PASTA ALLA BOLOGNESE -from Antonia with translation by Luca Guala - home


For 4 people you will need:
1/2 kg of pasta (thick spaghetti, size 5 or bigger, or better still, tagliatelle all'uovo)
250 grams of minced meat (beef, pork, or mixed)
a tube of concentrated tomato paste
one small onion
two carrots
one celery
olive oil
butter or lard
a glass of a tasty good red wine (it doesn't have to be italian wine)
(sure it does - Rene)
a cup of meat stock
salt & pepper
Parmisan cheese (Parmigiano Reggiano)
(it really is better and worth finding - Rene)
a medium size saucepan
large pot to boil the water
a colander and a saucer big enough to hold the whole stuff

Many ingredients are not mandatory and you can substitute and or eliminate them to suit your taste and availability of ingredients. (But don't... this is so good exactly this way don't change a thing - Rene)

Note: The pot must hold at least 5 lt of water, the more the better: the pasta must move freely as the water boils, otherwise it will stick.

1) Make the sauce:
Cut in small pieces approx. equal quantities of onion, carrots and celery, and some garlic to taste. Put them to fry gently (low fire) in the saucepan, with a mixture of oil, butter and lard matched according to your taste. The vegetables must dip in the oil mixture, but they mustn't SWIM into it, so don't exaggerate. If you use only olive oil, 1/2 glass of it will do. Add salt to taste.

The vegetables must fry until the onions have a golden hue. They must not become brownish. At this point add the minced meat and put the fire a little up. Let the water evaporate from the meat, mixing with a wooden spoon from time to time. Add the wine and let it evaporate. Add the stock and 1 or 2 tablespoons of tomato paste and let the water evaporate again, until the sauce gets the correct consistence to serve the pasta. Only experience will tell you when the sauce has the right consistence: neither too watery nor too thick. Remember: it must stick to the pasta and not sit on top of it or drip all to the bottom of the saucer!

Now the Bolognese sauce is ready. Put half of it in the saucer with some grated Parmisan cheese, and start cooking the pasta.

Note: Some people prefer to use peeled tomatoes in place of the tomato paste. This makes the Bolognese sauce very red in colour and a bit more sour in flavor. I think it gets too much like tomato sauce, which is a different thing. Other variants imply the use of flavorings such as parsley.

2) Make the pasta
Now you can boil the pasta. The pasta MUST be made of durum wheat. I wouldn't like to name any brand so skip this line if you think, but De Cecco and Voiello are really better than most other brands. Avoid quick cooking pasta, just as you would avoid Cheng Shin rubber on your 996. The portions are between 100 and 200 grams of pasta per person, so usually a 1/2 kg pack is enough for four, unless you're very hungry (or the pasta is very good).

Salt the water in the pot. Whether the salt must be put BEFORE or AFTER the water starts boiling, is still an argument for discussions. I put it before. The quantity must be such as to make the water savory, without it being sour. On the first tries, it's better to proceed by trial and error, starting with little salt (it's easier to add than to subtract). You can always add some salt also when the pasta is in the water.

As the water begins to boil, put the pasta in it all at once, pushing it down gently as soon as it gets soft. Mix it often to avoid sticking, particularly at the beginning. If you have put in enough water, you won't have to mix the pasta often again. Keep the water on the boil all the time.

Don't trust the cooking times written on the packs: taste the pasta from time to time and look at the point where you've bitten it: it will be "al dente" as soon as you will not see a white core of uncooked flour in the middle of the spaghetti or tagliatelle. Some prefer to cook it a little further, I take it off at this point.

Now pour the pasta in the colander, let all the water run off from it; put the pasta in the saucer, mix it with the sauce while adding the rest of it and the Parmisan cheese. Serve hot and put the bottle of cool red wine on the table.

Note: if you don't have a colander you can always try to dry the pasta using the lid of the pot: in this case make sure you dry well all the water from the pasta otherwise it will thin the sauce.

Please do not drink beer or coca cola, it's very un-Bolognese. If you don't want to end up drunk, buy a bottle of Lambrusco, which is a very light sparkling wine made in Emilia Romagna, that has no more alcohol than a lager beer.
(do it... it's worth it - Rene)

Buon Appetito!

Ciao, Luca