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Member recipe

Ultimate Bolognese Sauce

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Serves 4

Ultimate Bolognese Recipe by Heston - Not the easiest, but certainly the best!

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  • 50ml groundnut (peanut) oil
  • 50g unsalted butter
  • 100g onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 star anise
  • 150g carrot, finely chopped
  • 4 sticks celery, peeled (with a peeler) and finely chopped
  • 300g best-quality minced beef, not too lean (a mix of beef, veal and/or pork could also be used)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 150ml whole milk
  • Nutmeg (whole, for grating)
  • 150ml dry white wine
  • 375g tinned tomatoes, with juice
  • 500g dried tagliatelle


    1. Preheat the oven to its lowest setting (110C/ 225F/Gas Mark ). Put the oil and butter in a large casserole with a lid and add the onion, garlic and star anise.
    2. Cook over a low heat for 30 minutes. Add the chopped carrots and continue cooking for another 20 minutes, then add the celery and cook for a further couple of minutes. Tip in the mince and press down on it gently, so it is integrated into the vegetables, and cook.
    3. Generously season the meat mixture and add the milk. Grate over some nutmeg and cook gently for at least 30 minutes, until the milk has just about disappeared.
    4. Add the white wine and tomatoes, stir through, then place in the oven, with the lid of the casserole slightly ajar. Cook for at least six hours. It probably won't be necessary, but if the meat starts to look dry, add a drop of water.
    5. After cooking, some fat will have split and risen to the surface, but don't worry about that. When the sauce has finished cooking, it should be rich and moist.
    6. Check for seasoning -be generous with the freshly ground black pepper. Serve with the pasta, cooked according to packet instructions, and some freshly grated parmigiano.

Comments, questions and tips

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sue m's picture
sue m
28th Jan, 2019
Definitely not Blumenthal, this sauce was a savoury mince, not bolognaise.
14th Sep, 2016
Good recipe except one thing. Heston would not suggest putting the mince in with the veg. Rather, remove the veg from the casserole, turn up the heat, brown the meat (in batches, if necessary to avoid stewing it). Then remove meat, deglaze the pan with some of the wine and add everything back in.
8th Mar, 2017
Apart from that time he did, in the Guardian.
25th Jan, 2013
As a vegetarian, I make this with Quorn mince, which I'm sure is sacrilege to meat-eaters, though it really works. It's not actually complicated, but just a question of time. If you have that, it's really worth it.
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