Traditional Tagliatelle alla Bolognese Pasta Recipe

Tagliatelle alla Bolognese is our favourite traditional pasta recipe from Bologna, Italy.

This recipe is easy to make at home since we’ve used store bought fresh tagliatelle pasta noodles. If you call yourself gourmet, we also share resources on how to make handmade tagliatelle pasta in your own kitchen.

Our authentic Bolognese ragu recipe is slowly simmered for 2-3 hours, rendering a fragrant and chunky tomato meat sauce.

Toss al dente Tagliatelle pasta noodles in the Bolognese sauce and serve with parmesan cheese.

Your family and friends will love forking through this traditional dish from Emilia-Romagna featuring flavourful pancetta, carrot, celery, onion, ground beef & pork, red wine, tomatoes, tomato paste, milk, bay leaf, and ground nutmeg.

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What Is Bolognese?

Bolognese sauce is a meat-based sauce in Italian cuisine, typical of the city of Bologna in Emilia-Romagna.

The sauce is typically used to dress tagliatelle al ragu (also known as Tagliatelle alla Bolognese) and to prepare lasagne alla bolognese.

Authentic “ragu alla bolognese” is a slowly cooked meat-based sauce, and its preparation involves several techniques, including sweating, sauteing, and braising.

Ingredients include a classic soffritto (onion, celery and carrot), different types of minced or finely chopped beef, often alongside small amounts of pork. Wine, milk, and a small amount of tomato paste or tomatoes are added, and the dish is then slowly simmered at length to produce a thick and aromatic pasta sauce.

The origins of the Bolognese sauce are related to those of the French ragoût, a stew of ingredients reduced to small pieces, which became popular in the 18th century.

The earliest documented recipe for a rage served with pasta comes from late 18th century Imola, near Bologna, from Alberto Alvisi, cook of the local Cardinal Barnaba Chiaramonti, later Pope Pius VII.

In 1891 Pellegrino Artusi published a recipe for a sauce characterized as bolognese in his cookbook. Artusi’s recipe, which he called Maccheroni alla bolognese, is thought to derive from the mid-19th century when he spent considerable time in Bologna (maccheroni being a generic term for pasta).

The sauce called for predominantly lean veal filet along with pancetta, butter, onion, and carrot. The meats and vegetables were to be finely minced, cooked with butter until the meat browned, then covered and cooked with broth.

Artusi commented that the taste could be made even more pleasant by adding small pieces of dried mushroom, a few slices of truffle, or chicken liver cooked with the meat and diced. As a final touch, he also suggested adding half a glass of cream to the sauce when it was completely done to make it taste smoother.

Artusi recommended serving his sauce with a pasta made from durum wheat. The pasta was to be made fresh, cooked until it was firm, and then tossed in the sauce and sprinkled with Parmigiano cheese.

Authentic Tagliatelle alla Bolognese recipe ingredients.
Authentic Tagliatelle alla Bolognese recipe ingredients.

What Is Tagliatelle?

Tagliatelle are a traditional type of egg pasta from the Emilia-Romagna and Marche regions of Italy.

Legend has it that tagliatelle was created by a talented court chef, who was inspired by Lucrezia d’Este’s hairdo on the occasion of her marriage to Annibale II Bentivoglio, in 1487. In reality, this was a joke invented by humorist Augusto Majani in 1931.

Individual pieces of tagliatelle are long, flat ribbons that are similar in shape to fettuccine and are traditionally about 6 mm wide. The texture is porous and rough, making it ideal for thick sauces.

Tagliatelle can be served with a variety of pasta sauces, though the classic is Bolognese.

In Bologna ragu is traditionally paired and served with tagliatelle made with eggs and northern Italy’s soft wheat flour. Acceptable alternatives to fresh tagliatelle include other broad flat pasta shapes, such as pappardelle or fettuccine, and tube shapes, such as rigatoni and penne.

If you’re makingTagliatelle alla Bolognese at home feel free to make homemade tagliatelle noodles to impress your guests. If you’re time crunched visit your favourite Italian grocery store or supermarket to purchase fresh or driedTagliatelle noodles.

Bolognese sauce is prepared with onion, celery, carrot, tomatoes and pancetta.
Bolognese sauce is prepared with onion, celery, carrot, tomatoes and pancetta.

Travel to Italy by Cooking Tagliatelle alla Bolognese at Home

I love traveling to Europe!

During my first visit to the continent I traveled for 5 months by train and plane. I had the opportunity to eat my way through Ireland, Scotland, England, Wales, Portugal, Spain, Belgium, Holland, Luxembourg, Iceland, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Russia, Estonia, Latvia, Poland, Czech Republic, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Lichtenstein, Croatia, Bosnia, Hungary, Romania, Slovakia, Greece, Turkey, France, Malta and Italy.

What I love most about traveling to Italy is the opportunity to sample unique dishes in each region and city. The dishes in Tuscany (Florence, Pisa, Volterra, Saturnia, Pitigliano, Sorano, Montalcino, Siena) are unique from what you’d find in Venice, Modena, Milan, Rome and the Amalfi Coast.

Tagliatelle alla Bolognese is a dish unique to the Emilia-Romagna region. It’s considered the culinary capital of Italy.

If you’re visiting the region on vacation be sure to make stops in Parma (for the dry-aged ham and King of Cheese), Modena (home to all of the world’s balsamic vinegar production and Ferrari Factory), and Bologna, the birthplace of Tagliatelle alla Bolognese.

Once back home from an Italian holiday you’ll have a newfound appreciation for the flavours of Bologna and can impress friends and family by making our authentic Tagliatelle alla Bolognese pasta recipe!

In a large pot cook the ground beef and pork with minced vegetables and pancetta.
In a large pot cook the ground beef and pork with minced vegetables and pancetta.

Where To Eat Tagliatelle alla Bolognese

If you live in a large city in Canada or America you’ll likely have access to a local Italian restaurant that serves Tagliatelle alla Bolognese.

Haven’t traveled to Italy before? It may be helpful to first sample Tagliatelle alla Bolognese at a local Italian restaurant to better understand how the dish is served. You can also assess the ideal pasta to ragu ratio, texture of the noodles and complimentary side dishes to serve at the table.

In Toronto, popular Italian restaurants in YorkvilleKing West and Ossington that may serve handmade Tagliatelle alla Bolognese include:

BucaSuperpointAmanoFabbricaOrettaFIGONodoLocale MercattoThe Good SonTaverna MercattoAscari EnotecaIl Fornello, Gusto 101 or Bar Vendetta.

Join Dobbernationloves founder Andrew Dobson in the kitchen by signing up for a fun virtual cooking class! Classes begin with a cocktail that you can sip while preparing 2-3 recipes that are curated around a unique culinary theme. Check out our current Cooking Class Schedule!

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The ragu sauce for Tagliatelle alla Bolognese should be chunky.
The ragu sauce for Tagliatelle alla Bolognese should be chunky.

My Family Loves Tagliatelle alla Bolognese

I love cooking Tagliatelle alla Bolognese for my family.

I first made this traditional pasta dish from Bologna on a cold winter day at our cottage in Muskoka. With a blizzard outside I kept cozy inside, chopping vegetables and sipping wine while stirring the ragu together.

Bolognese sauce gets better over time. Plan to leave your pot gently simmering for 2-3 hours in the afternoon before it’s thickened and ready to serve tossed with fresh pasta noodles.

I knew my family would enjoy this tasty tagliatelle recipe because they love tomato meat sauce, oodles of noodles and mountains of cheese.

A bowl of steaming Tagliatelle alla Bolognese scooped straight out of the pot is honestly the best comfort food!

Toss al dente tagliatelle pasta noodles in the bolognese sauce.
Toss al dente tagliatelle pasta noodles in the bolognese sauce.

Health Benefits

Our easy pasta recipe is packed full of healthy ingredients!

Onions are a humble vegetable packed with vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals. Regular consumption of onions can help boost digestive health and reduce the risk of developing heart disease.

Celery is a great source of antioxidants, reduces inflammation and supports digestions.

An excellent source of vitamin A and the phytochemical beta-carotene, carrots help keep your eyes and bones healthy, and may help protect against several types of cancer.

Beef is a great source of protein and minerals like iron as well as an excellent source of the amino acid L-carnitine. Beef also features antioxidant glutathione known for its anti-aging benefits.

Pork is an excellent source of protein and provides several important vitamins and minerals. It’s an excellent source of thiamin, selenium, niacin, vitamin B-6 and phosphorus, zinc, riboflavin and potassium.

Rich in a group of phytochemicals called carotenoids, tomatoes may help reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke, and provide protection against cancer. Tomatoes are also a good source of immune-boosting vitamin C.

Consuming dairy products (such as milk and cheese) provides health benefits — especially improved bone health. Dairy foods provide nutrients that are vital for health and maintenance of your body. These nutrients include calcium, potassium, vitamin D, and protein.

Nutmeg is said to relieve pain, soothe indigestion, strengthen cognitive function, detoxify the body, boost skin health, reduce insomnia, increase immune system function and improve blood circulation.

Tagliatelle alla Bolognese is one of our favourite Italian comfort food dishes.
Tagliatelle alla Bolognese is one of our favourite Italian comfort food dishes.

Tagliatelle alla Bolognese Cooking Tips

This simple Tagliatelle recipe is quick and easy to make at home.

  • Use a large pot or Dutch Oven with a lid to simmer the Bolognese sauce.
  • You can purchase dried Tagliatelle pasta noodles on Amazon or at a local Italian grocer.
  • If you’d like to learn how to make handmade noodles feel free to prepare your own Tagliatelle by watching this video.
  • A key ingredient in bolognese sauce is pancetta, a salt-cured pork belly salume. You can purchase pancetta at an Italian grocer or most deli shops. There is no substitute!
  • We’ve used ground pork and ground beef in this recipe but if you want to get fancy feel free to use finely chopped steak and pork belly.
  • We suggest using an Italian red wine when making the sauce but you can also use white wine.
We love serving homemade Tagliatelle alla Bolognese at an Italian dinner party.
We love serving homemade Tagliatelle alla Bolognese at an Italian dinner party.

What To Serve With Tagliatelle alla Bolognese

There’s nothing more comforting than cozying up to a bowl of homemade pasta.

If you’re hosting an Italian-themed dinner party we suggest serving Tagliatelle alla Bolognese as part of a decadent buffet featuring:

For a light lunch or dinner, pair this pasta recipe with fresh salads like Vegetarian Roasted Pumpkin Feta Salad, Roasted Beetroot Salad, Garlic Lemon Chickpea Avocado Salad and Fennel, Apple, Celery and Roasted Hazelnut Salad.

Now you're an expert on how to make the best Tagliatelle alla Bolognese recipe!
Now you’re an expert on how to make the best Tagliatelle alla Bolognese recipe!

Other Pasta Recipes You May Enjoy…

How To Make Traditional Tagliatelle alla Bolognese

Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote

Tagliatelle alla Bolognese

How to make the best homemade Tagliatelle alla Bolognese. Our traditional & authentic Italian pasta recipe features a chunky meat sauce.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time2 hrs
Total Time2 hrs 20 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: Tagliatelle alla Bolognese
Servings: 4
Calories: 945kcal

Equipment

  • Large pot
  • Large Nonstick Skillet
  • measuring cups
  • measuring spoons
  • French knife
  • Wooden spoon or spatula
  • blender

Ingredients

  • 350 g Fresh Tagliatelle Pasta Noodles
  • 150 g Pancetta finely diced
  • 1 Carrot finely diced
  • 1 Celery Stick finely diced
  • 1 Onion finely diced
  • 200 g Ground Beef
  • 200 g Ground Pork
  • 1/2 cup Red Wine
  • 14 oz Can Whole Tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp Tomato Paste
  • 2/3 cup Milk
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • Pinch Ground Nutmeg
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese

Instructions

  • In a large skillet over medium heat fry pancetta so the fat is released. Saute the carrot, celery and onion until the mixture is soft, around 8-10 minutes.
  • Add the meat and brown, stirring frequently until the meat has broken up. Add wine and tomatoes, blitzing with an immersion blender. Stir in the tomato paste, half of the milk, bay leaf, and grated nutmeg. Let simmer on low, adding more milk if necessary for 2-3 hours. You'll know the bolognese is finished when you can push a spoon through the ragu and briefly see the bottom of the pan.
  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Throw in the fresh tagliatelle and check to see if it's al dente after 1 minute. It should be cooked in less than 2 minutes. Drain pasta and return ito to the pan and stir with the ragu to fully incorporate.
  • Plate Tagliatelle alla Bolognese and top with parmesan. Serve hot.

Nutrition

Calories: 945kcal | Carbohydrates: 102.7g | Protein: 63.7g | Fat: 28.2g | Saturated Fat: 9.9g | Cholesterol: 277mg | Sodium: 1149mg | Potassium: 1075mg | Fiber: 9.3g | Sugar: 9.5g | Calcium: 270mg | Iron: 13mg

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