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Bolognese Pizza

Homemade bolognese pizza is an easy recipe made with a flavorful bolognese meat sauce topped with mozzarella and fresh basil leaves. If you love pasta bolognese, you have to try the pizza version.

Bolognese pizza with fresh dairy free mozzarella cheese slices and torn fresh basil leaves.

This homemade pizza recipe has a homemade traditional bolognese sauce that replaces traditional pizza sauce, acting as the pizza base. It has much more texture and flavor than regular tomato sauce and because it’s not as runny, you’ll want to use a bit more of it. Especially since it’s the main pizza topping. Plus it’s a great way to pack veggies into the sauce without really noticing that they’re there.

This sauce isn’t just good on pizza and pasta though, you can repurpose any extra sauce by adding it to eggs, avocado tomato toast (just swap out the marinated tomatoes for the bolognese), tacos, or stir it into creamy roasted red pepper risotto

Main Ingredients

  • Soffrito – the Italian term for an aromatic mix of diced onions, carrots, and celery gently cooked in olive oil.
  • Garlic cloves – added for extra flavor. 
  • Ground Italian sausage – mild or spicy depending on preference.
  • Red wine – gives the sauce a more complex flavor.
  • Milk of choice – adds a rich flavor and also cuts through the acidity of the tomatoes and wine. I used oat milk to keep it dairy-free.
  • Italian seasoning – helps season the sauce.
  • Tomato paste – adds a more concentrated tomato flavor.
  • Crushed tomatoes – adds volume to the sauce.
  • Bay leaf – infuses flavor into the sauce.
  • Kosher salt – season to taste.
  • Freshly cracked black pepper – to taste.
  • Homemade pizza dough – I love to make this a day ahead so it’s one less step the day of. 
  • Mozzarella cheese – I used homemade dairy free mozzarella cheese slices for me and shredded dairy mozzarella for my dairy-consuming husband.
  • Fresh basil – for garnish.

How to Make Bolognese Pizza

Step 1. Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven or large pot over medium heat. Add in the diced onion, celery, and carrot. Saute for 4-5 minutes or until the onions are translucent, stirring occasionally. Stir in the minced garlic and cook for an additional minute.

Step 2. Add the ground sausage and break it up with a spatula. Cook until browned and no longer pink.

Step 3. Add the wine (or broth) and simmer uncovered for about 10 minutes, or until it has evaporated. Add in the milk of choice and simmer uncovered until evaporated.

Step 4. Add Italian seasoning, tomato paste, crushed tomatoes with juice, bay leaf, and a teaspoon of kosher salt. Simmer uncovered for 30 minutes until the sauce has thickened, stirring occasionally. Remove the bay leaf and season to taste with more kosher salt as needed and freshly cracked black pepper.

Step 5. Preheat your oven to 500°F/260°C and place a pizza stone (or an inverted, rimmed baking sheet) on the middle oven rack.

Step 6. On a lightly floured surface, use a rolling pin to roll the pizza dough into a circular shape and then transfer it to a generously floured (alternatively you can use cornmeal) pizza peel or preheated baking sheet.

Step 7. Spoon a layer of the sauce onto the dough, leaving about ½-inch space around the edges. Follow with shredded cheese or dairy free mozzarella slices.

Step 8. Bake for about 7-10 minutes until the crust is golden brown. Top with torn pieces of fresh basil leaves.

Make It Your Way: Substitutions & Variations

Please remember that recipes are just a starting point.

How can you make this pizza bolognese recipe using what you already have? Here are some ideas…

  • No ground sausage? – you can use any type of ground meat such as ground beef or ground chicken, just make sure to season it more since Italian sausage is well-seasoned.
  • No red wine? – you can also use white wine or beef broth.
  • No crushed tomatoes? – you can also use whole peeled tomatoes (you crush them with your hands into the pot), diced, or chopped tomatoes. 
  • ​Make spicy bolognese pizza – use spicy Italian sausage and also add in red pepper flakes.
  • Make it gluten free – use your favorite gluten free pizza crust or flatbread as the base.
  • Add-ons – dairy free parmesan cheese (or dairy parmesan or pecorino romano if not dairy free).

How to Store

Store leftover bolognese sauce in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Helpful Tips

Can you make homemade pizza without a pizza stone? 

Yes, just use an inverted rimmed sheet pan (this is the method I’ve been using for years with great success) and preheat it when you turn the oven on.

Once it comes to temperature, take it out and generously sprinkle the pan with flour or cornmeal before carefully transferring the rolled-out dough onto it. Once the dough is on the pan, add the sauce and toppings.

Turn it into a quick meal.

Make the sauce and the pizza dough ahead of time. When you’re ready to prepare it, just make sure to pull the pizza dough out of the fridge to let it sit at room temperature to allow the gluten to relax. It’ll be much easier to roll out this way.

More Italian Recipes

Bolognese Pizza

5 from 3 votes
Bolognese pizza with fresh dairy free mozzarella cheese slices and torn fresh basil leaves.
Homemade bolognese pizza is an easy recipe made with a flavorful bolognese meat sauce topped with mozzarella and fresh basil leaves. If you love pasta bolognese, you have to try the pizza version.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Serving Size 4 pizzas

Ingredients
 

Bolognese Sauce

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow or white onion diced
  • 2 stalks celery diced
  • 2 large carrots peeled and diced
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 pound ground Italian sausage
  • 1 cup red wine OR beef broth
  • ¾ cup milk of choice I used oat milk
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt plus more to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste

Pizza

Instructions

Make the bolognese sauce

  • Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven or large pot over medium heat. Add in the diced onion, celery, and carrot. Saute for 4-5 minutes or until the onions are translucent, stirring occasionally. Stir in the minced garlic and cook for an additional minute.
  • Add the ground sausage and break it up with a spatula. Cook until browned and no longer pink.
  • Add the wine (or broth) and simmer uncovered for about 10 minutes, or until it has evaporated. Add in the milk of choice and simmer uncovered until evaporated.
  • Add Italian seasoning, tomato paste, crushed tomatoes with juice, bay leaf, and a teaspoon of kosher salt. Simmer uncovered for 30 minutes until the sauce has thickened, stirring occasionally. Remove the bay leaf and season to taste with more kosher salt as needed and freshly cracked black pepper.

Assemble the pizza

  • Preheat your oven to 500°F/260°C and place a pizza stone (or an inverted, rimmed baking sheet) on the middle oven rack.
  • On a lightly floured surface, use a rolling pin to roll the pizza dough into a circular shape and then transfer it to a generously floured (alternatively you can use cornmeal) pizza peel or preheated baking sheet.
  • Spoon a layer of the sauce onto the dough, leaving about ½-inch space around the edges. Follow with shredded cheese or dairy free mozzarella slices.
  • Bake for about 7-10 minutes until the crust is golden brown. Top with torn pieces of fresh basil leaves.

Notes

See the blog post for step-by-step photos and helpful tips.

Make It Your Way: Substitutions & Variations

No ground sausage? – you can use any type of ground meat such as ground beef or ground chicken, just make sure to season it more since Italian sausage is well-seasoned.
No red wine? – you can also use white wine or beef broth.
No crushed tomatoes? – you can also use whole peeled tomatoes (you crush them with your hands into the pot), diced, or chopped tomatoes. 
​Make spicy bolognese pizza – use spicy Italian sausage and also add in red pepper flakes.
Make it gluten free – use your favorite gluten free pizza crust or flatbread as the base.
Add-ons – dairy free parmesan cheese (or dairy parmesan or pecorino romano if not dairy free).
5 from 3 votes (3 ratings without comment)

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