Rigatoni Bolognese

Rigatoni Bolognese

Use up last night’s beef brisket for this Rigatoni Bolognese dinner tonight. Loaded with carrots and mushrooms on top of pasta, this dinner is comfort food at its finest.

Close up of rigatoni with bolognese sauce

This copycat recipe was created after a night out with friends to watch dueling piano players singing our favorite tunes.

I had the short rib rigatoni for dinner and it was delicious. I decided to create my own version.

My version turned out fabulous and so easy to make. We substituted the short rib beef from the original version with beef brisket, slow cooked for hours.

After shredding the tender beef, we tossed it with rigatoni and a stew of carrots, celery,  mushrooms and onions.

Each plate was topped with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

I will slow roast a cut of beef brisket when making pot roast for the family because the beef always turns out so tender and this recipe is perfect when you have leftover brisket.

Wooden spoon stirring chopped vegetables

What is the difference between meat sauce and Bolognese?

Bolognese, also known as Ragu alla bolognese, is a slow cooked sauce that is cooked down to produce a thick sauce.  A soffritto of vegetables including celery, onions, mushrooms and carrots are sauteed and mixed with minced or finely chopped meats and mixed with a small amount of tomatoes and wine or milk. 

A meat sauce is typically a tomato based marinara sauce with ground beef or veal. 

What pasta goes best with Bolognese sauce?

A bolognese sauce is best served over Rigatoni, Penne, Ziti or Campanelli pasta. 

Save spaghetti and other flat noodles for a  marinara or meat sauce.

Wooden spoon stirring pot of bolognese

Can you freeze Bolognese sauce?

Yes. Allow the Bolognese to cool completely and freeze portions in ziplock bags for up to 4 months. 

Refrigerate what you need the night before for an easy weeknight dinner. 

How to make Rigatoni Bolognese 

First, shred the leftover beef brisket and be sure to save the juices. 

Next, sauté the carrots, celery, mushrooms and onions. Add the wine and broth and allow the bolognese to cook down. 

Meanwhile, boil the rigatoni and cook until al dente. Drain and toss with the bolognese. 

Top each plate with fresh basil and parmesan cheese and serve it up. 

Close up of sliced beef brisket

I will slow roast a cut of beef brisket when making pot roast for the family because the beef always turns out so tender and this recipe is perfect when you have leftover brisket. 

Learn how to make beef brisket in the oven. It’s an easy recipe for a weekend. 

I will slow roast a cut of beef brisket when making pot roast for the family because the beef always turns out so tender and this recipe is perfect when you have leftover brisket.

More great recipes using leftovers

Cast Iron skilet with Rigatoni Bolognese on wooden table next to serving bowl



Close up of rigatoni with bolognese sauce
Print Recipe
5 from 3 votes

Rigatoni Bolognese

Use up last night's beef brisket for this Rigatoni Bolognese pasta dinner tonight. Loaded with carrots, onions, celery and mushrooms, this is comfort food at its finest.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time45 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: Beef Brisket Rigatoni, Rigatoni Bolognese
Servings: 6
Author: Ali Randall


  • 1 box rigatoni
  • 2 pounds beef brisket, minced or chopped finely
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 celery rib, chopped
  • 1/2 onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1 cup baby Bella mushrooms
  • 2 teaspoons garlic, minced
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 1/2 cup beef broth, as needed
  • Fresh basil, chopped
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese


  • Chop or mince the leftover beef brisket.
  • In a large pot, saute the onions over medium heat in one tablespoon of olive oil until soft, about 4 minutes.
  • Add the celery, mushrooms and carrots and cook until all the veggies have softened, about 7 minutes.
  • Add the garlic, wine, and the brisket and its juices (or added broth) to the pot and simmer for a half hour until the liquid is reduced by half.
  • Meanwhile, boil the rigatoni according to the package directions until al dente. Drain the pasta and add to the Bolognese just before serving. Mix the pasta and Bolognese well and serve in bowls. Sprinkle with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and basil.


This recipe was originally published December 31, 2014. It was updated December 2019.
Rigatoni Bolognese in a cast iron skillet

If you make a recipe, be sure to snap a photo and hashtag it #homeandplate. I’d love to see what you cook!

12 thoughts on “Rigatoni Bolognese”

  • 5 stars
    Made this for dinner last night and it has easily become a new family favorite dish! Delicious!

  • This looks amazing! I can’t wait to try it out, I know my family will love it! Thank you for sharing!

  • Such an absolutely delicious recipe! And so perfect for the holiday season!

  • 5 stars
    What a delicious idea for using left-over beef brisket! I’m so excited to make this dish. It looks healthy, colorful, and scrumptious. I can almost taste it right now!

    • Thanks Denay. I love it too. Sometimes you just want pasta with a different kind of bolognese sauce. This is a great way to use up last night’s leftovers.

  • I made this last night. It was sooooooooooooooooooooooooo good. My only addition was 2 TBSP of tomato paste. I added it to the veggies after they were soft. I sautéed all together for about 2 minutes before adding the wine and broth!

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