The winter months are creeping upon us quicker than we’d hoped for. However, the thought of chunky sweaters, red wine and delicious warm bowls of pasta from Cucina Rustica is making us dread it slightly less!Pappardelle Bolognese is one of the most popular dishes we serve. Bolognese has been around since the late 18th century so there are many variations, adding carrots, cream or even using pork instead of beef. At Cucina, we obviously think we make the best one outside of Italy but don’t just take our word for it!We’ve pulled together our tips on how to make the ultimate comfort Bolognese yourself, at home, during the colder Autumnal months. However, if it doesn’t go quite how you’d hoped, you can always come in for one of ours!


As you’ve probably noticed we call our dish Pappardelle Bolognese, rather than the more well-known, Spaghetti Bolognese. We use pappardelle instead of spaghetti as spaghetti is too thin for a rich heavy ragu sauce to stick to. Pappardelle is a thin wide strip of pasta so it can hold the sauce better, rather than it dripping all down your face and onto the floor! Spaghetti is better for a lighter creamy oil based sauce such as our Spaghetti allo Scoglio.


Never rush a bolognese, good things take time. Cooking it for anything less than an hour is seen as rushed. We recommend 1.5 – 2 hours cooking time, or as much time you can spare the better. Start cooking the meat on a high temperature and cook until it is browned, to give your dish even more flavour. Once the meat is done, you can cook the rest of the dish on a lower heat for the recommended time. We suggest cooking the bolognese in a cast iron or heavy stainless steel pot as this will ensure the meat doesn’t burn during the gradual cooking process. Cooking the bolognese the night before and leaving it in the fridge overnight will give your dish an even more delicious flavour.


So as you know the base ingredients for a recipe are very important. Bolognese is a simple and straightforward dish to make, so it’s important to get the core ingredients right. You should go for a coarse mince that is not too lean, otherwise the sauce will become dry. Tomato puree can be added to give it a deeper and richer flavour. It can also take away some of the acidity from the tomatoes if you add it at the beginning of the cooking process. In our last blog post we told you about the best wine to use when cooking Italian food. For bolognese, we recommend using a dry red wine such as Merlot or Pinot Noir. Finally, of course you need to be using the right cheese. We would recommend parmesan. Buy a block rather than ready grated as it can begin to lose its flavour once grated. Parmesan finishes it off, adding a bold flavour and complementing the rest of the dish.

So now you now know how to cook the perfect Pappardelle Bolognese. However, if you don’t fancy cooking, you’re always welcome to come in for a heavenly bowl of pasta to warm you up as the cold evenings start setting in.