Traditional Tagliatelle Bolognese

Tagliatelle BologneseI’m proud to say that this Tagliatelle Bolognese recipe it totally authentic and delicious! It’s also a far cry from the spag-bol I grew up eating with the sauce from the jar. First and foremost, spaghetti bolognese is not a thing. The bolognese sauce needs a wider pasta to cling to like tagliatelle or pappardelle. The pasta and bolognese need to be combined too so avoid the tired old plate-full-of-pasta-with-the-sauce-blobbed-on-top look, that has now been immortalised by ascending to an emoji. It’s wrong and Italians should be very upset.

It has been a long time since I’ve served bolognese this way, or with spaghetti, or with sauce from a jar. But I was surprised to learn how little sauce was traditionally served with the pasta. There wasn’t as much meat as I would have used for this amount of pasta and no sign of the 2 tins of tomatoes I would normally use. I went ahead and trusted the writer of the recipe, Anna del Conte, not only the most renowned Italian food writer but also an actual Italian meaning there was a fair chance that she knew more than me about bolognese. I did make just a few cheeky tweaks though. Her recipe requires less pancetta but seeing as the packet it came in was 100 grams, I chucked it all in. I also added a good deal more garlic than she stated. But when it comes to regional cooking like this, I feel that there are some rules you do not break and there are other rules that you can stretch. At the end of the day, there are probably as many bolognese recipes as there are families in Bologna and none less authentic than the next.

Tagliatelle Bolognese


  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 30 g unsalted butter
  • 100 g unsmoked pancetta lardons
  • 1 onion,finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 stick of celery, finely chopped
  • 5 cloves of garlic, finely minced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 400g minced chuck steak
  • 3 tbsp tomato puree
  • 150 ml red wine
  • 150 ml chicken stock
  • 1 pinch of sea salt flakes
  • half a tsp of black pepper
  • a small grating of nutmeg
  • 450g dried tagliatelle
  • freshly grated parmesan to garnish


  1. Heat the butter and oil in a large pot. Once foaming, add the pancetta and cook over a high heat for 2 minutes, stirring continuously.
  2. Add the onion and cook for a few minutes until beginning to soften.
  3. Add the carrot, celery, garlic and bay leaves, turn the heat down to medium and allow to cook for 10 minutes stirring frequently.
  4. Add the beef, turn the heat up to high and try to break up the mince as best you can with a wooden spoon.
  5. After a few minutes mix in the tomato puree and cook for another 2 minutes.
  6. Add the wine and cook until it has evaporated off.
  7. Remove the bay leaves and add the chicken stock. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg and mix it in well.
  8. Turn the heat down to low and allow to simmer, uncovered for 2 hours, stirring occasionally.
  9. Once it's cooked, take it off the heat, bring a large pot of salted water to the boil and add your pasta. Cook according to packet instructions.
  10. Once cooked, strain it and mix it into the bolognese, making sure each strand of tagliatelle is lightly coated in the sauce.
  11. Serve at the table and pass around a wedge of parmesan for everyone to grate over their plates.
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