The One & Only Bolognese Ragù

Because of Social Media there are soo many recipes out there, and with COVID Restrictions, even more surfaced. 

I always thought that I do not want to compete with all that, instead to talk about a more general indication on the food habits in Italy, and culinary products. I also thought that all those were all great cooks, … until one day I saw someone giving out a recipe for a cheesecake they just made that was just straight out of the Cheesecake Factory!

And I also stumbled into some Italian recipes that of Italian they have absolutely nothing. Recently I saw directions for a Bolognese Sauce that had nothing to do with Bologna, nor the famous ragù. 

I jumped on my chair when I read: “..  then add parmesan or pecorino…”  Well the two have a very different flavor, and even characteri­stics. 

So no, it is not OK to add one or .. the other. 

For me there are rules to follow to good cooking and more ingredients is not better. Years ago, I bought the book “The Flavour Bible,” and I go by it a lot especially in using spices that are not part of my own culinary patrimony. 

I am like the “Ratatouille,” the little mouse that recommended to eat something “together for best results,” and that a little goes a long way.

I must say that I prefer simple foods, and I become easily suspicious when I see very complicated dishes with more than 8-10 ingredients.

Simplicity well-matched is my mantra in the kitchen.

That said the Ragù alla Bolognese is one dish that should be done as it must. I went to great lenghts to find the real, real Ragù alla Bolognese, and so here it is. 

Before we start sorting out the pots and pans, I should say that Ragù is crucial for a classic lasagna (with bechamel, although in NYC many [Italians] do it with ricotta cheese), or over pasta. Be that tagliatelle (especially the home-made ones with eggs. I have a recipe for that too because it is one of my favorite dishes); spaghetti, or other type of pasta with charater and substance. 

One more rule before we start; the freshest, best quality ingredients the better. The “Accademia of Italian Cuisine” in 1982 registered the following recipe as the one and only Ragù alla Bolognese:


  • 300 g of ground beef
  • 300 g of peeled tomato
  • 150 g of pancetta (diced)
  • 50 g of carrots
  • 50 g of celery sticks
  • 50 g of onion
  • ½ glass of dry white wine
  • ½ glass of whole milk
  • salt & pepper


Melt the diced pancetta (bacon), in a pan (I use my Le Creuset pots for this), add 3 tablespoons of olive oil (or 50 grams of butter), finely chopped carrot, celery and onion and sauté everything over low heat.

Add the ground beef, mix everything well and brown until it starts to sizzle. 

Add salt & pepper. 

Deglaze with the white wine and mix gently to evaporate the alcohol.

Pour the peeled tomatoes into the pan (squish them with a fork before), mix, cover with the lid and cook over low heat for about 2 hours.

When almost cooked, add the milk and adjust with a pinch of salt and a sprinkling of freshly ground black pepper. 

Remove the sauce from the heat and season the pasta.

Ingredients, timing, procedures: making the Bolognese sauce in its original recipe is not super easy, but it can be done, and everyone can prepare it at home and offer their guests a truly unique and irresistible condiment.

Have you ever prepared the real Bolognese sauce? 

Do you prefer to use it on tagliatelle or lasagna?

I’ll answer the last question; I make it for lasagna, save some, and make tagliatelle a couple of days later.

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I lived the most part of my life in Washington DC, now in Italy getting to know again my country. Plenty of surprises, for good and bad, and lots of nostalgia for DC.

2 thoughts on “The One & Only Bolognese Ragù

  1. We have a joke where we live in Northern Italy. Whenever German tourists visit the first thing they order is Spaghetti Bolognese – It’s like they’ve never seen it before. I can also assure you that he stuff in our restaurants is nothing as nice as what you’ve shown us here. 🍷🍷


  2. You get the flavour bible. I don’t. I’ve just bought a copy and, having just flipped through it, I don’t understand how to decode the lists. Can you help me decode it?


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