Ragù Bolognese part 1 of 2

Apparently, northern european countries were doing it all wrong! There is no such thing as Spaghetti Bolognese, at least not in the country we think spawned the dish. Here are the main things that are wrong with “Spagbol”:

  • It is not served with spaghetti, but with tagliatelle (or if not that, with some other broad type of pasta).
  • It has no herbs or garlic in it. It’s a meaty sauce with some vegetables, but no herbs.
  • There are no fresh tomatoes in it. Instead, either paste or canned tomatoes are used.
  • It is not a quick dish. It has to sit on the stove for several hours.

Wow. I’ve been sinning against Italian cuisine for a long time!

So it’s time to set things straight, time to try out the real Bolognese Sauce. First things first, I needed to check if there’s an official recipe. The Wikipedia page is usually a good start. However, I’d rather be sure that I have a recipe as authentic as possible. So I went back to my old favorite cooking.stackexchange.com and asked what the key ingredients are.

The answer I accepted links to an “official” recipe by Accademia Italiana della Cucina. However, this didn’t hold me back from creating my own answer. I compared several prominent recipes, which led me to the following ingredient summary:

Must Haves:

  • Onion
  • Carrot
  • Celery
  • Ground Beef
  • Tomato Paste
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Should Haves:

  • Olive oil (usually extra-virgin, but the “official” source mentions regular oil)
  • Pancetta
  • Milk
  • Ground Veal and/or Pork †
  • Dry White Wine (incidentally recipes mention red wine instead)
  • Beef Stock (incidentally chicken stock instead)

† The only ingredient not in the “official” source’s recipe, that is found in most other recipes.

Honerable mentions:

  • Cream (the only “official” ingredient not found in most recipes)

Ingredients usually not mentioned:

  • Bacon (instead of pancetta)
  • Tin crushed tomatoes
  • Fresh tomatoes (never mentioned!)
  • Sieved tomatoes
  • Butter
  • Cloves
  • Bay Leaves
  • Nutmeg
  • Cinnamon
  • Basil
  • Oregano
  • Parsely
  • Sugar

So, armed with that knowledge, and a basic recipe, I’ll soon be attempting to make a classic Ragù Bolognese. With fresh tagliatelle.

To be continued…