Il Ragu alla Bolognese

Slow-Cooked Bolognese Sauce

This slow-cooked sauce is a very long way from the ground beef and canned tomato version that we have somehow grown to know by the same name! Note the quantity of tomato paste used in comparison to the huge quantity of meat. Incidentally, to achieve the right texture, it is essential to chop the meat by hand and not in a food processor.


  • 4 oz pork loin, boned
  • 4 oz beef steak, boned
  • 4 oz prosciutto crudo
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 carrot, chopped fine
  • 1 celery stalk, finely chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped fine
  • 2 oz pancetta or bacon, chopped fine
  • 1 heaping tablespoon tomato paste diluted with 1 glass hot water
  • ladles hot broth or water
  • 4 oz chicken livers, washed, trimmed, and chopped fine
  • 6 tablespoons heavy or light cream
  • 1 small truffle, cleaned and sliced thin, optional
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 14 oz tagliatelle or other fresh pasta of your choice


  1. Using a heavy cook’s knife, finely chop the pork loin, beef, steak, and prosciutto crudo.
  2. Melt half the butter in a large skillet. Add the carrot, celery, onion, and pancetta or bacon and fry for 5 to 6 minutes, stirring. Add the chopped meats and stir together to seal all over.
  3. Add the diluted tomato paste. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir thoroughly, cover, and allow to simmer as slowly as possible for about 3 hours. Make sure it does not dry out.
  4. Stir frequently and keep adding a little hot broth or water. After about 3 hours, when all the meat is tender, add the chopped chicken livers and simmer for an additional 5 minutes.
  5. Stir in the cream and the truffle, if using. Allow to stand until required or use immediately. It is best made a day or so ahead and reheated gently at the last moment. Serve with freshly cooked tagliatelle.