Spaghetti Bolognese (which is affectionately known as Spag Bol in the UK) is consumed by millions of people in Europe and around the world. But is Spaghetti Bolognese an authentic Italian dish?
No Real Authentic Ragu Bolognese
Even though Spaghetti Bolognese might look like an authentic Italian dish, in truth it is not all an authentic Italian dish. Spaghetti Bolognese was invented outside of Italy.
According to the Bolognese chapter of the Accademia Italiana della Cucina, there are a lot of recipes for Ragù alla Bolognese out there, but the closest recipes bear no actual resemblance to the dish known the world over as Bolognese or Bolognaise, outside of Italy. Moreover, Ragù alla Bolognese is not served over spaghetti, as this pasta does not hold the sauce together in the same way as other varieties do. Ragù alla Bolognese is served over fettuccine or tagliatelle.
The Closest Authentic Recipe
Although Spaghetti Bolognese is not an authentic Italian recipe, on 17 October, 1982, the Bolognese chapter of the Accademia Italiana della Cucina stated that the basic ingredients to an authentic Ragù alla Bolognese contains tagliatelle or fettuccine, minced beef, unsmoked pancetta, carrots, celery, onion, triple concentrated tomato puree, red or white wine, fresh milk, olive oil and black pepper. The milk helps prevent the meat sauce from drying out and it also mellows out the acidity from the tomatoes.
The Academy allows the addition of porcini mushrooms, without compromising on the authenticity of the dish. Rather than whipping up a quick meal in less than an hour, an authentic Ragù alla Bolognese can take up to 3 or 4 hours to slowly cook, as the wonderful flavours and ingredients come together to produce a rich-tasting, delicious meal.
Spaghetti Bolognese is a tasty dish when cooked well, but it is not an authentic Italian dish. Ragù alla Bolognese consists of tagliatelle or fettuccine, minced beef, unsmoked pancetta, carrots, celery, onion, triple concentrated tomato puree, red or white wine, fresh milk, olive oil and black pepper, all of which are slowly simmered until the meat breaks down and the flavours come together to produce a rich-tasting sauce.
Culinaria Italia – Italian Food and Cooking