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  • Writer's pictureDavid

Ragù alla Bolognese

Authentic, traditional Bolognese from Battedizzo

This is NOT a dish either my mum or my gran would ever have made; it is from the area around Bologna. Everyone has their own version, this one has always been a game dish - often wild boar. I'm using venison. It's not as full on tomato as many southern dishes - or as the dodgy versions made in many restaurants...



good olive oil

pork belly, pancetta, prosciutto or something good and fatty - finely chopped




bay leaves

venison or boar (pork shoulder or beef would do, but traditionally it’s a game meat)

1 or 2 tablespoons tomato puree

glass of red wine (make it a large one!)


a good amount of pork stock

a small pour of milk


Watch the video


  • Heat the oil

  • Add the pancetta, prosciutto or pork belly

  • Finely - really finely - chop the leek, carrot & garlic and cook slowly with the bay leaves until the veg is soft (about 10-20 minutes) This is a sofritto

  • Meanwhile, cut the game meat into small pieces. Don’t use mince and don’t mince the meat Really small. It’s a Zen exercise

  • Add the meat to the sofritto and stir it about, cooking it through for about 15 minutes

  • Add the purée and stir through to coat everything. Turn up the heat

  • Add the wine and stir through. Cook for about 10 minutes

  • Add the pork stock

  • Get it to the boil, then turn it down.

  • Add the nutmeg

  • Cook it slowly for 1-2 hours (the longer the cook, the deeper the flavours)

  • When the sauce has reduced add your milk. Cook it for a further 15-20 minutes.

  • Don’t let it dry out

  • Cook the pasta. Tagliatelle or fettuccine are common, but anything that will hold a sauce; I used gigli

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