Best recipe: Tagliatelle with ragu (spaghetti bolognese)

Spaghetti bolognese is a favourite dinner time meal loved throughout the world. It can be a simple as browning the mince and adding some bottled sauce, but just once try this traditional version. Trust me, it’s the best.

Italy’s most loved but misinterpreted dish has to be tagliatelle al ragu. When it left Italy’s shores it somehow become spaghetti bolognese. The real bolognese dish is made by tossing a little rich, slow-cooked ragu (a meat sauce, usually veal and pork) through fresh egg noodles.

There’s a number of tricks to an outstanding ragu sauce. First you really need to let it simmer for a good 3 hours to allow all the flavours to meld together and fill your house with divine smells. A dash of milk  is added to the ragu sauce to cut the acidity of the tomatoes and wine. It’s worth using good quality mince, wine and stock.

60g butter
1 onion, finely chopped
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
1 carrot finely chopped or grated
90g pancetta or bacon, finely chopped
220g minced ground veal or beef
220g minced ground pork
2 sprigs of oregano, chopped or 1/4 tsp dried oregano
pinch of nutmeg
½ cup dry white wine
3/4 cup milk, or soy milk
400g tin chopped tomatoes or fresh
250ml beef stock
400g tagliatelle
grated Parmesan cheese

  1. Melt the butter in a saucepan and add the onion, celery, carrot and pancetta. Cook over a moderate heat for 6-8 minutes, stirring from time to time.
  2. Add the minced beef, pork and oregano to the saucepan. Season with salt and pepper and the nutmeg. Cook for about 5 minutes, or until the mince has browned slightly.
  3. Pour in the wine, increase the heat and boil over high heat for 2-3 minutes, or until the wine has been absorbed. Stir in the milk and reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the tomato and half the stock, partially cover the pan and leave to simmer gently over very low heat for 3 hours. Add more of the stock as it is needed to keep the sauce moist.
  4. Meanwhile, cook the tagliatelle in a large saucepan of boiling salted water until al dente. Drain the tageliatelle, toss with the sauce and serve with grated Parmesan.

Serves 4.

Variation: These aren’t traditional variations, but if you’d like the meal to go further add a can of beans. You could also add any extra vegetables (grated) that you might have in the fridge or the garden.

Cooked for the 100 recipes to cook in your lifetime challenge. 

7 thoughts on “Best recipe: Tagliatelle with ragu (spaghetti bolognese)

  1. javajune

    Sounds yummy…oh now I’m hungry. Thanks for dropping by. I’m loving the unravelling we’re doing in class. have a wonderful weekend
    -jj

    Reply
  2. Tania

    funny, I was just telling my mom today how I was craving some well-done pasta bolognese. this will have to get made very soon.

    thank you for your top gardening section–I am bookmarking it for my future corner of the world (especially the drought-tolerant edible plants, as we will be in Florida).

    -Tania (unraveller)

    Reply
  3. kelly

    This looks so good! I’m about to get a week off work and will
    definitely be making this. Thanks for the recipe!

    From a fellow unraveller

    Reply
  4. Alistair

    This recipe was very flavorsome. I used pork, pancetta and beef, next time might try it with veal. It was very rich and sweet and satisfying. Smelt great and I was dying to eat it after 3 hours. A little over half the stock used and it was almost evaporated at that stage.

    Reply
  5. michael goldberg

    Just made it with beef and pork as my butcher had no veal he grounded the meats rather than mincing what a difference and the ragu is outstanding

    Reply

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