Ragù alla bolognese: a must of traditional Italian cuisine

Ragù alla bolognese is one of the sauce most characteristic of Italian cuisine is what has consecrated the Beautiful Country, as a maximum, the holder of the good kitchen. This sauce is prepared with minced meat. Many people use different types of meat: in the original version there is beef and pork.

For the origin of the term, however, it is necessary to go to France. Where “ragout” once refers to those preparations in which meat, fish or vegetables are reduced into small pieces and then cooked in stews. It is not clear when the term landed in Italy, but it is certain that the ragù was well known by aristocratic minds, from the Renaissance onwards, generally as a second course and perfect to enrich the pasta.

After, it passed from the rich tables to the most popular ones. The term was then updated to all the “meat sauces” used around Italy, such as those used for example in Umbria, Puglia or Sardinia.

Ragù alla Bolognese – A bit of History

The first reference to Bolognese sauce goes back to 19th century. It was published in 1891 in the cookbook of Pellegrino Artusi called “L’arte di mangiare bene” (The art of eating well). The recipe of Artusi only partially seems Bolognese meat sauce: in fact, the sauce is made with lean fillet of veal, bacon, butter, onion and carrot. The meat and vegetables had to be finely chopped, cooked in butter until golden brown, then covered and cooked with broth.  As a final touch, he also suggested adding half a glass of cream to make the taste softer.

In October 1982, the Bolognese delegation of Italian Academy of the Kitchen (Accademia italiana della cucina) filed the official recipe for Bolognese ragù in the Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Crafts and Agriculture of Bologna. In fact, they wanted to guarantee continuity and respect for the Bolognese gastronomic culture in Italy and in the world.

Ragù alla Bolognese is one of those recipes that grandmothers have handed down for generations, with its sincerity and genuineness. It’s easy to find many versions of this sauce, some of these are very imaginative and very far from the original recipe.

Fundamental, for the success of an excellent Bolognese sauce, is to carefully follow all the cooking phases, with patience and attention and not be in a hurry. The long cooking is in fact fundamental for the right taste and consistency.

Usually eaten with fresh egg tagliatelle but it used to season other types of pasta as lasagna (with béchamel) or polenta.

Ragù alla Bolognese – The recipe


150 g of lean minced beef

150 g of minced pork

1 carrots

1 stem  of celery

Half onions

Half glass of white wine

750 ml of tomato sauce

1 liter of water (in the same bottle of the tomato sauce)

4 spoon of olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Nutmeg (if you like it)

Preparing time 20 min

Cooking time 210 min

Serves 4


To prepare Ragù alla Bolognese chop down celery, carrot and onion.

In saucepan warm oil over medium heat, add onion, celery and carrots and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the pork and beef and let it cook for another 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Once it is getting dry add the white wine, cook it until it is getting dry again.

Add the tomato sauce and after add 1 liter of water; add the salt, lower the flame to the minimum and cover with lid: leave it cooking for one hour.

Once one hour passed, add half liter of water and cook one more hour. Besides, it is important to check from time to time.

At the end, add pepper and salt (if it is not enough).

Take the sauce from the fire, add cooked pasta and mix everything together.

Serve immediately with grated Parmesan on.

Enjoy your Ragù alla Bolognese!


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