A classic bolognese sauce — or ragu, if you will — is the cornerstone of any great Italian cooking repertoire. Yet, as with all classics, the foundational recipe for this one varies greatly. Part of that is the Italian-American influence on the original dish from Emilia-Romagna. Tomato sauces are added, the milk is often dropped, and debates rage over whether or not garlic is needed (Italian-Americans put garlic in everything, much to the chagrin of Italians in the old country).
I tend to lean heavily towards the authentic recipes from Bologna with my ragu. I know, shocking. Thing is, I’ve spent a lot of time in Bologna. It’s one of my top three favorite cities in the world — depending on my mood, it may even be my most favorite. I spend a lot of time there and I hang out with chefs and talk about food. That, inevitably, means we talk their ragu. I listen. I learn.
So, this recipe is a reflection of that. The dish below errs towards the Italian way but is still my take. It’s not exactly what you’d find from the “official” Bologna culinary elites, but it’s really freakin’ close. Let’s dive in and make one of the most satisfying meals on the planet.