Bolognese Sauce (Ragu alla Bolognese)

Bolognese2Just about every region of Italy has it’s own version of a Ragu, a slow cooked meat sauce, but perhaps the most famous is from the city of Bologna in Emilia-Romagna, Ragu alla Bolognese. Where in other areas, especially in Southern Italy, the Ragu typically starts with large cuts of meat which are cooked slowly in a tomato based sauce until they become tender, Bolognese Sauce is made using ground meat. Here I use even parts beef and pork, but it can also be done using all beef or I have even used a combination of beef, pork and veal.

Bolognese is traditionally served over fresh pasta, such as tagliatelle, fettuccine or pappardelle, but that doesn’t mean you can’t use dried pasta if you want or don’t have fresh available. Sometimes I like to use Rigatoni, the ridges do a nice job of grabbing on to the sauce. That’s the great thing about cooking for yourself in your own kitchen, you can do whatever works for you.

 

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Bolognese Sauce Recipe


  • Prep Time: 30 mins
  • Cook Time: 2 hours 30 mins
  • Total Time: 3 hours
  • Yield: 4 1x

Ingredients

Scale
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped yellow onion
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped carrot
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped celery
  • 1/4 pound pancetta, chopped coarsely
  • 11/2 pounds ground beef, preferably chuck
  • 11/2 pounds ground pork
  • 1 cup beef broth, hot
  • 1 35oz can of imported whole Italian tomatoes, passed through a food mill
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 pound fresh tagliatelle pasta
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream (optional)

Instructions

  1. In a large deep sauce pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot and celery, cook stirring occasionally until the onion is translucent, about 10 minutes.
  2. Add the pancetta and cook until the fat begins to render, about 5 minutes. Then add the ground beef pork, turn heat to high and cook, stirring occasionally until meat is browned, about 15 minutes.
  3. Pour in the beef broth and stir making sure to scrape in any browned bits of meat that are sticking to the bottom or sides of the pan. Then add the tomatoes and tomato paste, and season with salt and pepper. Let come to a boil, lower the heat to low and simmer for 2 hours, stirring occasionally. The sauce should be thick with very little liquid left.
  4. Stir in the cream (if using) and simmer for 5 minutes. Bring a pot of generously salted water to a boil, add the tagliatelle and cook until al dente. Strain pasta, toss with the bolognese sauce in a large bowl and serve.


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9 Responses

    1. They should be whole and passed through a food mill. Not sure how the recipe lost that info, but I have updated it. Thanks.

  1. If I were to add Veal to the meat mix, would I change the recipe to 1 lb of a 3 meats ? Thanks.

    1. Vinny
      My Grandfather was Joe Vincent DeSimone
      From the Bronx, then Bronx vile, NY
      He passed in 1985, worked in the liquor business for many years
      We were very close
      My Mom is Carole DeSimone (Parlato) and lives in Westchester, NY
      I live in Palm Beach, Fl and one of my sons name is Vinny.
      Any relation u think?

  2. Hi Phil
    If I remember correctly your Dad made the best Bolognese sauce ever. I also remember He would prepare a large pot of it early in the afternoon for the evening rush, and after he cooked the meat (but before adding wine, broth or crushed pomodoro) his brother would load it into a big cloth and squeeze out all the fat- then back into the big pot to add all else
    I use a colander instead
    As hard as I’ve tried I’ve never been able to match Paul’s bolognese!
    He taught me how to make cappelli D’Angelo carbonara, which I still make once a week and love
    Hope all is well

  3. Phil
    1 last question- what was in your Dads Veal Chop Imperiale? He took a veal chop, cut a pocket to stuff, I think breadcrumbs, prosciutto & pecorino, fried in pan, then would finish in front of the customer with a sweet sauce(plum?) and some brandy top off and lit
    Maybe chestnuts??
    I dream about it sometimes

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