Ragù Alla Bolognese | Authentic Bolognese Sauce Recipe
Updated: Oct 22, 2020
If you asked someone from Bologna about this dish, they would simply call it "ragù." But, since other regions in Italy have their own ragù variations, this classic sauce has taken on the distinction of "Ragù alla Bolognese." This rich dish is perfect for a chilly day when the only thing better than hovering over a simmering saucepan is eating a hearty meat pasta at the end!
For this recipe, you will need:
- 1 lb. (450g) ground beef
- 11 oz. (300g) ground pork (pancetta is preferred but optional)
- 1 3/4 cup (400g) pure tomato purèe
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
- 1 cup white wine
- 1/2 cup (about 40g) diced carrots
- 1/2 cup (about 40g) diced celery
- 1/2 cup (about 40g) diced onion
- Olive oil
- Fresh black pepper
- Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese for grating
Watch the Pasta Grammar video where we make this recipe here:
Bring 3-4 tbsp of olive oil to medium/high temperature in a saucepan. Add celery, carrots and onion. Sautèe for about 3 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft and tender.
Add the ground pork and brown, stirring and breaking up the meat constantly. When the pork is finely crumbled, add the ground beef and brown in the same manner. Salt and pepper to taste.
Add 1 cup of white wine and allow to simmer, partially covered, for 10-15 minutes (or until the smell of alcohol is gone).
Now it's time to add our tomatoes! We prefer a tomato passata (purèe), but be sure that what you use is 100% tomatoes, nothing added. Stir in tomato purèe and paste and bring to a simmer. Salt again to taste.
At this point the ragù should resemble a thick chili. While thickness is great when it comes to Bolognese, the sauce needs to simmer for 2 - 2 1/2 hours, so you'll need to add some water to keep the reduction going. We recommend keeping a kettle of water warm on the stove so that you can avoid adding cold water into the sauce. Add a generous splash of warm water to thin the sauce and stir.
Partially cover and allow the sauce to gently simmer for about 2 hours. Stir occasionally, and add some more warm water whenever it thickens into a chili-like texture as mentioned above. Towards the end of the cook time, stop adding water so the ragù can thicken up for serving.
Ragù is best served with a fresh egg pasta (please no spaghetti, trust us!) and we recommend making your own! It's simpler than you might think and well worth the effort. Plus, it's the perfect activity to occupy you while you anxiously await your simmering ragù. Check out our tagliatelle recipe here.
When the Bolognese is nearing readiness, cook your pasta and drain. Add pasta to serve and several ladles of sauce into a pan (just enough to coat the pasta). Stir all together over medium heat for a minute or two. Serve and top with a ladle of extra sauce and grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.
The extra sauce can be frozen for a quick and yummy meal later on.