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Aug. 1, 2021

Ragù alla Bolognese

Ragù alla Bolognese

Serves 8-10

Wood Fired Oven

Medium - heat up to about 180 - 250 Deg C


  • Pasta (taglitelle) - Make fresh.
  • 2 medium carrots, diced
  • 300 g pancetta (non-smoked)
  • 2 stalk of celery (including leaves), diced
  • 100 g unsalted butter
  • 500 g ground lean beef mince
  • 500 g pork mince
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 garlic clove, peeled
  • 2 medium onion, roughly chopped
  • 6 tbsp tomato purée
  • Touch of grated nutmeg
  • 1 cup red wine 
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • 1 cup full cream milk
  • 4 bay leaves
  • Pepper to season
  • Salt to season
  • 4 tbsp salt (pasta)
  • Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • Fresh thyme.

Large cast-iron casserole dish - with lid.
Small cazeula dish

Trim fat cap off pancetta and dice. Heat olive oil, butter and garlic clove in the cast-iron casserole dish in the wood fired oven.. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Remove garlic and then add pancetta.

Add the onion into the casserole dish with a pinch of salt to stop the onions burning. Add the carrots and celery. After the soffritto*  has softened, add the meat and use a wooden spoon to gently break up the meat. Place back in to the wood fired oven.

Once the mince is browned, add the tomato purée, grated nutmeg, and the red wine. Gently stirring.

Meanwhile, heat up the beef stock in a small cazuela dish and gently pour into the larger casserole dish. Add a pinch of salt. Then add the milk, this helps to soften the dish and give it a depth of flavour. Then, add the bay leaves.

Leave to cook in a medium zone in the wood fired oven for about 1 hour with lid on, simmering gently. Make sure you stir regularly. Remove lid for the second hour adding a little bit of water if it’s getting to dry. Once cooked, the ragù will be dark and rich in colour. Remove the bay leaves. Keep in a cooler zone of the wood fired oven until you are ready to serve.  

Cook the fresh pasta in a large stock pot on the stove, with 4 litres of water and 4 tablespoons of salt (1 tbsp of salt to one litre of water). Bolognese is best made with tagliatelle so the mince can stick onto the pasta. Don’t use spaghetti because it is too thin for the sauce to stick.

Bring the pasta to the boil with the lid on. Cook the pasta al dente, still with a bit of a bite.  

Drain the pasta but keep in the stock pot, add a spoonful of ragù to the pasta and stir through. Two tablespoons of ragù per portion of pasta is the correct ratio of pasta to ragù. It's not as much as you would think.

Serve with Parmigiano-Reggiano, fresh thyme and freshly ground cracked pepper....and of course a gorgeous glass of Montepulciano red wind.

* Sauce base used in a lot of Italian cooking