Ragù Bolognese part 2 of 2

After researching the heck out of Bolognese Sauce in part 1, here are the results.

Ragu Bolognese (result)

This is, in hindsight, the general recipe we followed (based on the “official” recipe).


For the sauce:

  • Ground Veal / Pork (50/50)
  • Pancetta
  • Onions
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Tomato Paste
  • Dry White Wine
  • Beef Stock
  • Extra-virgine Olive Oil
  • Milk
  • Cream
  • Salt
  • Pepper

For the tagliatelle:

  • Flour
  • Eggs
  • Extra-virgin Olive Oil

And to finish off:

  • Parmezan Cheese


Part 1 is preparing and making the sauce:

  1. Cut the OnionsCarrots, and Celery brunoise.
  2. Stir-fry the three of them in some oil for about 8 minutes.
  3. Add the Pancetta and Ground Meat and stir-fry for another 8 minutes.
  4. Add Tomato Paste, some Extra-virgin Olive OilDry White Wine, and Beef Stock.
  5. Let it simmer for a few minutes.
  6. Add a splash of Milk.

Part 2 is letting the sauce get it’s flavor:

  1. Turn down the heat such that the sauce is simmering very slowly, leave it at that for about 4 to 6 hours, adding beef stock whenever it would get too dry.

Part 3 is making the pasta (the basics only, below won’t serve as a detailed pasta recipe):

  1. Mix Flour and Eggs and a little bit of Extra-virgin Olive Oil.
  2. Knead until mixed well (when pressing the dough it should bounce back a bit).
  3. Tightly wrap in foil and let it sit for 30 minutes.
  4. Use the Pasta Machine to roll out Tagliatelle.

Finishing up is as simple as:

  • Cooking the fresh pasta in a lot of very salty water;
  • Adding some Cream to the sauce and let it simmer along for a few minutes;
  • Draining the pasta, plating up, and grating some Parmezan Cheese on top.

So, how did the finished result turn out to be? Great, actually. Very different from “Spag Bol” indeed. We did decide that plain ground beef would’ve been nicer than veal, and that perhaps it would be wise to fry off the beef seperately. Oh and the fresh pasta makes quite a difference too.

Bon appetit!

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…

Episode 1: Cooking Stack Exchange Challenge

Cooking Stack Exchange
Cooking Stack Exchange

Last week I announced the little Stack Exchange Challenge that I’d designed for myself. In this post I will be doing the first episode, featuring the Cooking Stack Exchangesite. This post should be the first in a series. I’ll try to stick to a format, though it may evolve a little over the episodes.

Important note: in all cases, I try to go through the site and actually contribute as a well-behaved member of the community. I’d love to be able to ask questions, answer some, and will up and downvote if it seems appropriate; but only if it is appropriate! Afterwards, I’ll summarize:

  • The questions I may have asked.
  • The answers I may have given.
  • Some questions that I found interesting and subsequently upvoted.
  • Noteworthy “community wiki” questions and answers.
  • A conclusion.

So, let’s move on to the Cooking site.

Current Statistics

First up, the current “fun facts” for this particular sub-site:

Fact Cooking.SE
Questions 5,336
Questions with no upvoted answers 56 (1.05%)
FAQ (questions with most links) 1,617
Top 3 questions 134 votes, 72 votes, 59 votes
Questions active last hour 3
All-time rep for top 3 users 27.6k, 23.4k, 19.1k
Meta questions 386

Not the biggest SE site, but still a decent volume of knowledge.

Photo's for the dishwasher-fish-recipe
Photo’s for the dishwasher-fish-recipe

My Questions

To be honest, my choice to do Cooking SE for the first episode was because I wanted to answer a particular question. When I wanted to do so it turned out that I needed to have earned at least 10 rep before I was even allowed to answer that question. Not to worry though, there were two actual questions I still had from my own cooking experiments in the past few weeks, so I came up with these:

My Answers

This section was the reason I picked Cooking SE first: I was very eager to provide an answer with empirical evidence for one particular question:

My wife and I were laughing uncontrollably when it turned out the experiment was successful. It was extremely fun to write this particular answer. Afterwards, I felt the urge to thank the creators of Stack Exchange, and so I did via Twitter. To my surprise and excitement @CodingHorror a.k.a. Jeff Atwood almost immediately retweeted this to his 65,000 (!) followers. What followed were several retweets, favorites, upvotes for the answers, and wonderful direct responses about my answer. This made me realize: I love the interwebs!

Interesting questions

There were several very interesting questions on this site for a home chef. Don’t expect any recipes (which are probably subjective and thus off-topic), but do expect very practical tips. Some questions I enjoyed:

Community Wiki

At first sight, there was just one real “ultimate list” question that caught my eye:


The Q&A format of Stack Exchange seems perfect for a particular type of cooking questions. Once you’re used to the fact that things like recipe-requests are off-topic you’ll start to appreciate the practical aspect of this site.

Probably because it’s a sister site to things like Stack Overflow, several top users note in their  bio that they’re “fulltime computer guy, part-time amateur chef“. That probably means I’m going to have a lot of fun there!