Ragù alla Bolognese, not to be confused with Ragú ™, and commonly called Bolognese in the US, is the queen of Italian cuisine. Originally from the Bologna region, it is a staple in Italy’s home cooking and restaurants alike.

Most everyone has their own recipe and variation, but historically back in 17 October 1982, the original recipe was registered at Bologna’s Chamber of Commerce by the Italian Academy of Cuisine, and that is indeed the absolute best recipe there is for flavor, texture and . . . labor of love. Highly recommended as an exercise in culinary achievements and a walk down memory lane of fabulous meals experienced on an Italian vacation.

This is the original recipe – as registered in 1982 – translated into English:

Ingredients (serves 6):

1 lb ground beef
8 oz pancetta, diced
75 grams of carrots, minced
75 grams of red onion, minced
75 grams of celery, minced
1 lb of tomatoes, crushed
100 ml of dry white wine
200 ml of whole milk
3 tbl extra virgin olive oil
4-5 cups of quality (homemade) beef stock, nothing from a can or cardboard, please.


Have the beef stock simmering in a pot.

In a large non-stick skillet, saute the pancetta for 2-3 minutes until the fat is starting to become translucent (do not overcook it).

Add the olive oil, wait a few seconds until it’s hot, and then add the mixture of onion, celery, and carrots, med-low heat for 5-6 minutes (do not overcook it).

Add the ground beef, and sear it stirring continuously, until it’s thoroughly cooked and browned.

Add the wine, and continue stirring until the wine has evaporated completely.

Add the crushed tomatoes and simmer (on low), stirring frequently – and adding the beef stock as needed 1-2 tablespoons at a time – for 1.5 hours.

Add the milk, and continue cooking at a slow simmer for an additional 30 minutes, still adding beef stock as needed.

You should have plenty of beef stock left, do not use the entire 4-5 cups as listed above.

Add salt to taste, but it should be pretty much OK as is since the beef stock will give the ragù enough flavor.

Sources: Accademia Italiana della Cucina


  1. Now you have a nice batch of ragù, you can serve it on top of virtually any type of pasta you wish, in Bologna the quintessential use is on tagliatelle, but Maltagliati or pappardelle would do; best if fresh pasta.
  2. Let the ragù rest in the fridge for 24-48 hours for best results. Reheat gently before serving.
  3. If it is to be used on top of dry pasta, add 100 grams of cream (whipping cream) at the end of the cooking cycle or before reheating.


Garganelli with ragu

1/2lb ground beef
1/2lb ground turkey
1 Italian sausage
0.25lb chicken liver (optional)
1 carrots, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
6oz tomato paste


In a large skillet over medium heat, cook beef, turkey, sausage and liver.

Once meat is cooked, add carrots and celery and cook for additional 5 minutes.

Add entire can of tomato paste and one can of water to skillet. Stir and cook for additional 10 minutes on low heat.

Enjoy over good Italian pasta such as Garganelli (our favorite!)



Extra-virgin olive oil
1 9oz package of Gardein home style beefless tips (or 9-12 oz of wild boar meat, cut into 1″ cubes)
1 medium sized onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
leaves of 2-3 spring of fresh rosemary (about 3-4″ each), chopped
1 glass of chianti wine, or other red wine of your choice (not fruity)
2 oz of tomato paste (about 1/3 of a small can)
1 teaspoon cacao (optional)
1 bay leaf (optional)
7 juniper berries (optional)


chianti wine

Tomato Paste


Cover the bottom of a stainless steel saucepan with the extra virgin olive oil:

Cover the bottom of a stainless steel saucepan with the extra virgin olive oil

Add the Gardein home style beefless tips (or the wild boar meat), clustering it on one layer in the center of the saucpan:

Add the Gardein home style beefless tips (or the wild boar meat)

Pile on top of the “meat” the chopped onions, chopped garlic, and chopped rosemary leaves (and the optional cacao, bay leaf, and juniper berries):

Wild Boar Sauce, Tuscany Style

Cover the saucepan and simmer at medium for about 5 minutes:

Simmer for 5 minutes

After 5 minutes, stir the ingredients together, and let it simmer for an additional 5 minutes

After 5 minutes, stir the ingredients together, and let it simmer for an additional 5 minutes

Once the onion is caramelized, add the Chianti, and from now on deglaze the pan every so often:

Once the onion is caramelized, add the Chianti

Simmer uncovered on high till the sauce has thickened

Simmer uncovered on high till the sauce has thickened

Fold in the Tomato Paste

Fold in the Tomato Paste

Let it rest while you cook the pasta of your choice, best bet is home made pappardelle or maltagliati:

pappardelle or maltagliat

“Serve it with arrogance!” (Julia Childs)


{Photography © 2010 by Toscana Enterprises Corporation, all rights reserved}




1 (10-ounce) jar sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, chopped (oil reserved)
1 small onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup tomato paste
2/3 cup dry white wine
8 ounces angel hair pasta
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 ounces soft fresh goat cheese, coarsely crumbled
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves


Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil from the sun-dried tomatoes in a heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and saute until tender, about 3 minutes. Stir in the garlic and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the tomato paste and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the wine and sun-dried tomatoes and simmer until the liquid reduces by half, about 2 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of cooking liquid. Add the pasta to the tomato mixture and toss to coat, adding some reserved cooking liquid to moisten. Season the pasta, to taste, with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with the goat cheese and parsley and stir. Mound the pasta into bowls and serve.

Serves 4 to 6 servings

From Giada De Laurentiis, Everyday Italian


Photography by ninjapoodles




1 large Spanish onion (chopped)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 pounds boneless wild boar meat (cut for stew)
1 can chopped tomatoes
3 bay leaves
1 cup red wine
5 cloves garlic, crushed
3 dried chili peppers (crushed)
1 cinnamon stick
5 cloves
3 sun-dried tomatoes
3 anchovies or 1 teaspoon anchovy paste
Fresh or dried oregano, basil, and sage
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
Salt and black pepper to taste
Pasta (pappardelle or fettuccine)
Grated pecorino cheese (Parmigiano is an acceptable substitute, but pecorino, being sheep cheese, complements game)


In a large cast-iron pot, sauté the onion in olive oil until translucent. Add the boar meat and brown. (That is, cook the meat over high heat, turning frequently, just until it’s cooked on the outside.)

Add the canned tomatoes, the bay leaves and the wine.

Gradually add the garlic, dried chili, cinnamon stick, cloves, sun-dried tomatoes, anchovies (or anchovy paste), oregano, basil, sage, red wine vinegar, and salt and black pepper to taste.

Simmer on low on the stovetop with the lid of the pot slightly ajar, and stir occasionally for at least two hours — or longer if possible. The longer you simmer this, the more tender the meat will become. The ragù is ready to eat when the meat has totally fallen apart and most of the liquid has been absorbed by the meat. Take out the cinnamon stick and bay leaves before serving.

Serve over the pasta and top with grated cheese. Accompany with some crusty peasant bread and a good red wine, preferably a strong Italian, like Amarone or Barolo.

from I Like Food, Food Tastes Good: In the Kitchen with Your Favorite Bands


Photography by Roboppy




1 onion, chopped
1 rib celery, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 small bunch parsley leaves, chopped
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 ounces pancetta, cubed
Boned leg meat of 1 rabbit cut into strips
Leaves of 2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 tablespoon flour
1/2 cup red wine
1 cup hot chicken stock
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 1/4 pounds pappardelle
1 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated


Melt the chopped onion, celery, garlic, and parsley in the olive oil, add the pancetta, and cook for a few minutes. Add the rabbit pieces and the thyme and cook until the rabbit is browned on all sides.

Sprinkle the flour over the rabbit, mix well, cook for another minute, and add the wine, mixing well. Allow the wine to evaporate and add the chicken stock.

Cover and cook over a low flame for about an hour, until the meat is cooked throughout, and the sauce is a nice thick consistency. Add salt and lots of freshly ground pepper.

Cook the pappardelle in a big pan of boiling salted water. Drain, pour the sauce over the pasta and mix in half of the Parmesan. Serve with the remaining cheese at the table.

Serves 6.

From La Taverna Del Pittore, Bolgheri


Photography by stu spivack




  • 3 pounds butternut squash, quartered, seeded, peeled, and cut into 1/2-inch dice (about 9 1/2 cups)
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 4 cups milk
  • 2 tablespoons dried rosemary, crumbled
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
  • 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • nine 7- by 3 1/2-inch sheets dry no-boil lasagne pasta
  • 1 1/3 cups freshly grated Parmesan (about 5 ounces)
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Garnish: fresh rosemary sprigs


Preheat oven to 450°F. and oil 2 large shallow baking pans.

In a large bowl toss squash with oil until coated well and spread in one layer in pans. Roast squash in oven 10 minutes and season with salt. Stir squash and roast 10 to 15 minutes more, or until tender and beginning to turn golden.

While squash is roasting, in a saucepan bring milk to a simmer with rosemary. Heat milk mixture over low heat 10 minutes and pour through a sieve into a large pitcher or measuring cup.

In a large heavy saucepan cook garlic in butter over moderately low heat, stirring, until softened. Stir in flour and cook roux, stirring, 3 minutes. Remove pan from heat and whisk in milk mixture in a stream until smooth. Return pan to heat and simmer sauce, whisking occasionally, about 10 minutes, or until thick. Stir in squash and salt and pepper to taste. Sauce may be made 3 days ahead and chilled, its surface covered with plastic wrap.

Reduce temperature to 375°F. and butter a baking dish, 13 by 9 by 2 inches.

Pour 1 cup sauce into baking dish (sauce will not cover bottom completely) and cover with 3 lasagne sheets, making sure they do not touch each other. Spread half of remaining sauce over pasta and sprinkle with 1/2 cup Parmesan. Make 1 more layer in same manner, beginning and ending with pasta.

In a bowl with an electric mixer beat cream with salt until it holds soft peaks and spread evenly over top pasta layer, making sure pasta is completely covered. Sprinkle remaining 1/3 cup Parmesan over cream. Cover dish tightly with foil, tenting slightly to prevent foil from touching top layer, and bake in middle of oven 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake lasagne 10 minutes more, or until top is bubbling and golden. Let lasagne stand 5 minutes.

Garnish each serving with rosemary.

Makes 6 main-course or 12 side-dish servings.




  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 cups diced seeded plum tomatoes
  • 2 cups chopped fresh fennel (about 1 medium bulb)
  • 1 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 6 green onions, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped pitted Kalamata olives
  • 1/4 cup drained capers
  • 16 ounces penne pasta


Whisk olive oil, tomato paste, vinegar, and garlic in small bowl to blend. Season dressing with salt and pepper.

Combine tomatoes, fennel, basil, onions, olives, and capers in large bowl. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Let tomato mixture stand at least 30 minutes and up to 2 hours, tossing occasionally.

Cook penne in large pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Drain pasta; rinse with cold water and drain again. Transfer pasta to large bowl. Pour dressing over and toss to coat. Add tomato mixture and toss to blend.

Makes 12 servings.

From Bon Appétit July 2003


Photography by Nettsu




  • 2 small very fresh zucchini, trimmed and cut into large chunks
  • 1/4 cup mascarpone cheese
  • 1/4 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 1/2 tsp. grated lemon zest
  • 4 fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground white pepper, to taste
  • 1 lb. fusilli
  • 2 Tbs. coarse salt


In a blender or food processor, combine the zucchini, cheeses, lemon zest and basil. Process until a light green paste forms. Season with salt and white pepper. Set aside.

Bring a large pot three-fourths full of water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and the coarse salt, stir well and cook until the pasta is al dente (tender but firm to the bite), about 9 minutes. Drain the pasta, reserving 1/4 cup of the cooking water.

Place all of the sauce in a warmed serving bowl and stir in the cooking water. Add the pasta and toss well to coat with the sauce. Serve immediately. Serves 4 to 6.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Savoring Series, Savoring Tuscany, by Lori De Mori (Time-Life Books, 2001).


Photography by Bomee