Ragu alla Bolognese

As you get older there aren’t as many ‘revelatory’ moments in food when you suddenly discover a whole new taste sensation, but when they come, they still make the heart sing. I had one last night when I sat down to Tagliatelle with Ragu alla Bolognese.

I was expecting (and looking forward) so something close to the sloppy tomato ragu of spagetti bolognese which I have been enjoying for decades. However the dish I was served, though superficially similar, was a million miles from common ‘spag bol’.

The key differences were that it was almost crumbly in consistency, there was lots of meat, hardly any tomato and no garlic. In addition there was milk in the dish. Now from hearing this you might think it is a plainer version of spag bol, but no, the Bologna method of creating a meat ragu produces a totally unique flavour that is utterly delicious and dreadfully moreish in ways that will astound you.

Here is the recipe I ate yesterday. Going to enjoy it again really soon. – This quantity will server 4 – 6 people.

  • 50g butter
  • 2tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 stick celery
  • 50g panchetta
  • 200g minced pork
  • 200g minced beef
  • 30g chicken liver
  • 200ml red wine
  • 150ml chicken stock
  • 150ml milk
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1tbsp tomato puree
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper


Finely cube the onion, carrot and celery and fry gently in butter and olive oil in a large pan. Add minced meat to the pan and brown evenly. Now add the bay leaf and wine and cook for 5 minutes. Now stir the tomato puree into the stock and add this to the pan. Simmer for half an hour, add salt and pepper and continue to cook for a further hour, but this time with the lid on the pan. Add the milk in small amounts during the hour and by the end you will have a rich deep sauce. Serve with Tagliatelle and parmesan cheese.