Authentic Bolognese Sauce

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Authentic Bolognese Sauce

English name:

Authentic Bolognese Sauce

Original name:

Ragù alla bolognese






Cooking/baking time:


Authentic Bolognese Sauce ingredients:

  • 1 onion
  • 1 stick of celery
  • 1 carrot
  • 1/2 pound (250 g) minced pork
  • 1/2 pound (250 g) minced beef
  • 3 ounces (100 g) pancetta
  • 1 cup of red wine
  • 1 cup of whole milk
  • 2 tbsp (30 g) of passata di pomodoro (tomato purée)
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 stick (50 g) unsalted butter
  • salt
  • pepper

If you think you’ve tried spaghetti bolognese before, I have bad news. That tomato-rich red sauce that incidentally got the name “bolognese” in the biggest part of the world, has little to do with the original, authentic bolognese sauce.

Unlike most traditional recipes The Italian Academy of Kitchen (Academia Italiana della Cucina) created their original authentic bolognese sauce recipe in 1982. I’ve never found this on the internet, but my recipe is basically the bolognese sauce that you get in Bologna or Emilia-Romagna.

Authentic Bolognese Sauce Recipe

  1. For making authentic bolognese sauce, first make a fine mix, a purée of the carrot, the celery and the onion with a blender. If you don’t have a strong blender, simply grate the vegetables.
  2. Authentic Bolognese Sauce: Carrot, Celery And Onion Purée

    The base for authentic bolognese sauce: carrot, celery and onion purée

  3. Mince the pancetta, make this also look like a purée. If it’s difficult to get Italian pancetta in your neighborhood, you can use any kind of salty, smoked bacon instead.
  4. Authentic Bolognese Sauce: Minced Pancetta or Bacon

    Minced Pancetta or Bacon

  5. Heat the extra virgin olive oil and the butter in an extra-large saucepan, add the vegetables and let them evaporate their water content. It takes about 15 minutes the get the right consistency.
  6. Authentic Bolognese Sauce: Vegetables in the Saucepan

    Sauté the vegetables to lose their water content

  7. Add the minced pancetta, pork and beef. Stir occasionally over medium heat, and let it simmer for 30 minutes until it looses every liquid.
  8. Authentic Bolognese Sauce: Add the Minced Pancetta or Bacon

    Add the minced pancetta

    Authentic Bolognese Sauce: Add the Meat

    Add the Meat

    Authentic Bolognese Sauce: Stir for 30 Minutes

    Stir for 30 minutes

  9. Pour in the wine and let it simmer for about 5 minutes.
  10. Authentic Bolognese Sauce: Pur in Red Wine

    Pour in the red wine and let it simmer for another 5 minutes

  11. Stir in the tomato paste or purée. If you use tomato paste, dilute it first in the chicken stock. If you use tomato purée or canned tomatoes, you don’t need chicken stock. For If you prefer canned tomatoes, use 1 1/2 cups for this recipe. Salt and pepper according to taste.
  12. Authentic Bolognese Sauce: Add the Tomato Paste or Purée

    Add the Tomato Paste or Purée

  13. Cook your authentic bolognese sauce for 90 minutes in low-medium heat, stirring occasionally. Add some water or chicken stock to compensate for the evaporated liquids.
  14. Authentic Bolognese Sauce: Cook for 90 Minutes

    Cook for 90 minutes

  15. As the last step in making real, authentic bolognese sauce, pour in the milk little by little. It’s important to use whole milk, in some Italian recipes you can even find half and half. I used cream and whole milk in 1:4 ratio. Let it come to boil once again and turn off the heat.
  16. Authentic Bolognese Sauce: Pour in the Milk

    Little milk makes it authentic bolognese sauce

Uses of Authentic Bolognese Sauce

Bolognese sauce is a perfect accompaniment to Italian pasta. You can make the favorite dish of the Emilia-Romagna region, the spaghetti alla bolognese. Just add the pasta to your authentic bolognese sauce, top it with some grated parmigiano-reggiano (parmesan) cheese and you’re ready to go. I recommend you to try it with penne, in my opinion this is better for chunky sauces. (You can read my article on Italian pasta here.) Other main form of using authentic bolognese sauce is lasagne bolognese.

This being quite a time-consuming recipe, my advise is to make as big quantity as you can. In the pictures, I made 4 times the quantities in the recipe. You can store it easily in plastic boxes or bags in your freezer, and in a few minute time you have ready to eat, fresh authentic bolognese sauce anytime you wish.

By the way, Italians do it this way. They make a very large quantity of their sauces, store it in the fridge and only use the amount they need for dinner or lunch.

Try the authentic bolognese sauce and compare to whatever you’d thought bolognese sauce was!

Homemade, Authentic Bolognese Sauce

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