A saucy dish: Tagliatelle Bolognese

A saucy dish: Tagliatelle Bolognese

Updated: May 29, 2014 03:21 PM
© David Hagerman / Bonnier © David Hagerman / Bonnier


This afternoon, as always, I am preparing the ragù my father taught me to make. He cooked it with pork in the manner of Emilia-Romagna, where I grew up.

When I moved to the town of Bevagna in Umbria, to the south, and opened my little trattoria, I chose to use beef as an homage to this region's prized Chianina, a breed of cattle whose belly has the perfect ratio of fat to lean to make a juicy, fragrant sauce.

People ask if I use butter in my bolognese. I do not. I use olive oil because the aromas of the beef fat are delicious on their own.

I mince the meat and simmer it on a low flame with olive oil; finely minced celery, carrot, and onion; a few tablespoons of a rich conserva that I make with tomatoes from my garden; and some local red wine, sagrantino. Its drying tannins contrast with the fat, and it releases the most extraordinary perfume. A couple of bay leaves, and the sauce is done.

I prepare fresh tagliatelle every day. When an order comes in, as it did just now, I throw some pasta in a pan with the ragù, a little salt, pepper, and oil, and, for creaminess and a touch of sweetness, some well-aged parmesan. Then I garnish it with whatever herbs I have growing and send it out to the dining room.

From the kitchen, I can hear my wife, Enza, wish the diner not “buon appetito,” but “buon divertimento” — have fun — because as they eat this dish, they can savor all kinds of beautiful aromas, and it's really a kind of adventure.

La Trattoria di Oscar
Piazza del Cirone 2
Bevagna, Italy

See the recipe for Tagliatelle Bolognese »

Filippo Artioli is the chef-owner of La Trattoria di Oscar.

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