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Grana Padano


Tagliatelle with ragù Bolognese sauce, Tagliatelle al Ragù alla Bolognese by Mario Caramella


Mario Caramella

In Italy, there are several traditional recipes of Tagliatelle al ragù alla Bolognese with more or less slight variations and far too many individual interpretations of it. This recipe has been tailored mainly for all those non Italian chefs who aim at serving this traditional Italian dish abroad in a correct and professional way. The recipe however may be useful also to the many Italian chefs in Italy, as well as abroad, who are just as confused about it. It takes into account the basics of the various streams of the Italian tradition as well as the experience of many talented chefs, including many GVCI associates. I hope it will give you a clear direction and help you achieve a good result.

Mario Caramella


Ingredients per person

100 gm dry, egg dough tagliatelle
200 gm Bolognese ragù (see recipe ahead)
Grana Padano or Parmigiano Reggiano cheese freshly grated


  • Cook the pasta in salted boiling water, strain when al dente, and place it in a hot pasta bowl or plate
  • Bring the sauce to boil and if too thick add little water from the pasta
  • Spoon the hot sauce over the steaming and fragrant tagliatelle and serve with the freshly grated cheese on the side
  • Put a spoon and a fork so the guests can mix their own pasta and put the right amount of grated cheese. This is the real and better way to enjoy this dish. The alternative is to sauté the pasta and the sauce in the kitchen and then serve it.
  • Do not decorate with basil leaves or chopped parsley, or even more gross with garlic bread on the side

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Bolognese ragù sauce


To achieve a great result, this sauce should be made fresh every morning and be served within a few hours or the same day

Ingredients for 2 kg (approx) of Bolognese Ragù

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


  • Place the pancetta in a thick base large stainless steal saucepot (cm30x20) stir and cook over low flame until the fat is melted, add the onion and keep stirring until the onion is translucent
  • Add the carrot and celery and the bay leaves and keep cooking until the vegetables start to soften and get some colour,
  • Raise the flame to very high and add the ground meats,  previously mixed  and seasoned with salt and black pepper and mixed well, by hand ( wearing gloves!)
  • Keep cooking and stirring with a wooden spoon until the meat is well done
  • Pour in the white wine and keep cooking until the wine has evaporated
  • Process briefly the peeled tomatoes in the food mill and add to the pot and continue cooking slowly over a low flame for at least  2 hours, if it becomes too dry add some beef stock
  • Add some milk and some chicken stock, stir and leave to slow boiling at low flame
  • Keep going with the milk and the stock for 60 minutes at low flame
  • Season to taste and leave to rest


The traditional pasta that goes with Bolognese sauce are the tagliatelle, serving spaghetti with Bolognese sauce is actually a sign of mediocrity in the understanding of Italian cuisine


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For the dough

1 kg pasta flour
8 whole fresh eggs


  • Mix the flour and the eggs by hand or in the planetary mixing machine
  • Cover and leave the dough to rest in a cool place for 2 hours
  • Roll out the dough, with a rolling pin if you have the know-how, or use the pasta machine, cut the tagliatelle with a knife or by using a proper cutter
  • Arrange in a traditional nest shape and leave to dry


If you do not have the right flour, the know-how, the right environment, do not make your own pasta!!! You’d better use an Italian industrial product, which is actually good and will give you good results and a consistent standard. Please do not pre-cook the pasta and do keep it always al dente!!! so many times we read on menus the very proud statement ,  “home made pasta” and than we are served mediocre, broken, overcooked and tasteless pasta, made with the wrong flour and dried in the wrong environment; generally the result of hard exercise that should have been avoided. Also, avoid those fresh, locally made, gourmet pasta products that are usually very average and made by incompetents!


Ragù all Bolognese by the Simili Sisters

Ragù alla Bolognese



25 g butter
50 g pancetta or prosciutto di Parma, chopped
500 g beef, ground (scanello or cartella)
500 g tomatoes, peeled and pureed
2 spoons of onion, chopped
2 spoons of celery, chopped
2 spoons carrot, chopped
1 chicken liver, chopped
1/ cup white wine, dry
2 cups milk
2 cups of broth
Salt, pepper, a hint of nutmeg, 2 spoons oil


  • Chop the vegetables separately.
  • Chop the pancetta.
  • Prepare the chicken liver. Clean it well. Be sure to remove the slightest trace of green bile, because if not the chicken liver will be very bitter. Don’t chop it but rather crush it with the blade of a knife and separate the nerve fibres from the pieces of flesh and, once done completely, chop the pieces with a knife alone. This should be carried out with care, because if nerve fibres stay attached to the liver, it will not amalgamate well with the other ingredients and so its flavour will be too strong.
  • Have the wine within reach.
  • Have the milk close to the stovetop.
  • Place the tomato and broth in a saucepan on a low flame.
  • Place the butter and the oil in the pan, then immediately add the onion.
  • Sauté the onion slowly, stirring continuously.
  • At first the fats become milky and the aroma very harsh due to the presence of the vegetable effluents of the onion.
  • As soon as this temperament has been absorbed, the fats will once again clarify and the aroma sweeten. At this point, and not a moment before, add the celery and a minute later the carrot. If the three vegetables were sautéed together, the other two would absorb the juice of the onion, the flavour of which is so intense that it would hide the more delicate flavours of the celery and the carrot thus turning the three into onion.
  • As soon as this base is ready, add the pancetta and let it sauté a minute.
  • So now it’s the chicken liver’s turn. Free the centre of the pan by moving all the vegetables to the edge. Chicken liver coagulates immediately and it would cling to any ingredient in its vicinity and impart its flavour to it, which would become too intense. Therefore, place the chicken liver in the middle of the pan alone, continuously flattening and stirring it until it completely changes colour, which shows that it has cooked. Then and only then, bring the vegetables back to the middle of the pan and stir everything together for a moment.
  • And next, the beef – a delicate moment. In order to avoid turning the beef into, for all intents and purposes, broth, a few seconds after having added the other ingredients, proceed in the following manner: bring the flame to the maximum and after a moment add a third of the beef by flaking it into the pan, then with a wooden spatula, flattening and turning it over continuously while leaving the bottom of the pan partially uncovered in order that the moisture that forms will evaporate rather than turn into liquid. As soon as this part of the beef has changed its colour partially, free the middle of the pan again and add, flake and mix another third of the beef as with the first third and then, once again in the middle, add the last third.
  • Once all the beef is sautéed, add a first part of the wine, not by pouring it onto the beef but rather around the edge of the pan because cold ingredients should not be poured upon the bubbling hot beef. This way, when the wine arrives to the beef, it will certainly already be heated. Don’t pour in all the wine in one dose; let it evaporate over two or three doses. The wine will have completely evaporated, not when you see it disappear as liquid from the pan but rather when you can’t detect its aroma any more.
  • At this point add the hot milk in two or three doses and let it be absorbed until it has formed a nice cream.
  • Pepper and salt.
  • Transfer the concoction to a smaller and higher pot in order to avoid that it evaporates too quickly while cooking.
  • Add the hot tomato and broth; adjust the flame to hold the ragù at a simmer for around two hours while stirring often.

The Classic Bolognese Ragù according the Accademia Italiana della Cucina

Ragù alla Bolognese

With a solemn decree of the Accademia Italiana della Cucina – the Italian Academy of Cuisine, the present was notarized and deposited in the Palazzo della Mercanzia, the Chamber of Commerce of the City of Bologna on the 17th of October 1982.


300 gr. beef cartella (thin skirt)
150 gr. pancetta, dried
50 gr. carrot
50 gr. celery stalk
50 gr. onion
5 spoons tomato sauce or 20 gr. triple tomato extract
1 cup whole milk
Half cup white or red wine, dry and not frizzante
Salt and pepper, to taste.


The pancetta, cut into little cubes and chopped with a mezzaluna chopping knife, is melted in a saucepan; the vegetables, once again well chopped with the mezzaluna, are then added and everything is left to stew softly. Next the ground beef is added and is left on the stovetop, while being stirred constantly, until it sputters. The wine and the tomato cut with a little broth are added and everything left to simmer for around two hours, adding little by little the milk and adjusting the salt and black pepper. Optional but advisable is the addition of the panna di cottura of a litre of whole milk at the end of the cooking.


Spaghetti alla carbonara: an authentic recipe


Ingredients to serve one portion

60 to 80gm spaghetti freshly cooked al dente
1 tablespoon Extra virgin olive oil
30gm flat pancetta or guanciale
1 or 2 eggs
25 gm freshly grated Pecorino Romano and/or aged Italian Grana Cheese (Grana Padano or Parmigiano Reggiano)
freshly grounded black pepper



  • Mix the beaten egg with grated cheese and grounded black pepper
  • Slice the pancetta 7 to 10 mm thick and cut in 2 cm rectangular bites
  • Slowly fry the pancetta in the extra virgin olive oil in a non stick pan until crispy. If the pancetta has enough fat you will not need to add oil
  • Add the spaghetti with some of the cooking water, do not fry the spaghetti but rather just let it absorb the flavour of the pancetta
  • Simmer gently until the water is almost gone
  • Remove the pan from the stove
  • Add the egg, cheese and pepper mixture to the pasta and stir quickly making sure the egg does not overcook but remains creamy. It shouldn’t pass the 70-72 C˚ (158-162 F˚) temperature, which is the point at which its coagulation starts
  • Place in a hot pasta bowl
  • Season with grounded black pepper
  • Serve immediately
  • Offer more black pepper and more grated cheese at the table

1. You cannot make a Carbonara with pre-cooked pasta
2. Cream is not an option but a gimmick, avoid it
3. If you like, you can mix the two cheeses
4. Timing is important when you serve this dish
5. Make sure the plate or bowl is hot
6. Do not overcook the egg, otherwise you will make spaghetti with scrambled egg.

To know more about Carbonara ingredients.
To know about the history of the dish.