Ragù alla Bolognese

Most things are better when categorized as baby.   Something about the addition of that word insinuates the superlative.  It’s tantamount to decadence.  On your shoulders: Baby lynx.  On your plate: Baby lettuce.  Baby spinach.  Baby back ribs.  So can you guess the magic ingredient here?  Veal, of course.  For no beef is as tender or as tasty as that of the calf.  I don’t make up the rules.  Baby cows are just more delicious.  That said, if using veal bothers you then substitute it.  But I promise it won’t be as tasty.



4 rashers of bacon/pancetta chopped

2 packs of ground veal

1 pack of ground pork

1 large onion

3 cloves of garlic

1 large carrot

1 rib of celery including the leaves

1 can of chopped tomatoes

several sprigs of thyme

dry white wine

1/2 cup of stock or 1 bouillon cube (beef is preferable but chicken will do)

olive oil

salt & pepper




Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large saucepan and brown the bacon.




Next add the chopped vegetables.  Sauté for a few minutes until the onions start to caramelize.




Add the bouillon cube if you’ve not got stock then the ground meats and fresh thyme.  Brown the meat over medium-low heat.




Then add the can of crushed tomatoes and half a can of white wine.  Or if you’ve got good stock, add a half cup of that and just a splash of wine.  Allow everything to simmer for at least two hours.  This will give the ingredients time to emulsify.   If you cook this properly, nice and slow, your end result will be rich and savory.




Serve with your favorite pasta and top with Parmigiano-Reggiano, flat leaf parsley, and a few basil leaves.







10 thoughts on “Ragù alla Bolognese

  1. Jeez–have a heart–Don’t promote the use of veal! Calves raised for veal are forced to spend their short lives in crates that are 30 inches wide and 72 inches long. They can’t exercise or even stand in order to produce tender “gourmet” veal. And because of their confinement, they have a long list of diseases. After enduring 12 to 23 weeks in these torturous conditions, these babies—many of whom can barely walk because of sickness or muscle atrophy—are crowded into metal trucks for transport to the slaughterhouse. It’s bad enough we kill them, do we have to torture them first?

    • I agree with you. Animals should not be tortured before we eat them. I don’t know where you live, but I live in London. Veal crates have been banned here in the UK. In fact, they’re outlawed in all countries in the EU. I like to know where my meat comes from and that it had a good life before winding up on my plate. The butcher I frequent is The Ginger Pig. As they say on their website, “At the heart of everything we do is good animal husbandry and welfare; livestock that is looked after well in the field will simply taste better on the plate.” I agree with this completely. About their veal, they write, “We also select Limousin veal from Rungis market in France each week, which is reared for its eating quality alone as opposed to a byproduct of the dairy industry. Calves are reared outdoors with their mother until slaughter, and so their tender, flavoursome meat benefits from both mothers’ milk and pasture grazing.” If you do live in London and you eat meat, I suggest you check them out.


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