Traditional Italian Ragù alla Bolognese was one of the best dishes my mother would cook for us when we were young. That time we knew it as “Spaghetti Bolognese”. The easiest way to prepared it was using the Knorr Fix sachet which had nothing to do with cooking, but we still loved it! While doing my internship in Italy in 2011-2012, I have managed to try the real “Spaghetti Bolognese” – Ragù alla Bolognese. This meat sauce had not much in common with the Bolognese I knew, yet it was love from the first site.
The first time Ragù Bolognese was mentioned in a cookbook from Pellegrino Artusi from 1891. Bute the first recipe is a little bit different then the traditional recipe we know. In Bologna ragù alla bolognese is customarily paired and served with tagliatelle.
Traditional Italian Ragù alla Bolognese is very simple to cook, but it does take time. First, you need to cut all vegetables, and the cooking process takes 2 hours. It is worth it though. It has been the best Bolognese recipe I have ever tried, and once you cook it you can store it in the fridge for 3-4 days or freeze it for another time! This way you will get the time you have invested back, have top quality sauce and you will be cooking fresh products.
The things that might surprise you in this recipe is that traditional Italian Ragù alla Bolognese doesn’t contain tomatoes, garlic or any other spices apart from salt and pepper. It does have carrots, celery, a little bit of bacon and even milk! So please grab a glass of wine and let me take you on a culinary trip to Bologna!
To make the Traditional Italian Ragù alla Bolognese recipe easier and more understandable, we have prepared a concise video that shows all the instructions:
If you would like to see how to make Traditional Lasagne alla Bolognese, please check out our recipe: Traditional Lasagna alla Bolognese. For more Italian recipes, please visit our Italy category page.
Traditional Italian Ragu alla Bolognese
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 carrot grated
- 1 onion chopped
- 1 stick of celery sliced
- 250 g minced beef
- 250 g minced pork
- 100 g smoked bacon minced or chopped
- 200 ml red wine
- 30 ml tomato paste
- 250 ml beef broth
- 200 ml milk
- Salt & pepper
- Parmesan grated
- Fresh pepper
- Make sure you have onions, carrots and celery grated and chopped into small pieces.
- Take the largest pan you have and heat up olive oil on the medium heat.
- Fry vegetable until tender. Stir from time to time.
- Add minced meat (and bacon!) and wait until meat turns brown, keep on in stirring.
- Add glas of red wine and wait until it evaporates. In the mean time add a litte bit of broth to the tomato paste and mix them. Add the mixture and the rest of the broth to the meat and combine all the ingredients.
- Cook on the low heat for 1,5 hour and don't forget to stir form time to time.
- Add the glass of milk. Stir again. Cook for another 5 minutes.
- If necessary season the sauce with salt and pepper.
- This sauce does not need any other ingredients – no oregano, basil or garlic. It is perfect as it is – trust me on that!
- Garnish with parmesan and fresh pepper
- Serve the sauce hot with cooked tagliatelle, spaghetti, use it to prepare lasagna or freeze it.