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Bolognese with Dandelion + Tortellini

lauren liess' bolognese and tortellini
A seasonal take on our Maestranzi Family Bolognese with foraged (or market!) dandelion leaves and ready-made tortellini.  The dandelion greens are an excellent source of vitamins A, C & K so they add extra nutritional value to the dish. Tortellini is a rich addition to the dish and counteracts any bitterness from the dandelion greens.
Serving Size: 8 People, Prep Time: 45 Minutes


  • 1-2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 yellow onions minced
  • 6 celery stalks with leaves minced
  • 1 garlic bulb minced
  • 5 lbs ground beef 80% lean
  • 3/4 cup Italian parsley
  • 15 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp rosemary
  • 1-2 cups wine red or white
  • 1-3 carrots minced
  • 1 1/2 cups kale or spinach finely chopped
  • 5 large tomatoes minced
  • 14.5 oz stewed or diced tomatoes
  • 6 oz tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup chopped basil
  • 1-2 lb tortellini cooked in salted water


  • Mince onions, celery, garlic, carrot, Italian parsley, and kale. Set aside.
  • Put large pot on the stove over medium-high heat and add olive oil.
  • Add the onions and sauté. Add celery 1-2 minutes later.
  • Stir in ground beef. Add garlic and a good amount of salt.
  • Add in 1/3 of the wine, rosemary, and bay leaves.
  • Cook over medium heat until the mat is browned, stirring often. (Begin chopping tomatoes and any other ingredients while you wait).
  • When the meat is browned, take a quick break and make yourself a little bowl of this deliciousness to munch on while you cook.
  • Stir in carrots & kale and continue to stir over medium heat.
  • Add the rest of the wine, tomatoes, tomato paste, and canned tomatoes.
  • Work it all in until the mixture is consistent. Continue to cook and stir over medium head and add salt to taste as needed.
  • Add in chopped basil.
  • Set to simmer with a lid and stir over low heat 3-4 hours, adding salt and wine to taste. (NOTE: You CAN eat it right away once you finish actually cooking the food but if you have the time, this baby gets better over hours the longer you cook it.)
  • Boil water, add in salt (1 tablespoon to make it “as salty as the Mediterranean”) and cook tortellini until al dente.
  • Strain and pour bolognese over the tortellini and serve.
  • Add parmesan cheese and a little minced Italian parsley to taste.
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