Not all Bolognese / Bolognaise / Ragú's are created equal

Not all Bolognese / Bolognaise / Ragú's are created equal

One of Australia's favourite weekly dinners, recipes for 'Bolognese' are as many as they are varied. In Australia, like Italy, every family has their own variation.

In Italy though there are some 'rules' surrounding the nation's most successfully exported recipe.

  • Traditionally, in the city and surrounds of Bologna (where the dish originated) Ragú (Bolognese meat sauce) is never served with spaghetti.
  • Freshly made tagliatelle is the traditional pasta pairing or lasagne sheets.
  • Ragú is also served locally with dry pasta shapes including; rigatoni, conchiglie and fusilli
  • A traditional Ragú takes three to four hours to cook
  • Traditional recipes do not include garlic
  • Cooking the onions in a mix of extra virgin olive oil and butter will stop the onions from burning
  • Milk added to the sauce during cooking reduces the acidity of the wine, and of the tinned tomatoes and produces a more mellow result
  • Locals often add a grating of fresh nutmeg
  • Traditionally Ragú is cooked in an earthenware pot over very low heat

Recipe: Penne with italian sausage Ragú

Good-quality sausages are the fast track to a Ragú that tastes like it’s been cooking for hours.


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 6 Italian-style pork sausages (about 500g total), casings removed
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons rosemary leaves, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 cup (250ml) red wine
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 400g can chopped tomatoes
  • 400g penne rigate
  • Grated parmesan, crusty bread & basil leaves, to serve


  1. Heat oil in a large pan over medium heat. Cook onion, stirring, for 2-3 minutes until softened. Add the sausage, rosemary and garlic and cook, breaking the sausage up with a wooden spoon, for 3-4 minutes until the sausage is browned.
  2. Drain excess oil from pan, then add wine and allow to bubble for 2-3 minutes until slightly reduced. Add tomato paste and stir for 30 seconds, then stir in tomatoes. Season, then increase the heat to high and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes until reduced.
  3. Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to packet instructions. Drain, then divide among bowls and serve with the sausage Ragú, parmesan, crusty bread and basil.

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