Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Traditional Bolognese

Before any Italian Grandmothers come looking for me, wooden spoon in hand, I know traditional bolognese (ragu) is not served on spaghetti.Please forgive me but it was the only pasta I had in the house, and honestly have only made pasta from scratch once.
UH OH!!! Oh they really gonna be mad at me

When my family says they want spaghetti I automatically know they are wanting spaghetti topped with meat sauce.Spaghetti is actually just the name of the shape of the pasta like rigatoni or fettuccine.

Italian cuisine can be very different depending on the region of Italy you are in, and bolognese get's it name from Bologna Italy. 
Traditional bolognese is normally served with a wide pasta or a tube pasta that holds the meat sauce better than spaghetti does.
You can find recipes for spaghetti bolognese but the recipe I have posted is for the traditional bolognese and I do recommend using a wider noodle like fettuccine or pappardelle.If these cant be found a tube pasta like rigatoni or penne holds this bolognese very well.

Since I dont have an Italian bone in my body (that I know of) I wont try to sit here and act like I know everything about this fabulous culture and it's cuisine, but I will share the recipe I have been using many years for Authentic Italian Bolognese.
Depending on how your Italian grandma made it, it could differ in spices a bit, sounds kind of like the BBQ sauce battles around here. Yup I am LOL because they do get into some battles over sauce in these parts.
I myself have been know to change some of the spices up depending on what I have on hand.

The picture you see posted used the basic recipe I am posting but also had some added veggies like spinach, lots of shredded carrot and I incorporate ground pork with the beef, so if you make the traditional recipe and it does not look exactly like my picture, no worries...Just taste it after it has simmered at bit.You are going to love it.

This isn't one of those quick recipes, it's one of those dishes you put real love into, then sit back, let it simmer, and when the family comes home, the smiles appear and mouths start to drool.

Jodies Kitchen Traditional Bolognese Sauce
makes about 2 & 1/2 cups
3 tablespoons oil
1/4 pound chopped smoked ham (prosciutto) or substitute with smoked pork jowl
1 onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, finely chopped
1 small carrot, finely chopped
1 small garlic clove, finely chopped
1/2 pound lean beef, coarsely ground
1 ounce dried mushrooms, softened in warm water 10 minutes, and chopped (substitute with 1/8 pound fresh mushrooms)
1/3 cup dry red wine
1 teaspoon chopped flat leaf parsley
1 teaspoon chopped marjoram (substitute with 1/4 teaspoon dry)
Pinch of nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 pound tomatoes, peeled, seeded,drained,and chopped (substitute with 1& 1/2 cups Italian style plums tomatoes,drained)

In a large heavy bottom pot, fry ham lightly in 2 tablespoons of the oil.When golden in color add onion,celery,carrot,and garlic; continue cooking until veggies are soft (about 12 minutes). Remove from pot.Add the other 1 tablespoon of oil
and brown chopped beef.Make sure to separate meat in small bits while browning with a fork or wooden spoon.When meat is well seared, add mushrooms and cook for 5 minutes.Add wine and cook for 5 minutes more, scraping the bottom of pan.Add parsley, marjoram, nutmeg, salt, pepper and sugar.Cook until wine has completely evaporated.Add the tomatoes and the previously cooked ham and vegetables.Bring everything to a boil then turn down and simmer 2 to 3 hours, until the desired consistency is reached.Don't forget to sir every so often and add a little water during the simmering process if needed until desired thickness is reached.


  1. Heck, spaghetti is my favorite pasta love! This bolognese looks mouth watering!!

    1. We do too Did, I was actually going to have some for breakfast this morning with eggs and bacon this morning, but forgot because I had this the other day I hadn't replaced my noodles...LOL I have lost my noodle!



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