Pasta Bolognese

The BF and me just returned from our vacation in Italy. After needing a week or so to getting used to Amsterdam weather and life, I am back online. Vacation was so awesome! We rented a house in Noale a sleepy town near Venice. Totally recommended if you plan to head that way, btw.

Noale is a good base to use as a starting point for exploring the Venice region. We went from there to Venice of course but also Padova and a self composed day tour to Parma, Modena and Bologna. Needless to say we supplied ourselves with ham and balsamic.  Also needless to say we went to eat. In Bologna. Authentic pasta bolognese which you really shouldn’t call bolognese when you’re there.

We asked a random local if he had any tips where we could find a good pasta bolognese. Answer (read in heavy Italian accent): First of all let me be clear, you are not in Spain, Germany or some other country where you eat pasta bolognese. In Bologna it’s pasta al ragu!’I knew already, but I just really wanted to see if the reaction to asking for pasta bolognese is as authentic Italian as the dish. No disappointment here, lol.  And let’s be honest you can not go to Bologna and not have the city’s signature dish. The local was actually very nice and directed us to Tamburini.

So, on to Tamburini where a warm, whole hearted Italian welcome awaited. I almost couldn’t bare waiting for my plate. I was so curious about how it would taste, how genuine pasta bolognese al ragu is supposed to taste. How my own pasta compares to the original. So exciting. I finally got my plate. Tortellini (another Bolognese OG) al ragu. And O-M-G it was amazing.

So, inspired by a good plate whilst on vacation I have my own recipe here. I dare not call it ragu, because it just isn’ t*.  Some day I’ll be up to the challenge and if it turns out good, I’ll put it on the blog. Pinky swear.

For 2-3 people:

  • 200 gr pasta
  • 200-250 gr minced meat
  • can of peeled tomatoes
  • 1 large onion , finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, pressed
  • celery stalk, sliced
  • oregano
  • red wine
  • cup of stock
  • salt and pepper
  1. In a Dutch oven, shortly fry the onion, garlic and celery in a little butter til translucent.
  2. Add minced meat and keep frying. Add oregano and a pinch of salt and pepper.
  3. Pour in a splash of red wine before adding the tomatoes  and stock. Leave it al to simmer and boil down a cm in 15 minutes or so.
  4. In the meantime  cook pasta according to the instructions onf the package. Al dente ofcourse.
  5. Drain, divide over plates, add sauce.  Buon apetito!

* Outside of Bologna, pasta bolognese is usually some sort of tomato sauce with minced meat. Ragu, authentic ragu, is more of a concentrated meat sauce that has been simmering for hours and hours. Besides that, any dish containing the name Bologna shouldn’t per definition include spaghetti. But, it was the only pasta I had in reach so, yeah. I made an exception for myself.

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