Ragù Classico alla Bolognese

Classic Ragù Bolognese


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


Appears in

The Italian Regional Cookbook

The Italian Regional Cookbook

By Valentina Harris

Published 2017

  • About

A combination of several different kinds of meat, chopped with a heavy knife, is fundamental to this version of a classic pasta sauce, which uses only a tiny amount of tomato paste rather than canned tomatoes to give it sweetness and colour. Long cooking time over a very low heat is essential and this is one sauce that improves after being left for a day and then reheating. Serve it with tagliatelle for a truly authentic ragù alla Bolognese.


  • 115 g/4 oz pork loin, boned
  • 115 g/4 oz beef steak, boned (rib-eye preferably)
  • 115 g/4 oz prosciutto crudo
  • 115 g/4 oz/½ cup unsalted butter
  • 1 carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 celery stick, finely chopped
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 50 g/2 oz pancetta or streaky/fatty bacon, finely chopped
  • 25 ml/ tbsp tomato paste, diluted in 175 ml/6 fl oz/¾ cup hot water
  • up to 175 ml/6 fl oz/¾ cup hot broth or water
  • 115 g/4 oz chicken livers, trimmed and finely chopped
  • 90 ml/6 tbsp double/heavy or single/light cream
  • 1 small truffle, cleaned and thinly sliced (optional)
  • sea salt and ground black pepper
  • 300-350 g/11-12 oz tagliatelle
  • freshly grated Parmesan cheese, to serve


  1. Chop the meats together using a heavy knife until they resemble coarse minced or ground meat.

  2. Melt half the butter in a frying pan and fry the vegetables and pancetta or bacon for 5-6 minutes, stirring all the time. Add the meats and stir together to seal all over.

  3. Add the diluted tomato paste and season with salt and pepper. Stir thoroughly, then cover and leave to simmer very slowly for 2 hours, stirring frequently, until tender. Add a little hot water or broth as necessary to keep it moist.
  4. Add the chopped chicken livers to the pan and simmer for 5 minutes, then stir in the cream, and the truffle, if using.

  5. Leave the ragù to stand until required. You can, of course, use it immediately, but it does improve with standing and reheating.
  6. Cook the tagliatelle according to the packet instructions until al dente. Serve with the ragù, sprinkled with Parmesan cheese.