Dinner · Pasta

ragù bolognese – one that pleases every family member, even a sick child


I would not have thought of posting a bolognese sauce on this blog if it was not for my 6 year old daughter, who had just been worn down by a high fever for 2 days, getting up from the dinner table just to tell me in the living room (where I was hiding with my feet up for 5 minutes before joining the family for dinner) that she liked the sauce and it was “blog worthy”. I think she knew what it meant, but in any event, she meant it as a huge compliment, which she does not give freely when it comes to food.

I think our kids feel a great deal of power over my cooking nowadays. I love that they can express their opinion, but having your children as constant mini food critics as your write a blog can be tough at times. I have embraced the challenge thus far and am trying to teach them how to deliver their reviews in kind words and to describe what they like or not like more specifically or to make suggestions (haha).

This bolognese sauce has been my friend since my classes at Escola Wilma Kövesi in Brazil in 2005, so far away and forever ago. It is the opposite of a quick weekday meal, unless you work from home, or have a sick child and are staying home, but it is super easy and worth every minute of it. It will make your house smell amazing all day long and you won’t even think that you need to make the pasta. I’m going to double the recipe next time and freeze half to eat during Romas’ next work trip, when the least I want to do is negotiate with the kids at the dinner table.

I also make a classic and simple lasagna by just layering the lasagna sheets with this bolognese sauce, béchamel and parmesan, which I love to freeze in portions for crazy busy days or when I am single parenting.



CLASSIC RAGU BOLOGNESE – adapted from Escola Wilma Kövesi

Serves 4-6


  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1/4 cup pancetta
  • 1 large carrot, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • medium onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup scallions, white parts only, chopped
  • cloves garlic, minced
  • 1.32 pounds organic 85% lean beef, at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup dry white wine
  • can (14 ounces) whole peeled tomatoes, crushed  
  • 3/4 cup beef or chicken stock
  • 1 1/2 cup milk
  • salt and pepper to taste


In a large pot over medium-high heat, melt butter and cook the pancetta until most fat is rendered, but without browning it (around 1 minute). Reduce heat to medium and add carrot, celery stalks, onion, scallions and garlic and cook until the onion is translucent (about 5 minutes).

Turn up the heat and cook the meat, stirring constantly and breaking it up well with a wooden spoon, until almost brown (about 10 minutes).

Add wine. Dissolve tomato paste in stock and add to the pot, along with tomatoes, letting it come to a boil. Turn the heat down and simmer, partially covered, adding a couple of dashes of milk at a time every now and then during 3 hours, stirring from time to time and checking to make sure it does not dry up.

Check the seasoning, then serve with fresh tagliatelli or pasta of your choice and freshly grated Parmesan.



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