Tagliatelle al Ragù alla Bolognese: A Hearty Italian Classic 2024

Tagliatelle al Ragù alla Bolognese is a mouthwatering Italian pasta dish featuring long, flat ribbons of pasta (tagliatelle) smothered in a rich, savory meat-based sauce known as Ragù alla Bolognese. It’s a traditional recipe originating from Bologna, Italy, and cherished worldwide for its comforting flavors. The dish is a medley of flavors – the pasta is tender and silky, while the Ragù sauce is hearty, combining the umami of meat with the sweetness of tomatoes. It’s a marriage of textures and tastes, creating a satisfying and comforting meal.

Tagliatelle al Ragù alla Bolognese: A Hearty Italian Classic

Recipe Steps: Tagliatelle al Ragù alla Bolognese

Ingredients (for 4 servings):

  • 400g tagliatelle pasta
  • 300g ground beef (or a mixture of beef and pork)
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 400g canned chopped tomatoes
  • 200ml beef broth
  • 120ml red wine (optional)
  • 3 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Grated Parmesan cheese for serving (optional)
  • Fresh basil or parsley for garnish (optional)

How to make Tagliatelle al Ragù alla Bolognese:

How to make Tagliatelle al Ragù alla Bolognese:
How to make Tagliatelle al Ragù alla Bolognese:

Prepare the Ragù sauce:

  1. Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onions and garlic, sauté until fragrant.
  2. Add the ground beef, cooking until it browns. Stir and break up the meat with a wooden spoon.
  3. Incorporate carrots and celery, cooking until softened.
  4. Pour in the red wine (if using) and let it simmer until mostly evaporated.
  5. Stir in tomato paste, canned tomatoes, beef broth, salt, and pepper. Reduce heat to low and let it simmer, covered, for about 1.5 to 2 hours, stirring occasionally. The longer it simmers, the richer the flavors.

Cook the tagliatelle pasta:

  • Boil Water: Take a large pot and fill it with water. Bring the water to a rolling boil over high heat.
  • Add Salt: Once the water is boiling, add a generous amount of salt. This helps flavor the pasta as it cooks. A general rule of thumb is about 1-2 tablespoons of salt per 4-6 quarts of water.
  • Add Pasta: Gently add the tagliatelle pasta to the boiling water. Stir it immediately to prevent the strands from sticking together.
  • Cook to Al Dente: Follow the cooking time mentioned on the pasta package as a guide. Typically, tagliatelle pasta cooks for about 8-10 minutes. Cook until it’s “al dente,” meaning it’s cooked through but still slightly firm when bitten.
  • Check for Readiness: To check if the pasta is ready, fish out a strand and taste it. It should have a slight resistance when chewed but not be hard.
  • Drain the Pasta: Once the tagliatelle is cooked to your liking, turn off the heat. Carefully pour the pasta and water through a colander or strainer to drain off the water.
  • Reserve Pasta Water: It’s a good idea to save a cup of the pasta cooking water. This starchy water can be used later to adjust the consistency of the sauce.
  • Rinse (optional): Some people prefer to rinse the pasta under cold water to stop the cooking process and prevent sticking. However, for a pasta dish like Tagliatelle al Ragù alla Bolognese, you may skip rinsing as the sauce sticks better to the pasta when it’s still warm.

Combine the pasta and sauce:

  • Add the cooked tagliatelle to the pot of Ragù sauce, tossing gently to coat the pasta evenly. If the sauce is too thick, add some reserved pasta water to loosen it.


  • Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 3 months. Reheat gently on the stove or in the microwave.

Additional Tips:

  • For a richer flavor, you can use a mix of beef and pork or even include some pancetta.
  • If you prefer a smoother sauce, blend the canned tomatoes before adding them to the pot.
  • Don’t rush the cooking time of the Ragù sauce; allowing it to simmer slowly enhances the depth of flavors.

Yield, Prep time and Calories

  • Yield: This recipe typically yields about 4 servings.
  • Prep Time: The estimated preparation time for this dish is around 20-25 minutes.
  • Calories: The calorie count for a serving of Tagliatelle al Ragù alla Bolognese can vary depending on portion size and specific ingredients used. However, on average, one serving of this dish could contain approximately 400-500 calories.
YieldApproximately 4 servings
Prep TimeAbout 20-25 minutes
Calories per ServingEstimated 400-500 calories
Yield, Prep time and Calories

What to Serve with Tagliatelle al Ragù alla Bolognese

What to Serve with Tagliatelle al Ragù alla Bolognese
What to Serve with Tagliatelle al Ragù alla Bolognese

When serving Tagliatelle al Ragù alla Bolognese, there are several great options to complement this delicious dish. Here are some suggestions:

  1. Bread: A crusty loaf of Italian bread or garlic bread is perfect for soaking up the savory sauce.
  2. Salad: A fresh green salad with a simple vinaigrette dressing can provide a refreshing contrast to the rich flavors of the pasta.
  3. Vegetables: Steamed or roasted vegetables like broccoli, asparagus, or zucchini can add a healthy and colorful side dish.
  4. Antipasto Platter: Serve a platter with cured meats like prosciutto or salami, alongside olives, cheeses, and pickled vegetables for a delightful appetizer course.
  5. Wine: Pair this hearty dish with a glass of red wine, such as Chianti, Sangiovese, or Barbera, to complement the flavors of the Ragù sauce.
  6. Dessert: Finish the meal with a classic Italian dessert like tiramisu, panna cotta, or gelato for a sweet ending.

Enjoy this delicious Tagliatelle al Ragù alla Bolognese with a glass of your favorite Italian wine and some crusty bread to soak up every bit of the savory sauce!

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What type of pasta is best to use for Tagliatelle al Ragù alla Bolognese?

Traditionally, tagliatelle pasta is used for this dish. Its flat, long ribbons allow the sauce to cling beautifully, but you can also use other long pasta like fettuccine or pappardelle.

Can I use ground turkey or chicken instead of beef in the Ragù sauce?

Yes, you can substitute ground turkey or chicken for beef. However, keep in mind that it might alter the flavor slightly.

How long should I simmer the Ragù sauce for the best taste?

Simmering the sauce for at least 1.5 to 2 hours on low heat helps develop rich flavors. The longer it simmers, the more depth and richness it gains.

Can I make Tagliatelle al Ragù alla Bolognese in advance?

Absolutely! In fact, the flavors often improve when the dish is made ahead. Store the cooked pasta and sauce separately in the refrigerator, then reheat and combine before serving.

Is there a vegetarian version of this dish?

Yes, you can make a vegetarian version by using meat substitutes like textured vegetable protein (TVP), mushrooms, or lentils to create a rich, meaty texture in the sauce.

How do I reheat leftovers?

To reheat, gently warm the pasta and sauce together on the stove over low heat. If it thickens, add a splash of water or broth to loosen it.

Can I freeze Tagliatelle al Ragù alla Bolognese?

Yes, this dish freezes well. Store the cooled pasta and sauce in an airtight container or freezer bags for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.

What’s the best way to prevent the pasta from sticking together?

Make sure to stir the pasta immediately after adding it to the boiling water and occasionally during cooking. Adding a bit of olive oil to the water can also help prevent sticking.

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