A Taste of Italy {Bolognese Sauce}

While we were in Italy Christopher and I ate a lot of bolognese. We wanted to find a favorite and write down all our observations about it and then come home and recreate it. We also did this with pizza, pasta with fresh tomato and basil, and focaccia bread. We’re still working on tweaking those, but after many tries we finally have the bolognese down!

bolognese zazasWe had great bolognese all over Italy, but our favorite was from ZaZa’s in Florence.

When we got back to the States I started doing some research and tried a couple of different recipes and different combinations of recipes until I finally came across Aglio, Olio e Peperoncico’s homemade tagliatelle al ragu recipe. With just a couple of small tweaks, this was it! The bolognese we loved so much in Italy!

tagliatelleOne of the first things we discovered about bolognese in Italy is that it is always served on tagliatelle pasta. It’s a wide, super thin egg pasta. In fact, the main difference between our recipe and ZaZa’s is that our tagliatelle isn’t quite as thin because it’s store bought (Whole Foods carries this, by the way). We need to try making the pasta from scratch so we can roll it out even thinner, but for now we are using store bought pasta because it’s quicker.

bologneseAnother important thing we learned about bolognese is that the meat is always minced up. This means a bit of time standing over the stove breaking it apart, but trust me – it’s worth it in the end!

bolognese (1)Also important… the sauce needs to simmer all day long. It’s still good when it only cooks for a couple of hours, but the longer it cooks, the better! So without further ado, I give you…

bolognese (3)
bolognese{click on recipe to see larger}

bolognese (5)You can always top your tagliatelle with extra bolognese sauce even though only a few places we ate at in Italy actually did this. But it’s just so tasty, haha!

bolognese comparisonSo there you have it. ZaZa’s on the left and ours on the right. Obviously their pasta is thinner than ours so we need to try making it by hand, but other than that – the taste is spot-on! So if you are craving a taste of Italy… feel free to try this recipe out! 🙂

Love Rach

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27 responses to “A Taste of Italy {Bolognese Sauce}

  1. You are so nice to share your recipe! I’m going to pin it so I can try it later. Thank you, Rach!

  2. You two need to keep perfecting recipes like this and then have a small Italian diner or something!! Awesome job!!

    • Oh girl… don’t think that we haven’t considered it. 😛 On the plane ride home we actually wrote out a whole plan for our little cafe with authentic Italian food and coffee. It’s a dream, but one of these days… it might just happen! 😀

  3. Just pinned it and can’t wait to make it! 🙂

  4. Looks delicious! Will have to try it out soon!

  5. Oh YUM!!!! This looks fantastic and I’m sure it is since you’ve had the real deal and suggest this. I’m all in! Haha.

  6. this sounds so good, love the pinch of nutmeg in there too! i’m on a huge egg noodle kick these days too, yum!

  7. This looks amazing! I wouldn’t even know where to start when recreating that kind of recipe!

    • It was a pretty daunting task! We started with some research of the history of the recipe and how it has evolved over the years. Any recipe that sounded similar to the flavors we remembered, we pulled aside to examine. We tried a couple of different ones until we got to this particular combination. SO yummy! 🙂

  8. This sounds amazing. I’m definitely going to have to try this sometime when I have a whole day to let the sauce cook.

  9. Those noodles look SO good. Now I really just want to go to Italy even more!

  10. Oh my, this looks amazing! I was just trying to think of something to make with ground beef for supper tonight; looks like I found it!

  11. Your sauce looks delicious! I am going to have to try it 🙂

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  13. Just returned from Florence last week, ate at Zaza twice and I had the Bolognese both times! Very excited that I found your recipe, will be making it today! Sorry, didn’t catch why you save some of the “starchy cooking water”?

    • I LOVE that you just ate at Zaza’s in Florence! The bolognese IS just amazing, isn’t it?! And after re-reading through the recipe, I see that I left that part out! Yikes! Glad you noticed. You can use the starchy cooking water at your discretion. I usually pour about a tablespoon on each serving of pasta before topping with the bolognese sauce. It just helps the sauce to stick to the noodles. 🙂 Hope you enjoy! 🙂

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