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Recipe: Ragù alla bolognese

The Bishop of Newcastle, the Rt Rev’d Christine Hardman, suggests this rich and hearty ragù as an antidote to the winter chill. The Italian way is to serve this ragù over fresh tagliatelle, rather than spaghetti. It’s very well worth trying if you can source fresh (or even dried) tagliatelle. This will be the menu for our virtual parish dinner on Monday, 23 November 2020.

Wine Choice: 2016 Côtes du Rhône, Vidal-Fleury, France £9.99 (Mix of Six) (Majestic)

This is such a stunning red wine, it is worth a few extra pounds. Made by the Rhône’s powerhouse negociant Vidal-Fleury it is stunning value for money, has a silky texture with a lovely aromatic perfume of red fruit and garrigue, with a little spice. Very good!



2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter
60g pancetta or thick-cut streaky bacon, diced
1 small onion, minced
1 carrot, minced
1 stick celery, minced
2 bay leaves
500g beef mince (or 250g each beef and pork mince)
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tbsp tomato puree
1 400g tin chopped tomatoes in tomato sauce
150ml good red wine
1/4 tsp nutmeg (preferably freshly grated)
150ml beef stock
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
4 tbsp double cream

To serve

tagliatelle or pappardelle pasta
freshly grated parmesan



Heat the butter and oil in a heavy-based saucepan or oven-proof lidded casserole. Add the pancetta and cook for 5 minutes, stirring often, until it begins to brown.


Add the onion. When it begins to turn translucent, stir in the carrot, celery and bay leaves. Cook for 5-7 minutes, stirring often, until the vegetables begin to soften.


Turn the heat up to high. Add the mince and cook until medium-brown and nearly crisp, crumbling it in the pot with a cooking spoon. (You need a high heat so that the meat browns rather than stews, but be careful not to let it become too crisp.)


Add the garlic and tomato purée and cook for 2 minutes. Add the tinned tomatoes, wine, nutmeg, and stock, and bring to the boil.


Either turn the heat down to very low and set the lid askew on top of the pot, so that the mixture reduces very slowly, or cover the pan and put it in the oven at 160C for an hour.


Add the double cream and cook for another hour. Taste and adjust seasoning. Add a bit more stock or a little milk if the mixture is too thick—it should be the texture of a thick soup.


Serve over tagliatelle or pappardelle (cooked according to package directions) with a grating of parmesan.

Come eat with us!
Each week we'll send you the Zoom link so you can join our dinner party from your own home.

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Dinner at the Vicarage
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