Here is for you the ultimate guide to making the real, Italian ragù alla Bolognese sauce with some useful tips from a great cook from Bologna, all the ingredients you need, some photos and the perfect wine to match!
Ingredients for the perfect bolognese sauce
- 500 grams of ground beef
- 500 grams of ground pork
- 1 yellow onion
- 1 carrot
- 1 celery
- 300 ml of tomato sauce
- 25 grams of butter
- 40 grams of olive oil
- 1 bay leaf (optional)
- 60 grams of milk
- 60 grams of red wine
- 80 grams of meat broth
- Salt and pepper
How to make the perfect bolognese sauce recipe
Finely chop all the vegetables for the soffritto and then let them cook over low heat in oil and butter.
When the onion is golden browned, put in all the meat, mix and stir until the meat is perfectly browned too.
Season with salt and pepper, add the tomato sauce, the milk and the broth and let it gently cook for three hours.
Just remember to stir from time to time so it does not stick.
Jo’s advises for a glorious ragù
Please, never ever cut the vegetables with the mixer, the blades, heating up, alter the taste of the food, better to cut all the old fashioned way: a simple knife will do the job. And what about milk in the bolognese sauce (ragù)? Well, there are two school of thought, and you have to try both to find out which recipe best suits your taste. I have been using it since I started cooking, because it takes away the acidity of the tomatoes and make the ragù much more creamy and thick.
What else could we say about bolognese sauce? Nothing special, the only real secret to make a perfect bolognese sauce is the cooking: must be extremely slow, the meat and all the other ingredients must have the time to blend, becoming a whole, dense perfectly melted thing. Bolognese sauce is a muy sabrosa supernova waiting to explode. Clearly it’s not everyday food, because is all but fat free, but remember that a great ragù is a suggestion, not a burden.
There are some variations involving ham, bacon or sausages, or some other made only of ham, above all in Romagna. To be clear: they are great ragù, every region has its own ragù and this is the beauty of the Italian cuisine, but the real ragù bolognese recipe is this one. Simple, but stunning: it was one of the first recipe I learned, from a veteran cook of here in Bologna, as soon as I arrived in Italy and I still love it now, because it’s a symbol of the noble tradition of the Bologna’s cuisine.
Which wine should we pair with bolognese sauce?
If we are dealing with a dish like spaghetti bolognese and tagliatelle with ragù, choose a young, cutting wine, not too structured, but rather with a salty freshness able to cut the rainbow of fatty textures. Spices and pepper are welcome, but you don’t need a load of them, better to add a hint of herbs to contrast the thick sweetness that tomatoes and milk bring into the ragù. Suggested wines: Gutturnio, Lacrima di Morro, Pinot Nero dell’Oltrepò Pavese, Ruchè di Castagnole Monferrato, Ormeasco di Pornassio, Lambrusco Grasparossa if you want to put some fizz in.
And the best lasagna wine is…
If we have to find a buddy for a more sophisticated lasagna al forno, where we could sink in a pool of besciamella (bèchamel), it would be wise to bet on the vigorous tannin of Sangiovese di Romagna, Rossese di Dolceacqua, Boca, Raboso Piave, Aglianico del Taburno rosso riserva, or a always vigorous Cesanese di Affile