- Rigatoni cling to the sauce

Ragù alla Bolognese: the real Italian recipe

All you need to know about the real Ragù alla Bolognese

33w ago


Well, here we are. Today we are talking about one of the most reinterpreted Italian dishes abroad: Bolognese.

I've seen everything about it: creativity mixed with pure horror and – as much as I like Richard Hammond – his twist on it was anything but Italian.


The strange case of Spaghetti alla Bolognese

The Spaghetti Bolognese is highly appreciated everywhere except where it is believed to have been generated: in Italy. In Emilia Romagna, where Bolognese Ragù was born, it is even a real blasphemy.

They tell me that there are even packs, jars and "ready bags" with Spaghetti Bolognese. Well, I imagine Hell in this way.

The reason why we Italians do not eat ragù with spaghetti is more straightforward than one might think: spaghetti do not "cling to the sauce". The durum wheat spaghetti, being slippery, is basically unable to hold the sauce well.

The "short pasta" is perfect: rigatoni, penne, mezze maniche, conchiglie and everything in which the sauce can nestle like a surprise in an Easter egg.

Another excellent way to eat ragù is lasagne, or you can garnish polenta with it.

But if you like to eat ragù with "something to roll", there are tagliatelle! Tagliatelle are perfect with ragù: thicker and rougher than spaghetti.

The story

The "ragù" was already present in the tables of the aristocrats of the Renaissance, initially as a dish in itself and only later used to add to pasta.

The recipe initially consisted of a stir-fry of beef with celery, carrot and onion, lard and butter, and has undergone variations over time, the main of which was the introduction in the nineteenth century of the tomato.

In 1982, the Bologna delegation of the Italian Academy of Cuisine deposited the recipe for Bolognese meat sauce at the Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Crafts and Agriculture of Bologna, to guarantee continuity and respect for the Bolognese gastronomic tradition in Italy and worldwide. And then... Spaghetti Bolognese happened.

Hopefully this recipe will help you to please Italians everywhere.

The recipe


Look at that!


The fire must be low and the sauce must "simmer"

Dressing the pasta

Looking at various photos, I noticed that it is customary to season the pasta on the plate. In practice, drain the pasta, put on the plate and spread a little sauce on it. I have a better idea: season it in the bowl. Sooner or later I will make a video on how to "jump the pasta", or on how to season in the pan without the need of a spoon, but for now, the pan where you cooked the pasta is also fine. After draining, put the pasta back into the empty saucepan and add the sauce you need (keep the rest aside for another dinner... assuming you have leftovers). In this way, the pasta is seasoned better and "clings the sauce" in the best form.

Rigatoni with Bolognese sauce and grated Parmesan

Rigatoni with Bolognese sauce and grated Parmesan

Some tips

- The pork. Some say to use minced bacon. Some open and chop sausages, I use the pork mix you see in the picture: it practically has the same ingredients like sausage, but it is skinless, therefore more practical.

- The doses. It is not strictly essential that the quantities are accurate. If you have a little more meat or a little more or less vegetables, that's fine. As I said: while the pastry is science, cooking is sentiment.

- The wine. Some people use white wine. It is not essential that it is red, but I think it is better. In reality, there is the perfect wine: San Giovese di Romagna, a local wine from the region in which the ragù was invented, but using that wine is a mannerism, not a necessity.

- The broth or the water? It's the same thing: I put the water and add a cube, but if you have ready-made broth use that, it doesn't change much.

- Puree. It is good, with more flavour. Concentrate or triple concentrate. If you don't have it anyway, don't make it into a drama.

Buon Appetito!

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Comments (19)

  • Excellent. We are sort of at the point now where we need an Italian to tell us how to do pizza and Bolognese, and consider all other sources forgeries.

      7 months ago
  • Yup, I did it! I took the liberty of slightly changing some ingredients because I wanted to use up the stuff that I had at home anyway and the result is: HEAVEN! Spaghetti definitely wouldn't go well with that, you'd end up eating the pasta and the ragù separately. I used tortiglioni, which are probably still a bit too long for the purpose but it was still really really good! 😊 Thanks for posting the recipe, Val!

      7 months ago
  • Looks absolutely delicious!

      7 months ago
  • Pleased to report, I did it again! Different kitchen, different equipment, same phenomenal.result! 😋

      6 months ago