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Fri Mar 27 08:57:41 SAST 2015

Rudi's Alphabet: B is for Bolognese

Food Weekly | 23 January, 2013 13:05

Rudi Liebenberg shares his own version of the classic Italian sauce

Ragu, as it is known in Italian, is a meat-based pasta sauce traditionally served with tagliatelle. As with many recipes, it varies according to the region, with some strong interpretations of what it is and what it is not. The classic bolognese ragu is very different to the spaghetti bolognese most of us grew up with. The ingredients are simple - onion, carrots, celery, stock, wine, milk, tomato and pancetta - cooked slowly and served with a fresh pasta, such as tagliatelle or pappardelle. Spaghetti was never used - only outside Italy. Some recipes contain no garlic or herbs. Red wine can be used instead of white wine, or pork and beef mince mixed. I like to add fresh herbs at the end. This recipe contains more tomato than traditional versions.

Serves 6-8


60ml ( cup) olive oil

1-2 large onions, chopped

150g bacon, minced or chopped

2 garlic cloves, crushed

150g carrots, diced small or grated

150g celery sticks, diced small

2 bay leaves

650g beef mince

150ml dry white wine

250ml (1 cup) chicken stock

250ml (1 cup) milk

400g chopped canned tomatoes

400g fresh tomatoes, peeled and chopped

Pinch of grated nutmeg

15ml (1 tbsp) chopped fresh oregano

30ml (2 tbsp) chopped fresh parsley

30ml (2 tbsp) chopped fresh basil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

800g fresh tagliatelle

Freshly grated parmesan, to serve


Heat half the oil in a large, heavy-based pan and fry the onions and bacon until onions are soft. Add garlic and fry for a minute, then add carrot and celery and fry until soft. Add bay leaves, transfer to a bowl and set aside. Heat the remaining oil in the same pan and brown the mince (this adds flavour, but you can also just add the mince to the vegetables). Return vegetables to pan and bring to a simmer. Add wine and stir to deglaze (remove any bits sticking to the bottom). Add stock and simmer until reduced by . Add milk and reduce by . Add tomatoes and simmer until reduced by . Cover with a lid and continue cooking for 1 hour. The sauce should be thick. Add nutmeg and fresh herbs and season. Cook tagliatelle in plenty of salted boiling water until al dente and drain. Do not rinse as the sauce will not stick as well. Toss the sauce through the pasta and serve with plenty of parmesan.


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