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How to make spag bol or 'Bolognese Ragu'

Printed From: The Blue Room
Category: Other Goodies
Forum Name: Food and Drink
Forum Discription: Eating in, eating out, and the best tipple to go with it.
Printed Date: 25 June 2018 at 20:32

Topic: How to make spag bol or 'Bolognese Ragu'
Posted By: Alex
Subject: How to make spag bol or 'Bolognese Ragu'
Date Posted: 18 Jan 2010 at 16:30

Italian chefs show the world how to make an authentic bolognese sauce (and you can start by forgetting the spaghetti)

'Spag bol' has become a staple recipe for students around the world because it is easy to cook and relatively cheap.

But yesterday hundreds of Italian chefs from around the world spent the day trying to rescue the reputation of what they say is now an abused export.

The country's farmers' union, Coldiretti, said that bolognese sauces were usually 'improbable concotions' of tomato paste cooked with a 'remarkable variety' of ingredients ranging from meatballs to turkey."> Enlarge   Inauthentic:%20A%20traditional%20Bolognese%20sauce%20should%20be%20made%20with%20great%20care,%20and%20served%20with%20tagliatelle%20rather%20than%20spaghetti

Inauthentic: A traditional Bolognese sauce should be made with great care, and served with tagliatelle rather than spaghetti

Experts on Italian food said that authentic bolognese sauce should not be served with spaghetti, but with tagliatelle instead.

The flat pasta should be exactly 8mm wide, making it better suited to soaking up the sauce.

In 1982, Bologna's Chamber of Commerce asked the Accademia Italiana della Cucina (the Italian Academy of Cooking), to come up with an official recipe that limited a ragù's ingredients to beef, pancetta (Italian rolled bacon), onions, carrots, celery, tomato paste, white wine, and milk.

Yesterday, 440 chefs from Italian restaurants around the world made the dish with the precise ingredients and cooking methods laid down in that 1982 recipe.

Mario Caramella, the head chef at the Bali Hyatt Hotel in Indonesia and head of the Virtual Association of Italian Chefs (GVCI), which organised the event, said: 'If there is one dish in the Italian repertoire which is cooked worst than most, it is traditional bolognese sauce.'

Alessandro Circiello, of the Italian Federation of Chefs, told Corriere della Sera newspaper: 'It is always the great classic recipes that are most mangled.'

He added that many cooks outside Italy tended to 'throw a lot of cream and butter into dishes because they cover up hidden blemishes'.

Jacob Kenedy, chef patron of London's Bocca di Lupo restaurant said: 'The version normally cooked abroad is so different to the original recipe it is better to think of it as a separate dish altogether, albeit one that has borrowed the name.

He admitted that every cook - including himself - had a different version of the dish: 'I might argue that there is no "original" at all – every housewife in Bologna has her own recipe, the right one in her eyes.

'Mine uses a mixture of veal and pork, and a little less carrot, and I add the milk all at once, early on.'

Yesterday's stunt was not the first time Coldiretti has sought to defend Italian recipes: the union has battled for 'authentic' Neapolitan pizza, pasta al pesto, cotoletta alla Milanese and the Italian dessert tiramisu.


To achieve a great result, this sauce should be made fresh every morning and served within a few hours.


Makes approx 4.4lb

  • 600g coarsely ground lean beef
  • 400g coarsely ground lean pork
  • 200g pancetta diced or chopped
  • 100g chopped onion
  • 100g carrot diced
  • 100g celery diced
  • 1kg tomato peeled (canned)
  • 300ml  dry white wine
  • 500ml fresh milk
  • 3 bay leaves
  • Black pepper and salt to taste


Cook the pancetta in a large stainless steel saucepan over a low flame until the fat is melted. Add the onion and stir until the onion is translucent.

Add the carrot, celery and bay leaves and cook until the vegetables start to soften.

Raise the flame to very high and add the ground meats, which should have been mixed and seasoned with salt and black pepper.

Stir until the meat is well-cooked.

Add the white wine and continue to cook on a high heat until all the liquid has evaporated.

Briefly pulse the peeled tomatoes in a food processor and add to the pot.

Continue cooking over a low flame for at least two hours. If it starts to look a little dry, add some beef stock.

Add some milk little-by-little, stirring and cooking over a low heat for a further hour.

Season to taste and leave to rest before serving with tagliatelle.

------------- - Big Brother 11

Posted By: Alex
Date Posted: 18 Jan 2010 at 16:33
I made chicken noodle soup just before Christmas and cut myself 5 times chopping all the carrots and chicken breasts into strips

I don't make my spag bol like that, do you?

White wine, not red?

Carrots yes

And where's the Dolmio sauce? Confused ffs! The main ingredient

If you have any EASY spag bol recipes then post them here!

------------- - Big Brother 11

Posted By: MargiABC
Date Posted: 23 Jan 2010 at 01:10
I don't make mine that way either. I use Dolmio too when I'm short of time, but I add an extra chopped onion (cooked in the pan, then brown the meat)extra crushed garlic (I love garlic) and basil. I have never added milk to mine either.

Be careful with your knife Alex. Keep your thumb behind your fingers when you are holding the food down to be chopped and press down on the food with your fingertips so your finger nails are almost 90 degrees to the food rather than laying your hand and fingers flat on the food to be cut.

Posted By: Thess
Date Posted: 23 Jan 2010 at 20:18
When hubby does a 'proper' spag bol it's yes to the beef/pork mixture, carrots and celery.  He uses red wine though.  In some areas of Italy they put in chicken livers too, which is quite nice. I think Angela Harnett's spag bol recipe uses them.

Remember, Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did, but backwards and in high heels.

Posted By: Alex
Date Posted: 01 Feb 2010 at 16:46
I knew about the chicken livers Thess!  (ooh, get me) but the smell of them raw is just Puke

Also, in case it's of interest to anyone


Waitrose does ready chopped onions! Bounce

------------- - Big Brother 11

Posted By: Bren
Date Posted: 01 Feb 2010 at 17:00
haha so does tesco and asda - asda even does chopped white ones and red ones in rings 

Posted By: James
Date Posted: 02 Feb 2010 at 15:27
Originally posted by Alex

I made chicken noodle soup just before Christmas and cut myself 5 times chopping all the carrots and chicken breasts into strips I don't make my spag bol like that, do you? White wine, not red?Carrots yesAnd where's the Dolmio sauce? Confused ffs! The main ingredientIf you have any EASY spag bol recipes then post them here!

Oh dear. Just get a couple of packets of cheap chicken flavoured noodles, cook some raw shredded chicken in the stock for 10 minutes, add a teaspoon of sesame oil, then the noodles, and when ready, throw in some chopped spring onions. I never add anything other than that to chicken noodle soup and you can't tell the difference between mine and any chinese takeaway up here.


Posted By: James
Date Posted: 02 Feb 2010 at 15:29
I'm not a fan of any of the bolognese sauces/Dolmio/Ragu or anything like that. They all taste the same IMO and I hate that taste. I usually just add red pesto and some chilli & garlic sauce to pasta. I might give this recipe a go although I've come across a brilliant blog with loads of goodies in it that I might have to try first. I'll have a look and post the best recipes.


Posted By: Thess
Date Posted: 03 Feb 2010 at 20:44

One of the best pasta recipes I ever came across was this:

1. Cook long spaghetti in plenty of salted water

2. Meanwhile, chop as much garlic as you want, plus some red chilli and gently fry in olive oil

3. When pasta done, drain then toss in the garlic and chilli oil, serve and enjoy!

Dead easy.  It doesn't sound much but the garlic and chilli pack a punch and make it really tasty

Remember, Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did, but backwards and in high heels.

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