Hello, my name is Martin. Welcome to Bolognese Bolognese!
Spaghetti bolognese was pronounced the UK’s favourite family meal in a 2018 survey. That luscious red tomato sauce, mixed with beef mince and poured over delicious strands of pasta is the ultimate Italian crowd pleaser for grownups and kids alike.
One of the many charms of a bolognese is that it often represents a journey. Most amateur cooks will start with a jar and choose from one of the many options available in a competitive spaghetti sauce market.
Some will transcend the jar and and build a bolognese off their own backs. This is when things really start to heat up!
Bolognese then becomes the ultimate DIY job. Whether you’re searching for the authentic flavour or the secret twist - bolognese is the gift that keeps on giving, as each bolognese is a progression of the last.
After years of randomly adding a pinch of this and a dash of that, I decided I wanted to understand the dish on a deeper level.
So, I set out on the next bolognese journey. I wanted to know what could officially be called the original and authentic bolognese. This turns out to be a challenging opening position as “authentic”, “original” and “official” are often conflated to mean the same thing, when in fact, they can each tell their own story.
I started with what I knew, and reverse engineered the Dolmio Spag Bol I had grown up with. Next came the “official” 1982 L’Accademia Italiana Della Cucina - Tagliatelle al Ragù alla Bolognese.
Successfully recreating an officially recognised and recorded dish sounds like it should be a formality. However, after immersing myself in a warm bath of bolognese (metaphorically at least), I decided the internet could not offer a single satisfactory English language translation of this dish that captures all the subtleties required to recreate exactly what l’Accademia had in mind.
At this point I was hooked and there was no turning back! I delved into centuries of sughi to understand how my favourite dish had evolved into what it is today. I was surprised how much of this history was from the recent past
From the outset, I couldn’t have imagined I’d learn so much about Italian cooking, culture, class, ingredients and cooking techniques. I didn’t anticipate the bolognese story would be so enlightening and so enjoyable.
At the end of this journey I realised a few things about my own cooking.
I’d inadvertently developed bolognese super powers!
I knew when to respect the rules, when to bend the rules and when to break the rules!
So please, like a good ragù, take your time over our little corner of the internet and explore the most brilliant bologneses and rich ragùs for the whole family to enjoy!