Ultimate Bolognese Sauce

Bolognese Sauce

This is Bolognese sauce as they make it in Bologna. Only tomato purée is used, never tomatoes.


For the Sauce:
1 tbsp olive oil
3 rashers of streaky 'pancetta' bacon, chopped
1 large onions, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 carrot, chopped
1 stick of celery
500g lean minced beef
1 large glass of red wine
1x400g can tomato puree
2 fresh or dried bay leaves
salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the Pasta:
400g-500g/14oz - 1.1lb dried tagliatelle
freshly grated parmesan cheese, to serve


To make the Sauce:

1. Heat the oil in a large, heavy-based saucepan and fry the bacon until golden over a medium heat. Add the onions and garlic, frying until softened. Increase the heat and add the minced beef. Fry it until it has browned. Pour in the wine and boil until it has reduced in volume by about a third. Reduce the temperature and stir in the tomato puree, celery and carrots.

2. Cover with a lid and simmer over a gentle heat for 1-1½ hours until it's rich and thickened, stirring occasionally.

3. Cook the tagliatelle in plenty of boiling salted water. Drain and divide between plates. Sprinkle a little parmesan over the pasta before adding a good ladleful of the sauce. Finish with a further scattering of cheese and a twist of black pepper.

About the Pasta:
Traditionally in Italy - the thicker the sauce, the thicker the pasta. That is why I have chosen to serve tagliatelle with this thick rich sauce rather than spaghetti. The choice of course is up to you. Personally I find that spaghetti cooked 'al dente' ( a fraction under cooked) takes a lot of beating. The sauce in the photograph ended up making a lasagne, so the only rule is there are no rules! Cook whatever pasta you prefer to your own taste. Don't forget the salt, and I always add a good dash of olive oil to keep it separate and give it a nice shine and texture when cooked. Buon appetito!

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Ultimate Bolognese Sauce

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