta. Add pasta to pot with sauce and toss to combine. Adjust sauce consistency with reserved cooking water as needed. Transfer to platter or individual bowls and serve, passing extra Parmesan separately.

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