a close up of a plate of food
a close up of a plate of food

Gennaro's traditional 'spaghetti' Bolognese

This classic from the region of Emilia-Romagna is known all over the world, but often the recipe is so misunderstood and quite frankly badly made - whether it's too much tomato, undercooked or served with spaghetti, hence the popular term, "spag bol!" Because of all the confusion, the Bolognese Cooking Academy decided in 1982, to declare an official recipe and this is my version of it. As you can see, concentrated tomato puree diluted in stock is used to make the sauce lovely and rich. The thick sauce would fall off the thin spaghetti strands and so the Bolognese use tagliatelle. So simple to make, the sauce is slow-cooked over a gentle heat for at least 2 hours for maximum flavour while you can get on with other things. It is always worth making more and freezing it in batches so you always have some handy for another time, or for making lasagne. 

Make it yourself
4 x servings


  • 45 ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 25g butter
  • 1 x onion, finely chopped
  • 1 x celery stalk, finely chopped
  • 1 x carrot, finely chopped
  • 150g pancetta, cubed
  • 200g minced beef
  • 200g minced pork
  • 200 ml red wine
  • 2 x tablespoons double-concentrated tomato puree
  • 200 ml stock
  • 400g tagliatelle - fresh or dried


  1. Heat the extra virgin olive oil and butter in a pan, add the onion, celery, carrot and pancetta and sweat on a gentle heat for about 10 minutes until the onion has softened.
  2. Add the meat and brown all over.
  3. Increase the heat, add the wine and allow to evaporate.
  4. Dilute the tomato puree in a little of the stock and stir into the meat.
  5. Reduce the heat to low, cover with a lid and cook on a gentle heat for 2 hours, checking and adding a little extra stock from time to time to avoid the sauce from drying out.
  6. Remove from the heat and serve with freshly cooked tagliatelle.

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