Traditional Bolognese sauce: the Italian Ragù Bowl of Bolognese sauce with a spoon and tomatoes in the background

Traditional Bolognese sauce: the Italian Ragù


Traditional Bolognese sauce is probably the most known Italian recipe in the world. It is the classic sauce called ragù and traditionally used for lasagne, tagliatelle or polenta.

Originally from Bologna, Bolognese sauce is a real food institution, so much so that it was registered with the Italian Chamber of Commerce in 1982. Each family has its very own recipe tweaked according to family tradition or modern taste.

Below is a simple step-by-step recipe to make a delicious Bolognese with tasty ingredients that ensure a delightful, thick, and full-bodied sauce, pair it with béchamel sauce for a tasty lasagna. Add your own twist with different cuts of meat, herbs and spices to make your own family tradition.


For about 1.2Kg of Ragù, preparation time 10 minutes, cooking time 2-4 hours.

  • 1 onion
  • 1-2 stalks of celery
  • 1 carrot
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 600g chopped tomato
  • 600g minced beef
  • 1 tablespoon of tomato paste
  • spices to taste (rosemary, bay leaf and/or thyme)
  • ½ glass of wine
  • 1lt vegetable stock
  • salt and pepper


1 – In a large saucepan, cook mince beef over high heat. Add the wine along the edges of the saucepan and let it evaporate. Once the meat is cooked and the wine evaporates, place the meat in a bowl and set aside. In the same pot, add the diced onion, carrot, and celery.

2 – Brown the diced vegetables, letting them absorb the flavours left over from cooking the meat. Add half a glass of stock and the herbs (if you use rosemary, remove the woody stalks that tend to taste bitter). Once the vegetables are cooked, add the previously cooked meat, mix well, and pour in the chopped tomato.

3 – Mix all the ingredients well, fill the can of chopped tomato with water and pour into the pot with 500ml of stock. Add the tomato paste, mix, and leave to cook for about 3-4 hours, the time it takes for the sauce and the meat to mix well and create this delicious sauce—add stock as you see fit and season with salt and pepper. Once cooked, use the traditional Bolognese sauce to flavour lasagne or tagliatelle.


  • Certainly Traditional Bolognese sauce requires prolonged cooking. Not only you can prepare plenty of it but also freeze what you don’t use immediately.
  • To prepare the traditional Bolognese sauce, you can choose the meat you prefer. Try it with bacon and other pork cuts.

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