Spinach Tagliatelle with Ragu Bolognese


Simple… best describes the Bolognese Sauce my mother used to make for us when we were kids. She never called it Bolognese, it was just a thick tomato ragu, usually made with ground pork.  No matter what she called it, it was always enjoyed served on homemade tagliatelle especially the spinach variety.

A little research on the subject reveals that this recipe in fact originates in Bologna a city situated in northern Italy and although it’s hard to pin down the original recipe the variations are many.  Most recipes agree that Bolognese Ragu is best served on homemade noodles, the broader the better to capture the thick meat filled sauce…never spaghetti!

I might add it makes a great Lasagna Bolognese… homemade lasagna noodles of course.

Although most recipes for this delicious sauce include other ingredients such as carrots, celery, pancetta, wine and various spices and herbs the simplicity of my mother’s recipe is what we’ve continued to enjoy at our table for many years.

Simple.  Tomato puree, onion, lean ground pork and a batch of homemade tagliatelle…absolutely satisfying and delicious!

Simple Bolognese Ragu

These are approximate measurements of ingredients.

1 pound lean ground pork

7 to 8 cups tomato puree

1 medium white onion

2 to 3 tablespoons vegetable oil

salt and pepper to taste


Heat vegetable oil, add ground pork breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon,  Saute until meat browns and begins to caramelize.


Peel and finely chop a medium white onion, stir into meat and cook until juice from onion cooks off.


Add tomato puree.


Season to taste with salt and pepper.  A pinch of sugar will balance the acidity of the tomato puree.


Simmer on medium low heat for about 40 to 45 minutes.


Sauce will thicken and meat becomes tender.  Ready to meet the tagliatelle.

Notes, Tips and Suggestions

  • If pork is not your preference beef or veal could be alternatives.  A mix of pork and veal is good as well.
  • Browning the meat before adding the onion ensures good browning of the meat before adding the moisture of the onion.
  • Instead of finely chopping the onion, coarsely grate, it just disappears into the sauce.
  • Canned, peeled tomatoes can be used for the puree, just process them in the blender and put through a fine mesh sieve to remove the tomato seeds.
  • Spinach Tagliatelle?…Stay tuned!

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