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Bologneses Background

The pleasure of making a Bolognese recipe, if you are not in a rush, is that each of the steps add a new layer of flavor and dimension, and condenses and coaxes the sweetness from each group of ingredients. Each step, sauteeing the vegetables, browning the meat, reducing the wine, takes a little while. None of them are particularly difficult. Making it provides the perfect excuse to stay home in your slippers—and finish reading your book, while it simmers in the background making your kitchen smell like the good life.

Family and Bonding

Pasta Bolognese is one of the most beloved Italian dishes of home cooks and restaurant-goers alike in the United States, and it’s well known as a hearty ground meat sauce coating strands of spaghetti. But the fact of the matter is that no one from Bologna, Italy, would dream of preparing the dish this way. The familiar version is actually the handiwork of 20th-century Italian-American immigrants riffing on old recipes with ingredients that were easy to find here at the time, and it mashes up the cooking traditions of southern and northern Italy.


Filed Under: All Recipes, Dinner, Family Friendly, Italian Recipes, Noodles, Rice and Grains, Pasta, Seasonal : Fall, Seasonal : Winter Tagged With: bolognese, dinner, italian, meat sauce, pasta

Bolognese Nature

Cook the mirepoix or soffritto mixture of onion, celery, and carrot in butter. A fine mince of sautéed vegetables is one of the signatures of bolognese. Cooked in butter, they provide the starting point of flavoring the meat sauce. Note, there is no garlic in traditional bolognese.


Learn three ways to make Classic Bolognese Sauce with instructions for the stovetop, Instant Pot, and slow cooker. This traditional Italian red sauce is savory, rich, and full of flavor.


Bologneses as a Pack Animal

This recipe makes enough ragù for lasagna Bolognese with enough leftovers for another night’s pasta dinner. Try to purchase pancetta in a large chunk from the deli counter, and if it comes in casing-like plastic, make sure to remove and discard the wrap before use. The next best option is packaged already diced pancetta; if pre-sliced is the only option, it will work, but will cost a lot more and requires less time in the food processor. We add a bit of powdered gelatin to give the ragù a rich, velvety body that otherwise would require a lengthy simmer to achieve. The finished ragù can be cooled to room temperature and refrigerated for up to three days.

Physical Traits

The key to a perfect bolognese is uniform texture. All of the main ingredients should be roughly the same size. This makes for a more pleasant eating experience. It helps evenly distribute the flavor and encourages the sauce to cling to each individual strand of pasta. About the all-important pasta: Despite years of people serving “Spaghetti Bolognese”, the sauce should ‘grip’ the pasta as Stanley Tucci described it. Ideally, you want a good amount of Bolognese sauce in every bit of pasta. Fresh pasta is a must here. (We buy ours at our Farmer’s Market. If you live near an Eataly, you’re in luck). Tagliatelle, Pappardelle, and Fettucine are all broad flat ribbons of pasta that will be sumptuously coated in the sauce. Here is the recipe and after it, some other takes on pasta you might enjoy.

Excercising your Bolognese

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