The Washington Post

Ragu Alla Bolognese

Ragu Alla Bolognese 6.000

Tom McCorkle for The Washington Post; food styling by Lisa Cherkasky for The Washington Post

Mar 8, 2019

You may be tempted to cut down on the browning time for the meat. Don’t give in. Slow, gentle browning is what gives this iconic ragu its depth.

Egg or spinach tagliatelle; or wide noodles such as pappardelle are good pasta choices for this sauce.

Make Ahead: This sauce, like all ragus, benefits from an overnight rest in the refrigerator. Let it cool to room temperature, then transfer it to a container with a tight-fitting lid. It can be refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 3 months.

Where to Buy: Mortadella is available at Italian delis and at some Trader Joe's stores.

6 - 12

When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 6-12 servings; makes 6 cups; enough for 2 pounds of pasta

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large carrot, scrubbed well and finely chopped
  • 1 celery rib, finely chopped, including any leaves attached
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons plain tomato paste
  • 2 cups beef broth, preferably homemade
  • 1 cup plain tomato sauce or puree (passata, such as Pomi brand)
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 ounces mortadella, cut into thin strips (julienne; see headnote)


Heat the butter and oil in a large Dutch oven or other heavy pot over medium heat. Once the melted butter begins to sizzle, stir in the carrot, celery and onion. Reduce the heat to medium-low; cook for 15 minutes, stirring often, or until the vegetables are soft and golden.

Mix in the beef and pork, using a wooden spoon or spatula to break up the large pieces of meat. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring often, until the meat has turned a rich brown color and is crumbly but still tender. This will take longer than you think -- about 1 hour.

Once the meat is ready, increase the heat to medium-high; add the wine and stir for a minute or two until it is absorbed. Return the heat to medium-low and season with the salt and nutmeg. Stir in the milk; cook for about 3 minutes, gently, until it has been mostly absorbed.

Dilute the tomato paste in 1 cup of the broth, and then add it to the pot. Stir in the tomato puree. Partially cover, reduce the heat to low and let the sauce cook ever so gently for 2 hours, until it is dense and brick-colored.

Stir in the remaining cup of broth; cook for an additional hour or so, until the sauce has thickened again and all the vegetables have more or less melted into it.

Stir in the cream and mortadella; cover partially and cook (low heat) for about 20 minutes, until the cream has been completely absorbed and the sauce is once again a rich brick color.

Recipe Source

From cookbook author Domenica Marchetti.

Tested by Domenica Marchetti and Sharon Hageman.

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Nutritional Facts

Calories per serving (based on 12): 320

% Daily Values*

Total Fat: 24g 37%

Saturated Fat: 10g 50%

Cholesterol: 75mg 25%

Sodium: 480mg 20%

Total Carbohydrates: 6g 2%

Dietary Fiber: 0g 0%

Sugar: 3g

Protein: 16g

*Percent Daily Value based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Total Fat: Less than 65g

Saturated Fat: Less than 20g

Cholesterol: Less than 300mg

Sodium: Less than 2,400mg

Total Carbohydrates: 300g

Dietary Fiber: 25g

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