Bolognese Babble. Time always permits for a good Ragu

Orecchiette Bolognese

Orecchiette Bolognese

Making a rich red, meaty, flavourful traditional Bolognese Ragu takes a good few hours. However it is possible for all working families to prepare a quick batch on a weeknight to serve to the family within an hour. Yes 1 hour..everything in the kitchen is possible in an hour if you put your mind to it. Prepping ingredients the night before is always a time saver. Do as the French say “Mise en Place”

The traditional Ragu Bolognese originated from Bologna, Italia in the 18th century. Hence the name. Ahhh yes Bologna..I vaguly remember that visit 😉  No blog post or pics to follow..

The traditional way to serve Ragu is over a homemade plate of Tagliatelle but i must admit i prefer mine with Penne Lisce or other medium cut pastas. Again that’s my preference.

Many chefs have their own special technique or should I say twist on the process. Because Ragu making is exactly that, a process. Every chef believes their way is the “original authentic” recipe.  A chef I once worked for said “A true Bolognese should not be a thin based tomato sauce with meat YET a thick meat based sauce with tomato”  So think meat!!

Now these days hours to dedicate to a pasta sauce may not be in your schedule. That doesn’t mean you cannot whip up a quick batch of Bolognese for your weeknight family dinner. One should never sacrifice good food for your belly!

I needed to make a small batch so I used only 1/2 the package of ground beef I had bought. Leftovers are fine if they will be eaten quickly. Another option is to part out and freeze. But I didn’t want leftovers and I needed to have it made within a reasonable time. Ragu Bolognese is also a perfect way to hide vegetables from children. I’ve added diced mushrooms, zucchini, peppers to my basic recipe for picky children. Once the vegetables are diced, sautéed with beef and tomatoes poured over a pasta cut of their choice, they really can’t tell the difference. The trick is to ask them what “shape” of pasta do they want to eat. It worked for me tonight. I had my friends child with me who only eats spaghetti and swore to me thats all he eats. After running through my pantry he chose Orecchiette.



A southern cut from Puglia. Southern pasta met Northern Ragu in my kitchen. As I explained the meaning behind the little ear shaped pasta he became excited. Explain the history and meaning behind food to a child and they can be swayed..

Alrighty, enough Babble on the Bolognese

 Basic Bolognese Ragu

1/2 cup Pancetta

1 Carrot

1 small yellow Onion

1 celery stalk

sprig of fresh rosemary

1 Bay leaf

2 crushed garlic cloves

splash of Olive Oil

350 gram ground beef

1/2 cup red wine

500 ml  tomato purée

handful of fresh basil leaves

handful of fresh parsley

salt, ground pepper

Small dice the carrot, onion, celery and set aside.

In a medium saucepan sauté the pancetta until fat becomes translucent. Add the carrots, onions, celery, bay leaf, rosemary and sauté until tender. Add a splash of olive oil should there not be enough fat released from the pancetta. Continue by adding the ground beef and crushed garlic. Stir breaking the meat up into small pieces. Add the red wine and continue to stir and sauté over high heat. Do not boil the meat in the wine. You want all ingredients to sauté absorbing all flavours creating a rich meaty flavour. Season with Salt and ground pepper.

1/2 way there..

1/2 way there..

Once the ground beef is fully cooked add the tomato purée. Season with Salt and ground pepper.

Finely chop the parsley. Basil I tend to Chiffonade as I enjoy the longer strands of this fresh herb.

Add both herbs to the Ragu and continue cooking for aprx 1/2 hour. In total this quick weeknight Ragu should not take more than an hour. Personally I tend to be a sergeant in the kitchen so I apologize now if an extra 1/2 hour is needed. 🙂

Bolognese Ragu

Bolognese Ragu

I assure you if plenty of fresh rosemary, basil, parsley and the Bay leaf are used you will have a flavourful Ragu.  Additional dry seasoning are not needed. I’m not a huge fan of dry seasonings if I can avoid them then I do.

This will serve about 4 large appetites

Buon Appetito 😉

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