National Dish
Ragu alla Bolognese, also known simply as Bolognese, is recognized as the national dish of Italy, and enjoys wide popularity by Italians, both domestically and abroad. Ragu alla Bolognese is a meat sauce prepared by sweating, braising and sautéing its ingredients, which include meat (pork, beef or veal), onion, carrot, pancetta and butter. The cuisine has its origins in Bologna, Italy, the city from which the meal gets its name.

Dish History

Although the meal has been enjoyed in Italy for over a century, Bolognese's oldest written record was an 18th-century recipe found in Imola, a town near the city of Bologna. Pellegrino Artusi, renowned 19th Century Italian chef, was credited with writing a recipe for gravy in his 1891 publication. Artusi named the gravy “Maccheroni alla bolognese,” believed to have meant the origin of the gravy. in Bologna. In his book, Artusi states that the main ingredients in bolognese preparation were lean veal fillet, butter, carrot, onion and pancetta. These ingredients were cooked with butter and then with broth.

Authentic Bolognese Ragu Alla

Authentic Ragu alla Bolognese prepared in Bologna should be served with tagliatelle, which is a pasta made from soft wheat flour and eggs. If tagliatelle is not available, certain types of pasta may be used as alternatives, including fettuccine, rigatoni, pappardelle and penne. However, the use of the most popular pasta, spaghetti, as the accompanying meal with Ragu alla Bolognese is discouraged by the Bologna traditionalists. Italian chefs are known to use Ragu alla Bolognese along with béchamel in the preparation of lasagna, which is traditionally baked in the local Bolognese style.


In addition to the authentic Ragu alla Bolognese prepared by traditionalists in Bologna, the meal is also prepared in other distinct variations throughout Italy. Cooking has evolved over the years since chef Pellegrino Artusi wrote his famous recipe in the late 19th century. For example, in recent years tomato puree or tomato paste has become an essential ingredient in dish preparation, which was absent in the traditional preparation of Ragu alla Bolognese. Another variation is the use of beef as the main ingredient in kitchen preparation, which replaced lean veal among modern Bolognese chefs. Other contemporary chefs use pork instead of lean veal. The other significant change in traditional dish preparation is the addition of milk and white wine. In recent years, the use of spaghetti as a tagliatelle substitute has been adopted by contemporary chefs in Italy, and the dish is known as spaghetti bolognese.

Standardized Recipe

Ragu alla Bolognese is different from other kitchens in Italy, mainly because its method of preparation involves various processes including roasting, sweating and braising. This long process is prone to changes by professional chefs or home cooks to suit your preferences, such as changing ingredients (using pork or beef instead of veal) or the process, which has led to the development of many different recipes. of the plate. However, most Italian chefs recognize the recipe published and registered by the Accademia Italiana Della Cucina in 1982 as the most authentic recipe in existence.