When thinking about Italian cuisine, it’s easy to get caught up in daydreams of gelato and spaghetti and simple pizzas with Burrata and basil; however, the original Italian dish comes from the Bolognese countryside. Comprised of rustic ingredients local to the area, the ragu alla bolognese represents the true sweet spot between nutrition and comfort food. However, did ragu alla bolognese actually originate in Bologna?
A Brief History of Bolognese
The earliest record we have of ragu alla bolognese does come from a nineteenth-century cookbook describing it as the wholesome dish most commonly served in Bologna. Comprised of soft tagliatelle noodles covered with a slow-cooked vegetable and meat ragu, bolognese was a simply made and incredibly tender one-pot meal that became an instant trend.
Chefs all around the globe instantly put their own spin on the dish. While the original ragu alla bolognese called for all of the meat and vegetables to be minced finely, some decided to leave the vegetables whole for a more rustic feel; others upped the ratio of tomatoes in the dish to make it feel a little lighter. These variations helped make the dish more universal, as bolognese is incredibly easy to tweak based on flavor and texture preferences.
Making the ragu is easy, but it uses age-old Italian cooking techniques, including the making of a soffritto. The soffritto is the mixture of herbs and spices that simmers in the bottom of the pot, perfuming the home with its aromas and imbuing the meat and vegetables with mouth-watering flavor. While ragu alla bolognese has changed in the years since it was first invented, the soffritto has not changed.
Now, ragu alla bolognese is popular the world over! In fact, a 2014 study showed that bolognese is enjoyed most frequently by gourmands living in Britain and Germany. Many people know bolognese as the sauce component of Spaghetti bolognese. In many kitchens, spaghetti is an easy swap for the more hard-to-find tagliatelle. Regardless of its variations and how widely this pasta recipe comes to be enjoyed, there will always be a soft spot in the hearts of the Italians for this classic, delicious dish.
If you’re looking to try ragu alla bolognese in its most authentic form, you can’t go wrong by visiting a prestigious Italian restaurant! Ordering this classic dish can transport you back to a time when food was prepared simply and enjoyed to its fullest extent. Try Nico Ristorante today!