Traditional Authentic Ragù alla Bolognese – Meat Bolognese Sauce

  • by Nonna Box March 19, 2019
  • |
  • Last Updated on August 21, 2020
Ragu alla bolognese recipe

When my grandmother was preparing the dish every Sunday in Italy, no one in the family was late for lunch! I can still remember the aroma of the ragu that was cooking all morning. In my house we strictly respected the Bolognese tradition in the making of this dish, but during the years she adapted the recipe to her taste. The recipe below if for the traditional Ragù alla Bolognese.

There are many different recipes for ragu, but the people of Bologna take it very seriously and have formed groups of chefs from the Accademia Italiana della Cucina to make sure that the original Bolognese recipe stays authentic and true the tradition.

There are strict rules, that many restaurants in the US don’t follow, like ragu is never accompanied with spaghetti.

The rich dish is also must be made with egg pasta, better if fresh pasta, and the pasta must be tossed with the ragu, not just ladled over the pasta.

Very strict, but these rules can not be broken to be called authentic Ragu alla Bolognese. I made it the traditional way and I hope you do too, and you can enjoy this authentic Bolognese dish and share it with your friends and family!

Ragu alla bolognese recipe

Traditional Authentic Ragù Bolognese

The master of the Italian sauce recipes. Bolognese sauce is one of my favorite, actually my favorite.
4.32 from 44 votes
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Course: Sauce
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 10 minutes
Servings: 6 people
Calories: 330kcal
Author: Nonna Box


  • 6 oz. ground beef
  • 6 oz. ground veal
  • 1-28 oz. can San Marzano tomatoes crushed
  • 3 oz. thinly sliced pancetta finely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 medium onions finely chopped
  • 2 carrots peeled, finely chopped
  • 2 celery stalks finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 2 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 cup whole milk


  • Finely chop the celery, carrots and onion with a kitchen knife.
  • Heat oil in a large dutch pot over medium heat.
  • Add the vegetables: celery, carrots and onion. Cook until soft, about 12 minutes stirring occasionally.
  • Add the pancetta and stir for 1 minute. Add tomato paste and cook for 1 minute.
  • Add the meats veal and beef, sauté, trying to break up the meat with the back of a spoon, stir continuously until browned, about 15 minutes.
  • Add the wine and stir until evaporates completely.
  • Scrap all the browned bit from the pot and add the San Marzano tomatoes, stir to incorporate, then add 2 1/2 cups stock and stir.
  • Reduce heat low and simmer, stirring occasionally for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
  • In a small saucepan bring milk to a simmer then slowly add to sauce.
  • Cover and simmer over low heat, stir occasionally, after 45 minutes, add 1/4 cup stock to thin if needed to thin the sauce. Taste again for salt and set aside.
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4 Responses to “Traditional Authentic Ragù alla Bolognese – Meat Bolognese Sauce”

  1. Jeff Corcoran says:

    Where did you get your meat tenderizer?

  2. Giuliana says:

    I never seem to find a good canned tomato brand. Can you share your top favorites? Hopefully I can find them at my Whole Foods. Grazie

    • Nonna Box says:

      Ciao Giuliana – there are so many brands, for San Marzano tomatoes, I would make sure that they are imported from Italy and that they have the DOP (denominazione di origine protetta) symbol. Sometimes I use passata di pomodoro, I always buy the one that is imported from Italy. Mutti is a brand I find often in grocery stores.

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