Talk:Bolognese sauce

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Initial comments[edit]

I've marked this for cleanup as it seems to have been written by a fourteen year old. In particular the section on Spaghetti Bolognaise.. 17:33, 7 July 2006 (UTC)

I can't seriously believe that british students know how to make real ragu`... if they're inept at cooking, they're probably not doing ragu` right either.

  • Don't be biashed :P -- SoothingR 21:36, 8 October 2005 (UTC)
  • I'd suspect they're thinking more of the tomato based fake bolognese instant-sauce than the real thing. Making a proper ragout requires a little more expertise. — Ashmodai (talk · contribs) 06:37, 15 November 2006 (UTC)

Spaghetti bolognese is ancient, well-traveled and widely interpreted. Why on earth should this television chef Heston have a dedicated section to his own take on it? Clearly he's not making Spaghetti bolognese anymore if he's adding fish sauce, tarragon and Worcestershire sauce! Can this be replaced by a section on various interpretations of Spaghetti bolognese worldwide? More interesting and relevant than the silly ideas of one minor celeb from a non-food nation. Mahlzeitgeist (talk) 14:03, 22 January 2010 (UTC)

I'd agree with adding more interpretations, but frankly, I think you're trolling given your description of Blumenthal as a "minor celeb" and the UK as a "non-food nation". 19:02, 22 January 2010 (UTC)
I believe the section on Blumenthal's "version" has little relevance on this page. They are no more Bolognese sauce than vodka and grapefruit juice is a Screwdriver. (Tho his trick of adding star anise to deepen the meat flavor is kind of cool--I'm gonna steal that for other applications..) Recommend deleting.

--afn33282 4:02, 6 February 2010 (UTC)

I hardly think spaghetti bolognese has an ancient history, spaghetti is never used with a ragu (note ragu, not ragout).


In the United States it can be hard to find authentic ragu bolognese. This leads to many misconceptions. Here are my comments:

For more information, the canonical reference on ragu bolognese is The Splendid Table by Lynne Rossetto Kasper.

It is not made from ground meat. The meat should be finely minced. This important difference has two consequences:

  • The texture is different, and
  • If the home cook buys pre-ground meat at the supermarket, it is likely to be too fatty and lead to a greasy ragu.

Certainly, one can use ground meat as a shortcut, but it should be recognized as such -- it really does make a big difference in the final product!

This is a meat sauce, not a tomato sauce. I'm not just trying to be pedantic here. The amount of tomato in authenic bolognese is very small: maybe a 1/4 cup of tomato sauce or a couple of tablespoons of tomato paste.

tilthouse 18:43, 14 November 2005 (UTC)
I have also removed the garlic since this is not present in the recipe: for a recipe very close to the tradition see the it:Ragù bolognese. --Biopresto 07:18, 30 March 2006 (UTC)

hmm as a british student i have to point out thats its spag bog not spag bol.

As an equally british person I would point out that I have NEVER heard the term Spag Bog but have frequentely heard it described as Spag Bol, in day to day life and in the media. CartmanUK26 13:27, 30 November 2006 (UTC)

Hmm... yes. I agree with CartmanUK26 (the latest in a long line of CartmanUKs). I didn't notice this discussion the other day when I created the section below. Oh well. --Dreaded Walrus 07:07, 16 March 2007 (UTC)
Have to agree as well, I've only ever heard spag bol. Spag bog sounds like a symptom suffered the next day if the spag bol was bad. eyeball226 (talk) 16:36, 1 May 2010 (UTC)

I'm going to add that the canonical reference is not the aformentioned text, but rather the Italian Academy of Cuisine. The recipe can be found at this URL and calls not for ground beef, but cartella, which is skirt steak. The chef would slice the steak in thin strips to prepare it for cooking. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:26, 24 February 2015 (UTC)

Ground beef versus minced beef[edit]

So what is the difference between ground beef and minced beef ? 02:28, 30 April 2006 (UTC)

Think about the difference between a hamburger patty from McDonnalds (barely resembling meat as it has been so pureed) and steak that has been fed through a mincer and extruded.

The authentic Bolognese recipe calls for 250g of Cartella. Cartella is known in the US and UK as 'skirt steak'. Skirt steak is neither beef mince, nor ground beef, both of which are effectively the same thing: cuts of meat put through a grinder. Skirt steak is a grainy cut of beef, which when sliced thinly across the grain, will collapse of its own in the cooking process (about 2 hours simmering time). The key is that it must be cut across the grain, and very thinly. This will produce strips of beef which which because they are held together by fat and connective tissue will fall apart in the cooking and give a very tender, very 'buttery' effect. Having prepared this dish both ways, I can vouch that the original recipe, calling for cartella is much superior. Skirt steak is not an expensive cut of beef, and though there's a little more effort involved in the preparation, it is worth the trouble. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:12, 24 February 2015 (UTC)

The meat must be ground to twice the size of a hamburger!!!!! that is very important. So let us not mix up pasta with meat sauce and pasta Alla Bolognese. Furthermore the pasta (noodles as some Anglophones prefer to call it) must be made from "egg". You can substitute but then you are not sticking with the true original recipe. pinoremaxPinoremax (talk) 12:03, 19 March 2015 (UTC)


Are there any other available pictures? I don't know many Italians who serve the dish without mixing the pasta and sauce together before serving it. I don't really know how to find applicable pictures without violating copyright laws, but someone must.

One day or the other I'll try to do a nice picture, I eat it very often, the point is to use a nice pot for a good looking picture. --Biopresto 18:55, 16 November 2006 (UTC)
How about this one?:
-- ZZyXx 17:12, 6 March 2007 (UTC)

"Spag Bog"[edit]

The article mentioned that in the UK Spaghetti Bolognese "is known as Spag Bol or Spag Bog". I changed that to "is sometimes known as", as it is still usually known as Spaghetti Bolognese in my own experience. I also removed Spag Bog, as not only had I not heard of it, but it seems relatively uncommon when compared with "Spag Bol". --Dreaded Walrus 20:12, 14 March 2007 (UTC)


I put spag bog back - it's definitely used a lot in the UK, from my geordie dad to my cockney mum.
It seems to have gone again in the interim, but I've restored spag bog as it is definitely idiomatic in the UK. Ericoides (talk) 10:29, 16 August 2009 (UTC)
And it's just gone again as "uncited nonsense", so I've added it back with a dictionary source. The name is used in parts of the UK and Australia, and a Google News or Book search turns up a few mentions. --McGeddon (talk) 14:36, 12 January 2013 (UTC)

It definitely is NOT known as 'Spag bog' anywhere. That is just idiotic. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 16:20, 8 August 2014‎

Except we have a source saying otherwise. Dialect words can be surprising, but that doesn't mean that they don't exist. --McGeddon (talk) 15:35, 8 August 2014 (UTC)

Accademia Italiana della Cucina[edit]

The original recipe contains red wine, not white. (talk) 00:48, 14 July 2008 (UTC)


kiohuhu —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:25, 2 February 2009 (UTC)

Which sort of wine?[edit]

The intro says the recipe traditionally uses red wine. The modern interpretations section says that white wine is traditionally used, not red. Which is it? --Irrevenant [ talk ] 00:09, 11 July 2009 (UTC)

Traditionally, red wine would go into the sauce, while white would be drank with the meal. Contemporarily, especially in North America, whatever the diner's preference is, is fine and often neither are put into the sauce when prepared. Consider though that the recipe did not originate in North America. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:00, 25 November 2009 (UTC)

The original recipe calls for Red or White. The biggest difference is likely to be in the color that is imparted by red vs white. I can vouch that both produce an excellent result. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:21, 24 February 2015 (UTC)

Inconsistent spelling[edit]

Which is the correct spelling, "spaghetti bolognese" or "spaghetti Bolognese"? That is what I wanted to find out from this article, but unfortunately it is inconsistent regarding the capitalization. (talk) 09:43, 30 October 2009 (UTC)

As far as I can see, it's capitalised if it's referring to the traditional ragu, but lowercase if it's referring to the slop that you can buy in a jar :) Thedarxide (talk) 10:28, 30 October 2009 (UTC)

Actually the correct term is "[spaghetti] alla Bolognese" that means "the Bolognese way, referring to the city of Bologna in Emilia Romagna. In fact most pasta dishes are described in this fashion eg. spaghetti alla carbonara, bucatini all'Amatriciana, penne all'arrabbiata, and so on. In the case of the Bolognese sauce, the spelling requires a capital letter since in Italian names of cities and adjectives derived therefrom require a capital letter. Although one frequently, especially outside of Italy, comes across spaghetti or fettuccine alla Bolognese, this sauce is traditionally associated only with tagliatelle or lasagna. carlosdiz --Carlosdiz (talk) 03:24, 24 August 2011 (UTC) Carlosdiz (talk) 03:24, 24 August 2011 (UTC)

Australia / New Zealand Tuesday night spaghetti tradition[edit]

Can anyone cite any evidence of this "tradition" or is it just hearsay? I live in New Zealand and I have never heard any mention it. Even if it exists it must be relatively uncommon and probably not worth a mention in this article. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:26, 9 August 2010 (UTC)

I live in australia and it caught my eye also, as I've never heard of anyone practicing this supposed tradition before in my life. (talk) 07:32, 10 August 2010 (UTC)
Likewise. The only Tuesday tradition that I know about is Cheap Pizza Tuesday when the two main pizza chains drop their prices. --MichaelGG (talk) 14:33, 30 August 2010 (UTC)

I've lived in Australia for 20 years and I was introduced to this tradition by my grandmother. Since then, I've had spaghetti every possible Tuesday. So, that's some evidence. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:27, 9 September 2010 (UTC)

I concur. This is an established practice in my family and among those I grew up with. I imagine scholastic evidence can be found without great difficulty. (talk) 10:15, 21 September 2010 (UTC)

Belgian origin of Bolognese[edit]

In the late 70s I remember talking to an older "mama" (Italian mum) who had immigrated to Belgium in the early 50s. The lady was known as a formidable cook and an authority on Italian dishes & sauces.

She claimed it was a group of Italian immigrants living in Belgian coal mining region who invented the Bolognese sauce from ingredients they had lying around. The sauce was cheap, quick & easy to make, which is why it became quickly popular amongst the Italian immigrant population in Belgium, who later spread the cheap recipe among lots of other Italian mining immigrant families around the world. A few of the "original" cooks came from Bologna, and decided to dedicate the sauce because unlike Napolitana (Naples) & Romana (Rome) Bologna didn't have its own (signature) sauce at that time.

Problem is that the lady in question died about 15 years ago, none of this was written down and the story can only be corroborated by people who have known the lady and heard her stories (and tasted her food). —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:52, 23 September 2010 (UTC)

Sorry Sir, but the story is unreal! The "Ragù alla Bolognese" is not cheap, nor quick nor easy to make. Italians are great story tellers, expatriates particularly! — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:07, 4 September 2011 (UTC)


The article contradicts itself numerous times about the traditional ingredients mentioned by the Academia della Cucina. At one point it says one list of ingredients, but later, a recipe said to be from the same source lists a different set. Can someone who speaks Italian check what the Academia says and edit this please? (talk) 21:36, 13 March 2011 (UTC)

Also, this page mentions that bolognese sauce "is customarily used to dress "tagliatelle al ragù"", however it seems that the 'official' Tagliatelle al Ragù has a totally different sauce - Bolognese sauce (includes beef & white wine) VS Sauce for Tagliatelle al Ragù (includes chicken & red wine)

Both are recipees from Accademia Italiana della Cucina.

Nforde (talk) 01:04, 2 June 2013 (UTC)

The "ragù" is a type of sauce with meat. You can make also with chicken but Italians usually doesn't use the chicken in their ragù. They dress many different type of pasta (spaghetti, tagliatelle, fetuccine, lasagne) with ragù. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:12, 12 January 2014 (UTC)


Why does the name have to be in French as well as Italian on the first line, surely because it is an Italian dish only Italian is needed? Or is this a stupid question? Hamilton365 (talk) 12:28, 8 January 2012 (UTC)

I think it should be removed because it is a bit unnecessary, if noone has any objections i will remove it Hamilton365 (talk) 14:06, 9 January 2012 (UTC)

Corrections Needed & Some Facts[edit]

1. Under the section "Tradition and origins", the first sentence, "The sauce dates back at least to the 5th century.", is just plain wrong and should be removed. This article is about a sauce for pasta in the style of Bologna, and pasta did not exist in any part of what is now Italy in the 5th century. The history of fresh pasta in northern Italy is obscure, but is generally thought to date to the 14th-15th centuries (Oretta Zanini De Vita, Encyclopedia of Pasta University of California Press,ISBN 978-0-520-25522-7). Bologna's first pasta factory was chartered by the city council in November, 1586 (ref: Lynne Rossetto Kasper, The Splendid Table ISBN 0-688-08963-1).

2. While a number of pasta dishes of various types were served with meat broths from the middle ages through the early modern era, sauces incorporating meat were generally unknown until the late 18the century. The first documented meat sauce for pasta identified as a ragu dates to this period, and was from Alberto Alvisi, cook to the Cardinal of Imola, near Bologna (ref: Lynne Rossetto Kasper, The Splendid Table). Meat sauces (ragus) then grew in popularity through the first half of the 19th century. The first published recipe for a pasta with a meat sauce identified as Bolognese was from chef Pellegrino Artusi, dated to the mid 19th century and included in his cookbook published in 1891 (ref: Science in the Kitchen and the Art of Eating Well (English translation), recipe 87, ISBN 0-8020-8704-3 ). Artusi's recipe, Maccheroni alla Bolognese, is similar in construction to the recipe Il classico Ragù alla Bolognese secondo l’Accademia Italiana della Cucina, but used veal rather than beef, and no wine or tomato (tomatoes did not into widespread use in cooking in northern Italy until the latter half of the 19th century). Artusi did state when, "the sauce is completely done, you can add as a final touch half a glass of cream - this will make an even more delicate dish". Artusi called for fresh maccheroni (a then generic term for pasta) made from durum wheat flour rather than today's customary egg and flour Tagliatelle, although Tagliatelle was well known and used in the region in Artusi's time, and is called for in a number of his other recipes.

3. A revised (second) recipe from l'Accademia Italiana della Cucina is to be included in a forthcoming of their compendium of recipes La Cucina, (personal communication from Paolo Petroni, Secretary General of l'Accademia). This version in Italian can be seen here, with one minor detail not yet corrected - the wine will be specified as "Vino bianco secco", dry white wine. By that recipe the beef should be from what in the U.S. is the plate section, and the most preferred cut is what is known in the U.S. as hanger steak, known in Bologna as "faint folder". However, due to the very limited amount and availability of that cut, the similar and more readily available skirt steak in the U.S. is widely used (both are from the Plate section of beef). The pancetta distesa called for is understood by some to mean fresh bacon or side pork, not the familiar salt cured and rolled pancetta. A video demonstration from in Italian of the preparation according to l'Accademia can be seen here

4. A previous Talk entry by tilthouse (November 2005) took issue with ground versus minced meat. A literal translation can be minced, but also includes "chopped" and "ground". With modern equipment coarsely ground beef is generally used by all chefs.

5. The section titled "International Day of Italian Cuisines", should mention and reference the sponsoring organization, Grouppo Virtuale Cuochi Italiani (GVCI, Virtual Group of Italian Chefs). The GVCI press release can be found here. For that worldwide event the recommended recipe was not that of l’Accademia Italiana della Cucina but was provided by GVCI President Mario Caramella, as seen here

TXEB (talk) 18:08, 1 March 2012 (UTC)

Update 3/2/2012: I made changes consistent with 1. and 2. above. TXEB (talk) 17:38, 2 March 2012 (UTC)

Great work!
The recipe probably shouldn't be included in the article per WP:NOTHOWTO. Since the article already uses the recipe as a source elsewhere, it's fairly redundant as well. --Ronz (talk) 20:53, 2 March 2012 (UTC)

Update 3/2/2012 - more editing, including adding a section on evolution and varations, consolidated the entries on "Accademia into its own section, added more references, and cleaned up the Further Reading section TXEB (talk) 22:31, 2 March 2012 (UTC)

Accademia Italiana della Cucina - Round 2[edit]

I tend to agree with Ronz that the recipe from l'Accademia Italiana della Cucina should not be reproduced in Wikipedia. While it is has become a bit of a standard, it is no more "authentic" than any of the other sources referenced. My only reservation with deleting at this time is that it is not yet available from l'Accademia's own sources -- the referenced source is actually a website of a professional chef's group (GVCI). I did receive a personal communication (email) from the Secretary General of l'Acceademia that the recipe listed is authentic, and that it is scheduled to be included both in an upcoming revision to their web accessible database and in a forthcoming revision to La Cucina. Since it is a standard and is currently available only from a secondary source, I would favor keeping the recipe until l'Accademia has it available directly either from their website or a new edition of La Cucina. What say ye ? --TXEB (talk) 02:15, 3 March 2012 (UTC)

Thanks for discussing this further. I'd removed it before seeing this response, given my concerns above (20:53, 2 March 2012) - WP:NOTHOWTO and the fact that the recipe is included elsewhere as a reference. I've restored it to make this discussion easier.
Given that it is a reference, why the need for the recipe? --Ronz (talk) 16:56, 4 March 2012 (UTC)
After some thought (and more editing) I concur - it should be removed. Go for it! --TXEB (talk) 17:28, 4 March 2012 (UTC)
Done ! TXEB (talk) 19:25, 4 March 2012 (UTC)
Once both recipes are published on the Accademia site, they should both be referenced. The paradox of an update to a traditional recipe by a self appointed custodian is of historical and academic interest.

It was useful to publish the recipe on wikipedia, since not everyone would be able to translate Italian and would understand soffritto and cartella of skirt/plate. Ingredients such as the "panna di cottura di un litro di latte intero" are uncommon outside of Italy (or at least Italian communities) and therefore deserve some explanation to assist the budding bolognese enthusiast. Wikipedia seems like the best place to clarify the translation(s) of the two recipes, since there is no authoritative English translation. If one did not speak Italian, a person would struggle to understand the ingredients list and would be unable to recreate the authentic recipe.

My take on it is that anything that encourages people to make a meat-based rather than sugary tomato-based ragu is a GoodThing(TM)

Lead image and the Spag Bol redirect[edit]

I've moved an image of (so-called) "spaghetti bolognese" out of the lead and into the Spaghetti Bolognese section at the foot of the page. The main subject of this page is clearly Bolognese sauce, ie ragù alla bolognese. That sauce itself has nothing to do with spaghetti: as the lead correctly states, It is customarily used to dress tagliatelle and may also be used to prepare "lasagne alla bolognese".

I would also suggest rerouting the Spaghetti Bolognese and Spag Bol redirects to Bolognese_sauce#Spaghetti_Bolognese.

MistyMorn (talk) 16:58, 11 November 2012 (UTC)

Good catch! --Ronz (talk) 18:21, 11 November 2012 (UTC)
Thanks. Three redirects done (and duly noted). —MistyMorn (talk) 18:55, 11 November 2012 (UTC)

List of common misconceptions?[edit]

I have proposed misconception/s outlined on the present page for inclusion: please see Talk:List_of_common_misconceptions#Spaghetti_bolognese. —MistyMorn (talk) 14:31, 15 November 2012 (UTC)

Duplicated line in top paragraph and 'Evolution and Variations'[edit]

I noticed a duplicate line that should probably be changed. The very first paragraph has a sentence that says: Genuine ragù alla bolognese is a complex sauce which involves slow cooking using a variety of techniques, including sweating, sautéing and braising.

The line is virtually repeated in the fourth paragraph in the section 'Evolution and Variations': Ragù alla bolognese is a complex sauce which involves a variety of cooking techniques, including sweating, sautéing and braising. (talk) 20:56, 4 January 2014 (UTC)

Yes, thanks for pointing that out. But the repetition is there because the opening lead section provides a brief summary of the main article. Maybe the lead could say it a bit more simply though... (talk) 20:13, 29 January 2014 (UTC)

Bolognese sauce[edit]

It's not true! The so-called "spaghetti bolognese" is the most typical dish of spaghetti in the Italia cousin just after the "spaghetti al pomodoro" dish! It's called "spaghetti al ragù" and they eat it instead of the spaghetti with meatballs dish. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:08, 12 January 2014 (UTC)

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