Ragu Bolognese with Pappardelle

I can’t believe it’s already August! July was packed with so many events that I took the entire month off from blogging (not from cooking though). I still haven’t finished the wedding thank you’s, and there is still plenty of work to be done around the house, but that’s always the case. Looking back at what I’ve cooked these past few weeks, I’ve realized that even in the dead of summer, my husband and I can’t get enough of our pasta. I thought to myself, oh I need to change my diet, but you know what…I’ve decided to just go with it. I like pasta…I eat carbs…I complain I need to exercise more…it’s an endless cycle, but I’m happy. That’s what matters right?

So…ragu is what exactly? Ragu is meat-based sauce. It’s made in a variety of ways, and everyone interprets it differently, but where you’re from is also a factor. I’m not usually into meat sauce, but I decided to whip out my Molto Italiano cookbook, by Mario Batali, which looks like it was used to make about 25 ransom notes (when I ordered this pre-used book from Amazon, they sent it to me with a pages cut out, words cut out…it was a mess!). There was Ragu Bolognese. I read on to discover that while ragu is interpreted differently  throughout Italy, Bolognese is the way it’s made in Bologna. Even there people argue about the right way to make it. It’s agreed that Bolognese is usually comprised of a variety of different types of meat, and milk is a key ingredient. What’s interesting is that tomatoes are not actually necessary. Prosciutto or pancetta (or both) is usually incorporated, as well as the traditional trifecta of vegetables: celery, carrots, and onion. I followed the recipe almost to a tee, and the results were life-changing. I will definitely be making Ragu Bolognese on a regular basis. The vegetables really come through in the sauce, and it’s not smothered in tomato sauce, which I feel is typical of a lot of Italian-American interpretations. Here I’ve paired it with pappardelle, but I’ve also made this with orecchiette—both yummy. Use this ragu in lasagna or over rice. You can even use it to stuff zucchinis or peppers. Please feel free to use any collection of meats in your Ragu Bolognese. You can even buy the meatloaf blend of ground meat (pork, beef, and veal) in the supermarket!

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Ragu Bolognese with Pappardelle
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4-6
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • ¼ cup carrots, diced (about 1 carrot or 5 baby carrots)
  • 2 ribs celery, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, diced
  • 4 oz prosciutto, diced
  • ½ pound ground pork
  • ½ pound lean ground beef
  • ½ cup white wine
  • ½ cup whole milk (or any combination of cream, light milk, half and half, etc)
  • 15 ounces of tomato puree
  • ½ tsp of fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1 pound of pappardelle, fresh or dried
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper
  1. Coat a large saute pan with extra-virgin olive oil. On medium heat, saute onions, carrots, celery and garlic until softened but not browned.
  2. Turn the heat up to high, and add beef and prosciutto. Stirring occasionally, saute until browned.
  3. Add white wine, milk, tomato puree, and thyme, making sure to scrape the bits off the bottom of the pan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer covered for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Taste and adjust seasoning.
  4. While simmering, bring a large pot of water to a boil, then season with salt generously. Right before the sauce is ready, add the pappardelle, and cook according to package.
  5. Transfer the cooked pappardelle to the sauce and toss to coat. Serve it up!


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4 Responses to Ragu Bolognese with Pappardelle

  1. Anney says:

    YUM Pappardelle is currently my favorite pasta shape, especially fresh! This looks amazing, Tanya. will have to try it

  2. This looks delicious! I love a good meaty pasta sauce!
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