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Ragu alla Bolognese

Spaghetti Bolognese is a classic Italian dish that is now found all over the world and has ended up with everyone’s recipe having their own touches or differences. But actual Ragu alla Bolognese, or simply Ragù, however is a dish that is much more delicate and is still very closely ingrained in Italian culture and if you stray from the classic Ragù recipe then it simply becomes something that is not Ragù. This is a very delicate and finely balanced dish that requires the right amount of balance between the meat, sofrito (onions, carrots, celery) and the sauce, and it shouldn’t be drowning in sauce like you would find a spaghetti bolognese dish.

Traditionally, the recipe calls for beef and veal, but as veal is quite difficult you can use 100% beef or, as I did, a combination of beef and pork. The dish is ideally served with tagliatelle or pappadelle pasta – but I didn’t have either of those pastas available so I used a nice linguine, but for the best results I would use tagliatelle or parpadelle if you can. But not Spaghetti! This is a dish that is best when you take your time with it, so cook it on a quiet weekend and serve with a nice glass of wine.

Ragu alle Bolognese

Print Recipe
Serves: 4 Cooking Time: 2 hours


  • 300g Beef Mince
  • 200g Pork Mince
  • 100g Pancetta
  • 1 x Onion
  • 1 x Carrot
  • 1 x Celery Stick
  • 200g Passata
  • 125ml White Wine
  • 150ml Whole Milk
  • 1 tbsp Tomato Paste
  • 2 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Black Pepper
  • 350g Tagliatelle or Pappardelle Pasta
  • Parmesan cheese (optional)



Very finely dice the onion, carrot and celery.


Place a large saucepan or frying pan over a medium-high heat.


Add the minced beef and pork into the pan and cook until it's just browned all over. But don't brown it too much as we don't want the mince to go dark and crispy. Remove the mince from the pan, but retain the fat that will have rendered out of the mince.


Bring the heat to low, and add the in the sofrito (onions, carrots and celery) and cook them for approximately minutes, stirring occasionally, until they've softened nicely.


Add the mince back into the pan and combine with the sofrito. Place a lid onto the pan and leave to cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 - 15 minutes.


Bring the heat back to a medium heat and remove the lid and create some space in the pan by moving the mince and sofrito to the side of the pan, and then add the tablespoon of tomato paste directly into the pan but not into the meat/sofrito mix. Cook the tomato paste out for a couple of minutes to get rid of some of the bitterness from the paste, and then stir the beef and sofrito into the paste.


Add in the white wine to the pan and cook for a good 3 -4 minutes to cook out some of the raw alcohol, and stir well into the meat and sofrito.


Now add in the passata and stir into the meat and sofrito and cook, stirring constantly, for around 5 minutes.


Bring the heat back down to low and place the lid back on and then leave to simmer away for a good hour.


Once the ragu has been simmering for at least an hour, add in the milk. This will take away some of the acidity from the dish due to the abundance of tomatoes in the passata and tomato pasta.


Add in the seasoning and allow to simmer away for a further 10 - 15 minutes with the lid off.


During this final simmer, cook the pasta for approximately 8 minutes so that it's al dente and retains some of it's bite. Drain the pasta, but retain a little (approximately 50ml) of the pasta water.


Add the pasta and the little bit of pasta water into the ragu, and combine well so that the pasta is well coated.


Serve with a generous grating of parmesan cheese.

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