Bolognese sauce, known in Italian as ragù alla bolognese, is a meat-based sauce originating from Bologna, Italy, hence the name.
In Italian cuisine, it is customarily used to dress tagliatelle al ragù and to prepare lasagne alla bolognese.
In the absence of tagliatelle, it can also be used with other broad, flat pasta shapes, such as pappardelle or fettuccine.
Genuine ragù alla bolognese is a slowly cooked sauce, and its preparation involves several techniques, including sweating, sautéing and braising.
Ingredients include a characteristic soffritto of onion, celery and carrot, different types of minced or finely chopped beef, often alongside small amounts of fatty pork.
White wine, milk, and a small amount of tomato concentrate,
or tomatoes are added, and the dish is then gently simmered at length to
produce a thick sauce.
1 tbsp olive oil, or rice bran oil, or rapeseed oil
4 rashers smoked streaky bacon, finely chopped, or a pack of lardons
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 carrots, finely chopped
2 celery sticks, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2-3 sprigs rosemary, leaves picked and finely chopped
2 cups (1lb/500gr) beef mince – pork or turkey mince works just as well, as does Quorn mince
For the Bolognese sauce
1 tin chopped tomatoes
1 pack basil, leaves picked, ¾ finely chopped, and the rest left whole for garnish
1 tsp dried oregano
2 fresh bay leaves
2 tbsp tomato purée
1 beef stock
cube or 1cup beef broth (don't have beef broth, chicken broth is good too)
1 red chilli, seeded and finely chopped (optional)
¼ cup (100ml) red wine (I make my own red wine, so I might add more, it is so tasty!)
6 cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
To season and serve
¾ cup (75gr) Parmesan, grated, plus extra to serve
3 cup (400gr) spaghetti uncooked (Well, it is hard to measure uncooked spaghetti, guesstimate for the number of servings 😉 No harm in leftovers.)
crusty bread, to serve (optional)
Put a large saucepan on medium heat and add 1 tbsp olive oil. Add the bacon/lardons and fry until golden and crisp.
Reduce the heat and add the onion, carrot, celery, garlic and rosemary, then fry for 10 mins. Stir often until everything softens.
Increase the heat to medium-high, add the mince and cook stirring for 3-4 mins until the meat is browned all over.
Add the tinned tomatoes, chopped basil, oregano, bay leaves, tomato purée, stock cube, chilli, wine and cherry tomatoes. Stir well.
Bring to the boil, reduce to a gentle simmer and cover with a lid. Cook for 1¼ hours stirring occasionally, until you have a rich, thick sauce. Add the Parmesan, check the seasoning and stir.
When the Bolognese is nearly finished cook the spaghetti following package instructions. Drain the spaghetti and stir into the Bolognese sauce. You can use some of the spaghetti water to let down (thin out) the sauce if it is too thick.
Serve with grated Parmesan, the extra
basil leaves and crusty bread.