You don’t really know what it is until you eat it in Bologna. The dish, which is simply called “pasta bolognese” in our latitudes, is much more than a recipe for meat sauce. Our favorite tables.
To get around, let’s start with some vocabulary, a prelude to a gastronomic journey through the lands of what is nicknamed “La Grassa”. Because our dear “bolognese” spaghetti, which we have all tasted or prepared one day in our French kitchens, has no equivalent in Bologna. To discover the dish that inspired the transalpine version, you’ll have to order much more noble tagliatelle with ragù bolognese.
Let’s start from the base: sfoglia, a thin piece of dough made from soft wheat flour and eggs, patiently stretched by hand with a rolling pin. Folded and folded back on itself, then cut (tagliata) with a knife, hence the name. Now let’s get to the sauce, that bolognese ragu, the real one, whose name comes from the French term ragoûter, awakens the taste. Submitted to the Bologna Chamber of Commerce in 1982, the official recipe calls for the use of beef and pork to enrich the tomato sauce in which finely chopped onions, carrots and celery simmer. You don’t have to be in a hurry: the ragout must cook for at least two hours on low heat to allow all its aromas to emerge.
To sublimate the fruit of so much work, nothing like Tagliatelle, pasta that has the property of absorbing the sauce, unlike spaghetti that is way too smooth and slippery. As for the width of Tagliatelle, the perfect measurement exists, also deposited with the Chamber of Commerce in 1972. To find it, calculate a 12.270 from the Torre degli Asinelli, emblematic monument in the city center, or more simply 8 millimeters. This shows us how the Bolognese take cooking seriously without ever losing their characteristic irony. On the way, under the porticoes of beautiful Bologna, let’s discover five addresses where tagliatelle al ragu rise to the rank of art. One last thing: to make it more local, pronounce the Italian sound correctly gl- kind of wet in – say ta-ya-té-llé.
Trattoria Anna Maria
Anna Marie is the name of the owner of this restaurant, located in a quiet area characterized by porticoes, under which art students come and go. His reign began in 1985, with the opening of this address destined to become an important stop for anyone taking the grand tour of Bolognese restaurant. Over the years, the most famous and anonymous customers have left pictures, messages, thanks or drawings on the walls. A mosaic of frames that tells the history of the establishment and whets the appetite. First of all, order a charcuterie platter and then ask for the famous one Tagliatellewhich you will be offered classic, or green, a version whose dough is enriched with spinach.
Trattoria Anna Maria. Via delle Belle Arti, 17/a. 40126 Bologna. Such. : +39 051266894.
When he opened just over fifteen years ago, Daniele Minarelli had clear ideas: to make his restaurant a place to celebrate the excellence of local products. In a more contemporary atmosphere, but which retains the spirit of the old osteria, customers enjoy traditional dishes made with purchased products. Try as an appetizer culatello di zibello, a product with the slow food label, or choose a plate of the famous mortadella, a Bolognese product par excellence. So of course tagliatelle al ragu or to change, a variant, the ragù bianco di vitello, made without tomato coulis and made with veal. Don’t forget to book, the osteria has an excellent reputation and sells out quickly!
All’Osteria Bottega. Via Santa Caterina, 51. 40123 Bologna. Such. : +39 051585111.
Trattoria della Santa
In Bologna, the gates are a blessing. They cover most pedestrian areas and allow circulation without getting wet during the autumn rains and shelter from the sun in summer. Sometimes, as at this trattoria, a few tables take advantage of the shade and coolness of the verandas to allow customers to dine outside. A family address with its regular clientele of locals who know they will enjoy the day’s fresh pasta in sauce al ragu or in the form of excellent tortellini with walnuts and gorgonzola.
Trattoria della Santa. Via Urbana, 7/F 40123 Bologna. Such. : +39 051330415.
Trattoria Da Vito
In the Cirenaica district, a kind of modern suburb built in the 1910s, the Da Vito trattoria justifies the foray outside the old city walls. Porta San Vitale, the former Jewish ghetto and the Basilica of Santo Stefano are only a few minutes away, but already the atmosphere is changing and becoming less touristy. The decor of the restaurant, a little nostalgic, reminds of the time when trattoria was the haunt of Bolognese singers, from Lucio Dalla to Francesco Guccini, a local kid. Ragù tagliatelle has been at the same price for years: €7.50 per plate. A popular price that allows everyone to visit the premises, in a happy mix.
Trattoria Da Vito. Via Mario Musolesi, 9a 40138 Bologna. Such. : +39 051349809.
In a modern setting with decor that an Instagram follower wouldn’t reject, this address offers an interesting concept. In the first room, sales of fresh pasta to take away, to cook at home. The adjoining room has a large communal table where you can sit for lunch and smaller intimate tables. The products are just as fresh, and the traditional recipes at affordable prices. Practical and quick to taste the famous tagliatelle al ragù or another local pasta specialty, such as tortellini, served in broth in winter, when the days are freezing.
Sfoglia Rina. Via Castiglione, 5/b 40124 Bologna. Such. : +39 0519911710.