May 2, 2020

Bolognese or "Bolognaise" ragu’

In Bologna, we call our meat sauce simply ragu’. There is no need to add "Bolognese" to its name since we ARE in Bologna (its important to add the name when outside of Bologna to distinguish it from other types of ragu')

Tagliatelle al ragu' . photo belongs to Taste of Italy BolopgnaEver wonder what the difference is between a Ragu' and Sauce? You might think that they are one and the same since they all go with pasta. But there are some important differences.

"Sugo" or sauce is a general term that indicates a fluid sauce. It can be a simple tomato sauce like a marinara or can include whole plum tomatoes and some other ingredients, cut small.


A ragu' is thick and chunky usually made by cooking several kinds of meat in a sauce, usually tomato. That said, a ragu' can also made with seafood, vegetables or a combination of these.  


The Bolognese ragu' is made with ground meat cooked with vegetables and a small amount of concentrated tomato, added for color. This ragu' is less fluid, hardly tomatoey - its really all about the meat!

Our ragu’ is never served with spaghetti as the small bits of meat would fall off the strands. If you’ve ever had spaghetti with a chunky sauce you probably remember eating most of the spaghetti first and at the bottom of the bowl, you had your ragu’. Ragu' and pasta are supposed to be consumed together, a bit of meat in every bite. 

So you want to choose a pasta shape that has enough surface so that you can eat the ragu’ with the pastaIn Bologna the ragu’ is typically served with flat wide egg dough noodles called tagliatelle and you will find this dish on menus as tagliatelle al ragu’. One can also find this ragu’ served with garganelli or farfalle (bowties); in fact the surface of both these shapes are ideal to carry the meat sauce. Check my posts on Instagram and Facebook to learn how to shape garganelli & bowties.

We prefer our ragu’ with egg dough noodles but non- Bolognese will also serve it with hard wheat pasta such as ziti, penne, etc. Remember you need a large enough surface that can carry those bits of meat and vegetables!

To learn more about the complex world of saying that there is ONE version of a Bolognese ragu', be sure to read www.tinastable.com May 1st excellent post about Bolognese ragu. 


Buon appetito!