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Braised Beef Bolognese with Pappardelle

In early 2019, the mayor of Bologna launched an aggressive social media campaign to fix the muddied history of his city's famous pasta dish. This rolled out after the mayor came across a store-front sign in London that advertised "spaghetti bolognese" for nine dollars. He took the disgraceful image personally and blasted it on Twitter, encouraging others to share pictures of "fake bolognese."

Traditional bolognese sauce is served on thick pasta—not spaghetti—to keep the sauce from dripping off; evidently, however, non-Italians adopted the less elegant style. The difference in recipes likely stems from post-World War II soldiers, who, having toured across Italy and France, returned home with a fuzzy perception of the dishes they ate.

Prep: 10 min | Cooking: 30 min | Total: 40 min

Serves 4


  • Olive oil (1 tbsp)

  • Butter (2 tbsp)

  • Onions, diced (2/3 cup)

  • Fresh garlic, minced (3 cloves)

  • Carrots, diced (2/3 cup)

  • Celery, chopped (3/4 cup)

  • Ground beef (.75 lb.)

  • Nutmeg (1/4 tsp)

  • Salt (1 tsp)

  • Ground black pepper (1/2 tsp)

  • White wine (1 cup)

  • Half-and-half cream (1/2 cup)

  • Tomatoes (one 28-oz. can)

  • Basil, coarsely chopped (8 leaves)

  • Pappardelle pasta


  1. Heat oil and butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and garlic and saute for 5 minutes. Add carrots and celery and saute for another 5 minutes. Add beef, season with nutmeg, salt, and black pepper, and cook until browned. Work to chop up big clumps of meat as you stir.

  2. Once beef is browned, add in wine and cream and stir continuously until most of the liquid has evaporated. Add tomatoes and basil, reduce heat to low, and simmer for up to 4 hours (but a minimum of 15 minutes). The longer the simmer, the better the flavor.

  3. During the last 10 minutes of the sauce simmering process, cook pappardelle according to package instructions (typically: add pasta to boiling water and cook until tender). Drain pasta, plate, and ladle a helping of sauce on top. Serve.

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