Bolognese – it's a comfort food classic. We've all had a go at cooking a version of this Italian staple, and opinions are strong on what makes the perfect bolognese. So we've sourced a few tricks of the trade to help you upgrade your ragu to impress your guests next time you fancy cooking up a storm.
San Marzano tomatoes, every time – Made in Italy, London
The chefs at Made in Italy swear by San Marzano tomatoes to make an unbeatable bolognese. These are considered to be the pinnacle of plum tomatoes – they're sweeter and have a slight acidity that helps balance out rich meaty dishes, like a ragu. Mixed herbs will give your sauce an extra lift, too.
Slow and steady – Amici Miei, London
Amici Miei's chefs achieve bolognese brilliance with a classic soffritto base of carrots, celery and onions. They use a combination of beef and pork to start their perfect ragu, and add red wine and tomatoes. But their top tip is to give this sauce a lot of love by cooking it for at least eight hours, with extra broth added along the way when it's needed. Patience is definitely a virtue with this recipe, but what a pay-off in the end!
A very good red – Benedicto's, Worcester
Tano, owner of Benedicto's in Worcester, says the secret to a perfect bolognese is red wine. But they're not talking about any old bottle, it has to be a full-bodied Chianti. Brits love a 'spag bol', but in Italy a classic bolognese is served with tagliatelle, which is what Benedicto's uses for their dish. That's because the long, thick ribbons are better at picking up a robust ragu, so more sauce sticks to your pasta than if you use spaghetti.
Mix up the meats – Jamie's Italian, nationwide
As you'd expect with a bolognese from Jamie's Italian, it starts out by sticking to tradition with a soffritto base, cooked until translucent and sweet. They also go in with tomatoes and, like Benedicto's, use a hearty Tuscan Chianti for the sauce. But their trick for a perfect bolognese lies in a mixture of minced beef and pork, with pancetta, as Ed Loftus, their global Director of Food and Development, explains. "The grind on the meat can't be too fine – if it's a little bit coarse, it gives a better result. I love mincing some pancetta with my pork to give a beautiful smoky flavour."
So there you have it – top bolognese tricks to impress your mates with next time you order in or rustle up your own culinary masterpiece.