This authentic recipe for Ragù alla Bolognese is well worth the hour it takes to make. You'll have plenty for a family dinner, plus extra for the freezer. |

Ragù alla Bolognese

Nico says, "This is how I make one of the most popular pasta condiments in Emilia Romagna, Italy. Since it takes a bit, I think it makes sense to prepare a good amount at a time, then store it in the freezer." 

Course Main
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 18 1/2 cup servings
Calories 155 kcal
Author Nico from Venice


  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 large white onions
  • 3 large carrots
  • 2 pounds ground meat (I used 50/50 lean beef and lean turkey sausage)
  • 1 bottle dry white wine like pinot grigio
  • 1 pound whole peeled tomatoes canned, good quality
  • q.b.* salt
  • q.b.* ground pepper


  1. To make ragù, begin taking the onions. Chop them finely with a sharp kitchen knife. Some people put them into a blender, but I prefer them coarse. Also, if preparing ragù makes you cry, then it will taste better. 

  2. Chop the carrots too and find the biggest pan in your kitchen. A big pot works too. Pour in the oil, then turn the stove on. Before the oil is too hot, begin frying the carrots and the onions until the latter assume a nice golden color. Add the ground meat and stir energetically with a wooden spoon. From now on, you need to stir periodically until we are done. 

  3. Cook for several minutes (a lid makes it quicker). You need to wait for the meat to lose its red color - no hurry here. When it's ready, uncork the white wine and pour yourself a glass, then pour the rest of it into the pan. It's better if you add it in two or three times, otherwise the ragù's temperature might drop too much. At this point, one of my favorite smells should fill the kitchen and possibly the house. 

  4. Now the wine and all the meat juices need to evaporate slowly. If you want to keep the fire quite aggressive, then don't forget to stir often. When the mix is completely dry (but before it burns!) add the tomatoes and break up into small pieces with a wooden spoon. From this moment, you may have to wait half an hour as the tomatoes need to lose some of their water. Patience pays off in this phase. When the 30 minutes have passed, wait 10 more. (It already takes a long time. 10 minutes won't change much.)   

  5. Now you should be almost ready. Such an amount of ragù needs at least 6-8 pinches of salt, but keep tasting and adding until you like it. Just a small sprinkle of pepper and it's done! 

  6. Use it as a condiment for pasta (either tagliatelle or short pasta - no spaghetti!) or just as an ingredient for lasagne alla bolognese. It can be frozen in small glass jars after it has cooled down. (Let the jars thaw naturally though -- not in a microwave!) Good luck!

Recipe Notes

*q.b. stands for quanto basta, meaning "enough" or "to taste."