Bolognese Pasta Sauce

Tagliatelle alla Bolognese

Actually it’s called ragu alla Bolognese. It’s a long-cooked meat sauce from Bologna, in the northern region of Emilia-Romagna,┬áthe culinary heart of Italy.

The ragu is traditionally served with tagliatelle in Bologna, a flat pasta a bit narrower than fettuccine. The pasta’s shape is perfect to maximize the sauce captured on its surface.

Spinach tagliatelle is the favorite in Bologna. I grabbed fresh spinach pasta at Molinari’s Deli on Columbus so I could focus on the ragu.

The ragu has to simmer at least 3 1/2 hours, even longer. I like to make it Sunday morning to eat for lunch or dinner. The aroma will fill your house all day.

You’re building layers of flavor here. Saute minced onion, celery, carrot and pancetta in EVOO and butter. Add the meat and mix them together. Cover it all with wine. Cook off the wine and add milk and nutmeg. Cook those off too, then add the tomatoes and simmer, simmer, simmer. You end up with a thick brick-red ragu with tons of flavor.

When the sauce is done, boil some well-salted water and cook the fresh tagiatelle. That will take about 3 minutes. Put half the sauce in a large bowl. Drain the pasta when al dente and put it in the bowl and mix well with the ragu. Place a serving of pasta on a plate and top with a big spoonful of the ragu. Sprinkle with grated parmigiano reggiano and eat!

The fresh tagliatelle is silky and coated with the ragu. The long simmer intensifies the complexity of the sauce and melds all the flavors together. The dusting of parmigiano reggiano completes this homage to Bologna.

This ragu is for a pound of tagliatelle, fettuccine or your favorite pasta.

When I don’t have time to make my own, one of my favorites in North Beach is Graziano’s ragu alla Bolognese at his Caffe Puccini on Columbus.


8 Replies to “Bolognese Pasta Sauce”

  1. Hi Gianni

    Your videos and your recipes are fantastic! I’ve been looking for authentic Italian recipes for so long and finally I have found them. You are the real deal.

    Can you please make a video on how to perfectly cook this Bolognese Sauce. Thanks for all the videos and please keep them coming.

  2. If we double this recipe, should we just double all the ingredients, including the wine? Do we need to extend the cooking time? What are your suggestions?

    1. Ciao Norm. Yes double the recipe across the board. It might not take twice the cooking time to thicken the sauce.
      Happy Holidays. Buon appetito!

  3. Gianni,

    If you take requests once in a while, PLEASE consider doing a Pasta e Fagioli (“pasta fazool”) demo.

    There are SO many bad pasta fazool recipes on the Internet. There’s even one that calls for V8 Vegetable juice, if you can believe it. YUCK! (It comes as no surprise it is purportedly derived from the one served at Olive Garden restaurants.)

    Please, set the record straight on pasta fazool and show us how it’s done.


  4. Hey Gianni, I’ve watched all your videos many times. How about you make some new videos? I’m looking forward to see them!

  5. Thank you for your recipes and videos. Your continued encouragement to use only a few and only the best ingredients has certainly made a big difference in my own cooking. While I’m sure you must sometimes question whether you should continue repeating the same.basic principles again and again, let me reassure you of the necessity. Many of us really are that dense. I’ll be making this one tomorrow. Thank you again,

    1. Ciao Peter. Use the best ingredients you can afford and you’re 95% to making a fantastic dish. Italian cooking is simple. Sometimes the best ingredient is the one you don’t include. I hope the ragu all a Bolognese turns out well. I’ve got some ragu left over so I’ll make it again today. Buon appetito!

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