Tagliatelle Bolognese

5 from 2 votes

Creamy and decadent, tagliatelle bolognese features an incredible ragu sauce made with pancetta, beef, and Italian sausage simmered alongside wine, garlic and onions, and curated Italian spices. It’s a completely satisfying, mouthwatering meal!

overhead: a plate of tagliatelle bolognese with burrata and fresh basil on top

We’ve all had pasta and meat sauce served about a thousand different ways… but have you ever tried tagliatelle bolognese?

It’s a dish with origins in Northern Italy where tagliatelle pasta was first prepared. It’s traditionally served with a hearty meat sauce that pools and rests on the surface of the wide and flat noodles. Top with creamy burrata cheese and it’s perfecto!

This tagliatelle bolognese recipe involves slow-cooking the ragu (bolognese), giving you plenty of time to prepare a side of crusty bread or a fresh Mediterranean salad! It’s a versatile sauce you could use to prepare baked ziti, polenta, or other pasta favorites.

overhead closeup: tagliatelle bolognese recipe in a cast iron skillet

I recommend serving with fresh burrata — when you cut into it, the buttery cheese spills over the dish like a second, creamy sauce! You could also serve it with classic parmesan or even spiced marinated feta for a hint of something special.

To enjoy tagliatelle without meat, serve with marinara instead.

closeup: cooking carrots, onion, celery, and pancetta in a skillet with a wooden spoon stirring

Tip From Kevin

Tagliatelle or Fettuccini

The word “tagliatelle” comes from the Italian verb “tagliare,” which means “to cut.” Tagliatelle is a type of pasta characterized by its long, flat ribbons or strips. The name reflects the method of preparation, where the pasta dough is rolled out and cut into these distinctive wide noodles before being cooked and served with various sauces.

Tagliatelle is similar to fettuccine, but there are subtle differences. Tagliatelle is typically narrower, about 6.5 to 10 mm wide, while fettuccine is wider, ranging from 6 to 20 mm. The variations in width contribute to differences in texture and how well each type holds sauces.

overhead: sauce for tagliatelle bolognese with a wooden spoon cooking in a slow cooker

Ingredient Notes and Substitutions

  • Spice Mix – Hot black peppercorns are blended with:
    • Bay Leaf 
    • Fennel Seeds Note that two teaspoons of fennel seeds equals 2 ½ teaspoons of ground. 
    • Cloves The best substitutes are allspice, nutmeg, or cardamom.
    • Red Pepper Flakes For more heat, use cayenne pepper.
    • Thyme – Earthier in its dried form, thyme is a must in meaty tomato sauces. 
  • Meats – My tagliatelle bolognese recipe contains pancetta or bacon (whichever you prefer), hot or sweet Italian sausage, and ground beef.
  • Tomato Paste & Canned Tomatoes The canned tomatoes add body while the paste adds a tremendous amount of acidity and concentrated tomato flavor. 
  • Yellow Onion – White or red onions are acceptable substitutes for yellow.
  • Garlic – You could also use prepared paste or jarred minced garlic.
  • Red Wine & Red Wine Vinegar See recommended wines for tagliatelle bolognese in the recipe card. To omit alcohol, substitute with more red wine vinegar. 
  • Whole Milk – For a creamier version, use half and half or heavy cream.  
  • Tagliatelle – While this is the ideal noodle for this recipe, go ahead and use whatever you have in your pantry!
  • Burrata – A beautifully creamy cheese, I highly recommend giving burrata a try! Otherwise, go ahead and top your tagliatelle bolognese with parmesan.
overhead: my tagliatelle bolognese recipe with burrata and fresh basil on top

How to Make Tagliatelle Bolognese

  1. Blend Spices. Combine in a small bowl and set aside. 
  2. Brown Pancetta. Add pancetta to your skillet (see recipe card for Dutch oven instructions) and brown. Once rendered and crispy, transfer to a plate lined with a paper towel and set aside.
  3. Cook Vegetables. Remove all but one tablespoon of grease from the skillet, then add the onions, carrots, and celery. Sprinkle the salt over the vegetables and cook for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and stir for another 2 minutes. 
  4. Slow Cook Sauce. Transfer to the slow cooker. Add the spices, pancetta, raw beef and sausage, wine, canned tomatoes, and paste. Stir to combine, breaking up the sausage and beef. Cover and cook for 4 hours on high. After 2 hours, add the vinegar and salt to taste. 
  5. Prepare Pasta. Just before the sauce is complete, cook the pasta in heavily salted water until al dente per package directions.
  6. Toss & Serve. Pour ½ cup of the pasta water in the slow cooker, mixing until thick and glossy. Transfer the cooked pasta to a skillet or pot with butter and toss over medium heat. Spoon the sauce over the pasta and serve tagliatelle bolognese warm with a scoop of burrata and basil.
  • Skillet – A well-seasoned cast iron skillet is so versatile in the kitchen and is great for browning meats and sauteeing vegetables. 
  • Slow Cooker – A good slow cooker is an excellent way to save time — not to mention oven and stove space!

Storing and Reheating

Leftover tagliatelle alla bolognese can be refrigerated for up to 4 days in an airtight container. 

Reheat on the stovetop, stirring regularly, or even in the microwave. The sauce flavors the noodles even more when refrigerated overnight — the leftovers will be even more delicious!

overhead: a plate of tagliatelle bolognese with burrata and fresh basil on top

Frequently Asked Questions

Should bolognese be served with spaghetti or tagliatelle?


Meaty bolognese is often served with spaghetti. Between the two, tagliatelle noodles are far more capable of scooping up the meat and vegetables in the sauce. If served with spaghetti, all of those flavorful bites will be left on the plate!

What is the difference between Italian and American bolognese?


The Italian dish is generally limited to the ingredients used in this tagliatelle bolognese recipe: beef and pork, canned tomatoes, carrots and celery, onions, milk, wine, and a few seasonings. It’s usually thicker as well. 

Like with most Americanized dishes, American bolognese just goes bigger — it often contains all of this and more. Peppers, sometimes mushrooms, a bit of broth, more herbs and spices, flavorful sauces like Worcestershire, and way more tomatoes!

Why does tagliatelle taste different from other pasta?


Eating tagliatelle is certainly a unique experience — it’s sometimes even confused for an egg noodle!

This perception has a lot to do with the texture. It’s wider, and therefore chewier, than most noodles. It also has a porous surface that allows it to soak up more sauces and seasonings, making it more flavorful when cooked.

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Tagliatelle Bolognese

5 from 2 votes
Tagliatelle bolognese is a mouthwatering Italian dish featuring savory, slow-cooked meat in a vegetable tomato sauce with al dente pasta.
Servings: 8
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 6 hours
Total: 6 hours 15 minutes

Ingredients 

Spice Mix

Bolognese

Pasta

  • 16 oz Tagliatelle or pasta of choice
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 4 oz burrata cheese or shredded Parmesan
  • leaves fresh basil for garnish

Instructions 

  • Blend the cloves, bay leaf, fennel seeds, red pepper flakes, and peppercorns in a spice mill or cleaned coffee grinder until finely ground. Set aside.
  • In a large skillet (or large pot like Dutch oven if cooking stovetop) add the cubed pancetta (or bacon) and brown until rendered and crispy. Remove from pan and place on plate lined with paper towel. Set aside.
  • In same skillet (or large pot like Dutch oven if cooking stovetop) remove all but 1 tablespoon of fat and save remaining for other use.
  • Add the onions, carrots, celery and salt, stirring as needed until golden in color, about 5-6 minutes. Add the garlic and stir, cooking another 2 minutes.
  • Add the sautéed vegetables to a slow cooker coated with cooking spray if using (or keep in large pot like Dutch oven if cooking stovetop). Stir in the spice mixture, pancetta, ground beef (uncooked), pork sausage meat (uncooked), red wine, tomatoes and tomato paste. Stir to incorporate, breaking up meat and tomatoes, top with lid. Cook for 4 hours on high setting in slow cooker or 3 hours Medium-Low heat for stovetop.
  • At the 4 hour mark, remove lid. Stir in the the milk and cook on high setting for 2 hours or until thickened and reduced (1 hour over Medium heat for large pot or Dutch oven). Stir often.
  • After 2 hours add the vinegar, stirring to incorporate, and adjust seasoning with salt if needed. NOTE: Stir in 1/2 cup pasta cooking water, mixing thoroughly until sauce is thick and glossy. Serve over your favorite pasta or use as a sauce for lasagna.
  • Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling, heavily salted water, stirring occasionally, until al dente (or package directions). Drain, reserving 1/2 cup pasta cooking liquid.
  • Toss pasta and butter in a very large skillet or pot set over medium heat. Using ladle add bolognese sauce to coat pasta and cook, adding the reserved pasta cooking liquid as needed, until sauce is thick and glossy.
  • Serve topped with a scoop of Burrata cheese (as shown), or shredded Parmesan cheese and fresh basil leaves.

Video

Notes

  1. For the wine, red or white can be used. For Red I like to use either a Cabernet Sauvignon, Chianti, Merlot and Pinot Noir. For the White, sauvignon blanc, pinot grigio or other dry white wine will do nicely.
  2. The ground beef and pork sausage meat go in raw (uncooked). No need to brown prior to adding to slow cooker.

Nutrition

Calories: 782kcal | Carbohydrates: 51g | Protein: 35g | Fat: 48g | Saturated Fat: 18g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 18g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 169mg | Sodium: 978mg | Potassium: 886mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 3230IU | Vitamin C: 11mg | Calcium: 193mg | Iron: 4mg

The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

Course: main dishes
Cuisine: Italian
Author: Kevin
Have You Made This Recipe? Let Me Know on InstagramTag @keviniscooking or tag me #keviniscooking!
titled image (and shown): tagliatelle bolognese recipe

Kevin

I was bitten by the cooking bug as a kid cooking and baking along side my mom. After an ROP restaurant course in high school, I went to work in restaurants and catering. My love of travel and food has led me across the world and I love to share those foods with family and friends.

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