Spaghetti Bolognese gibt es gar nicht!

Der in Golm lebende Doktorand am Max-Planck-Institut für Gravitationsphysik und gelegentliche Naturfotograf für unsere Zeitung, Matteo Broccoli aus Bologna, räumt hier mit einem Mythos auf. Spaghetti Bolognese gibt es gar nicht! Eigentlich! Bologna ist, wie jeder denkt, die Heimat der „spaghettie alla bolognese“, doch kann man es dort nirgendwo bekommen. Das Originalgericht wird mit natürlich selbst gemachten Tagliatelle angerichtet und die zugehörige Sauce heißt „ragù alla bolognese“. Das Gericht wurde zuerst 1917 in dem amerikanischen Kochbuch “Practical Italian recipes for American kitchens” mit Spaghetti kombiniert und als Spaghetti Bolognese bezeichnet. Im Gegensatz zu Tagliatelle enthalten Spaghetti kein Ei und sind für die Massenproduktion geeignet. Laut Matteo sind Tagliatelle sehr viel besser für dieses Essen geeignet, weil sie eine raue Oberfläche haben und die Sauce besser aufnehmen – und selbstgemacht natürlich viel besser schmecken.
Buon appetito!

© Bilder: Matteo Broccoli

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The Italian city of Bologna has many nicknames, two of which are due to its world-renowned excellence. It is said ‘Bologna la Dotta’ (the erudite), because of its university Alma Mater Studiorum, which was founded in 1088 and is thus the oldest university in the world still in operation. It is also said ‘Bologna la Grassa’ (the fat) because of its appreciated culinary tradition, which became famous outside Bologna with the successful sauce ragù alla bolognese, mentioned in the 1891 Italian cookbook by Pellegrino Artusi La scienza in cucina e l’arte di mangiare bene (Science in the Kitchen and the Art of Eating Well). Then, the Bolognese ragù gained worldwide success thanks to spaghetti alla bolognese. However, while the university is undoubtedly in Bologna, the spaghetti alla bolognese are nowhere to be found in the city. Oddly enough, the famous dish is not part of the culinary tradition of Bologna! Indeed, the pasta which is traditionally served with ragù is actually tagliatelle. The spaghetti alla bolognese were first mentioned in the 1917 American cookbook “Practical Italian recipes for American kitchens”, in which the author suggests serving ragù with spaghetti. In contrast to tagliatelle, spaghetti contains no eggs and is easier to mass-produce and transport, so that the success was immediate, and the dish could also be prepared as tinned food. But in Bologna, where there is an old tradition of fresh home-made pasta, you will only find tagliatelle al ragù, for the simple reason that it is so much better than spaghetti! Tagliatelle is a ribbon-like type of long pasta, that has a rough surface which provides an ideal grip for the ragù, so that every forkful is an incredibly tasteful balance of pasta and ragù! Also, it is an easy dish to make at home, and I provide you with the traditional recipe below if you want to try it yourself!

There is an official recipe for the ragù bolognese, which was registered by Bologna’s section of the Accademia Italiana della Cucina (Italian Cooking Academy) to Bologna’s Chamber of Commerce on 17 October 1982, and for 4 portions it goes like this:

Cut 150 g of bacon (Fig.1) into cubes and then finely chop it and melt it in a terracotta or thick aluminium pot of about twenty centimetres in diameter. Add three tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil or 50 g of butter and the finely chopped herbs (50 g of carrot, 50 g of celery and 50 g of onion, Fig.2) and let it dry gently. Add 300 g of minced beef pulp (Fig.1) (or belly or shoulder) and mix well with a ladle making it brown until it "sizzles". Add half glass of red wine and mix gently until it has completely evaporated. Add 300 g of tomato sauce or tomatoes, cover and let it simmer for about two hours (Fig.3) adding some broth when necessary; towards the end, add one glass of milk to dampen the acidity of the tomato. When the sauce is ready, it is customary to add half a glass of cream if it is to season dry pasta. For tagliatelle its use is to be excluded.

To prepare delicious tagliatelle at home, you can proceed in this way:
Place 300 g of white flour on a pastry board, pour 3 eggs and a pinch of salt in the centre (Fig.4). Mix the eggs (Fig.5) and work vigorously until you get a firm and homogeneous dough (Fig.6). Let it rest for at least half an hour covered in cling film, then roll it out with a rolling pin until you get a sheet 35 cm wide and just under a millimetre thick and let it dry for about 10 minutes (Fig.7). Then, roll the dough with the help of the rolling pin (Fig.8), remove the rolling pin and cut strips of about half a centimetre (Fig.9). Unfold the tagliatelle and leave them to dry for at least 10 minutes.
To cook the tagliatelle, set a large pot with plenty of water and a pinch of salt on the stove. When it comes to a boil, add the tagliatelle and cook for 3-5 minutes. Drain them well and serve with hot ragù (Fig.10).
Buon appetito!
Matteo Broccoli
PhD student at the Albert-Einstein-Institute, Golm

© Bilder: Matteo Broccoli