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Spaghetti Bolognese DOES NOT EXIST in Italy

Instead, here is the delicious real version...

I guess many people will be shocked to find out that the most "Italian" of all Italian recipes: Spaghetti Bolognese isn't even Italian - let alone "Bolognese". In fact you won't find this dish in any self-respecting restaurant, home or even office canteen in Bologna. In Italy, it goes the way of Pasta Alfredo or Hawaiian Pizza - out the door never to be invited back. 

So what do the good folks of Bologna eat instead?

Well, they've a far better alternative called Tagliatelle alla Bolognese. It is absolutely wonderful.

Once you've tried it I bet you'll banish Spaghetti Bolognese from your table forever.

Authentic Italian Tagliatelle Bolognese

Tagliatelle alla Bolognese


  • 450 grams/1 pound of egg tagliatelle (fresh is best if you can find it)
  • 7 oz/200 g ground/minced beef
  • 7 oz/200 g ground/minced pork
  • 2 cups tomato paste (passata di pomodoro)
  • 1 stick of celery - thinly diced
  • 1 thinly diced carrot
  • 1 finely chopped onion
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • pinch of sea salt to taste
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine.
  • 5 basil leaves.
  • Grana Padano cheese for serving (use as per your taste - I like lots)

Cooking Instructions

For the ragù (Sauce)

The Bolognese sauce is best prepared the day before and left overnight to allow the tastes to infuse. 

  • In a large, thick-bottomed, pot heat the olive oil.
  • Add in the onion and let them brown;
  • next the carrots,
  • then the celery and basil.
  • Allow to cook, with the lid on, for five minutes.
  • Add in the mince,
  • once the mince has begun to dry out add in the wine.
  • When the wine evaporates, pour in the tomato sauce.
  • Salt to taste. 
  • Cover and cook on a low heat for at least two hours and stir regularly with a wooden spoon.
  • The aroma is wonderful, so family members are likely to want a taste... chase them away with the wooden spoon.

For the Pasta

  • Boil water in a pot.
  • Once boiling add coarse salt.
  • Cook for a few minutes less than the packet says or, if fresh, until the pasta floats to the surface.
  • Drain and mix with the sauce in the sauce pot for a minute.

Serve with the grated cheese (Grana Padano or Parmigiano Reggiano).

Print Recipe

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