The Origin of Bolognaise

This classic is a staple dish in Northern Italy and is traditionally eaten with fresh egg pasta, even though it appears to be a text book example of a meaty sauce that would pair well with dried pasta. This is primarily because in some areas of Italy, dairy products such as whole milk are added before the wine – this gives the sauce a rich, thick consistency, ideal with fresh pasta. Modern cooks do not usually add any dairy, so frankly eating it with dried or fresh pasta is a personal preference. 


Bolognaise sauce; known in Italian as ragù alla Bolognese, originated from Bologna where the earliest documented recipe dates back to the late 18th century. A recipe for a meat sauce for pasta that is specifically described as being “bolognese” appeared in Pellegrino Artusi‘s cookbook of 1891. 


It is a slow cooked sauce with the classic soffritto (onion, celery and carrot) and minced beef as its base, sometimes with the addition of small amounts of fatty pork. White wine, (sometimes milk), and a small amount of tomato concentrate or tomatoes are added, and the dish is then gently simmered for some time to reduce and thicken. 


It is customarily eaten with tagliatelle, but can be used with wide, flat pasta shapes, such as pappardelle and fettuccine or tube shapes, such as rigatoni and penne. It is also used as the meat filling for “lasagne alla bolognese”. 


Outside of Italy, the dish is commonly served with Spaghetti, and has become known colloquially as “spag bol” or just “spaghetti”. It is often served with a larger portion of sauce than it would in most Italian spaghetti dishes, and the sauce is often served on top on the spaghetti, instead of the pasta being added to the sauce and mixed together in the Italian manner). It is usually served with grated parmesan as an accompaniment. (In Italy, spaghetti does not form part of the dish known as Bolognese/Bolognaise or, indeed, Italian cuisine.)


Flava & Co. has introduced Italian Bolognaise to our repertoire of Frozen Flava meals. It is a delicious, classic Italian Bolognaise mince which can be added to any pasta, grain or baked potato. Rich, meaty and full of flava!