Searching For the Best Bolognese Sauce in Bologna, Italy
If we could describe the best Bolognese, it’d start with garden grown carrots, celery and onion bursting with flavor, carefully selected fresh mince, and the finest juiciest wine combined with a few other staple ingredients. Then it’s slow cooked for 4-5 hours till mouth wateringly aromatic and perfectly tender before finally earning its signature name.
Bolognese is a basic dish with simple flavor made with easy to find ingredients but it’s anything but simple when it comes to how good it tastes. We wanted to find the tastiest version of this classic dish so we headed to the city that started it all. Vincenzo’s Plate is in Bologna, Italy with Tina’s Table in search of the best Bolognese sauce, Ragu Bolognese.
Our first stop is Sfoglia Rina
Fifty years ago, Sfoglia Rina was a small pasta shop. Today it’s a flourishing company that tries to keep up with the changing times all white not losing sight of tradition.
While Sfoglia Rina is still a pasta shop, they also have tables and serve all of the traditional pasta shapes in addition to other creative shapes… and of course, they are all rolled up by hand.
Sitting down at a table reminiscent of warm, Sunday lunches in the kitchen of grandma, their best version of the Bolognese sauce, Tagliatelle with bolognese ragout, held a very delicate flavor bursting will smells of tradition. It was a lovely dish that definitely had us wanting another serving.
Second stop is Ragū
Ragū offers two different kinds of Bolognese so of course we had to stop here and try them both! They have a modern take on the sauce that still simmers in tradition as well as an older recipe with some ingredients we just had to try.
Tagliatelle with ragu, the classic beef and pork minced meat sauce and then the Tagliatelle ancient recipe ragu, offal cuts with pork belly and chicken livers. The key here according to Tina is that the livers can be a very good addition to a making a delicious Bolognese dish but only if used subtly.
Here at Ragū the environment is casual and open to anyone that wants to come by and order awesome Italian dishes. If you’re here in Bologna, Italy on a budget but want high end quality, it’s a good place as all of their dishes on their small menu show the passion they have for their creations.
Ragū’s version of this classic dish has a thicker cut rustic style pasta and the sauce beautifully coats every inch. With its own unique flavor and texture, it holds a richer taste with the beef and carrots being more lusciously prominent.
For the ancient recipe, you’ll find chunkier pieces of meat throughout the dish and a very rich flavor as well. Between the aromas and rustic pasta, tender meat, and strong flavor, this is definitely a dish that can only be found in Italy.
Our final stop in Bologna is Ristorante Donatello
Donatello Restaurant in Bologna has been serving traditional Bolognese cuisine since 1903. Their menu offers a rich selection of traditional local cuisine. From first course dishes to the second course meat dishes, from typical local appetizers to homemade desserts.
Their version of Bolognese sauce held a bold fusion of the different meats. The beef and pork flavors were delicious! We were told that no water or other liquid is used in this recipe because of the cut of meat and quality of the fats that come from it.
The pasta held a wonderful balance of thin and thick, was tender but springy, definitely proving to be a well-made dough. Overall and with the final notes of the wine, it was a delightful dish.
What is in the Best Bolognese Sauces in Bologna
When trying to find the best Bolognese sauce in Bologna, you’ll find the ingredients can vary depending on the chef; so it’s not a 100% match up when comparing. You’ll always find onions, carrots, celery in there and never any herbs – those are the only things every dish will have in common. From there, the choice of fat range from butter to Olive oil to lard. A delicious blend of beef pork is in the dish, or sometimes just beef. Although it can be considered “sacrilegious” to some, veal is used on occasion as you’ll see on Vincenzo’s Plate authentic Bolognese sauce recipe here. Another twist to the recipe is making it with chicken livers and Tina’s Table breaks it down perfectly in her Ragù Bolognese recipe here. Tomato paste and broth or just tomato puree is also in there. Some say milk covers the other ingredients too much, others say it makes it more delicate. So, we leave that choice up to the chef. And finally, wine. If you want a more delicate dish, use white wine. If stronger, use red wine.
Every dish was uniquely delicious and a must try if you find yourself also looking for the best Bolognese sauce in Bologna. Nothing less than iconic, rich, and mouthwatering, this traditional meat sauce is heaven (but in Italy).