Ragu vs Bolognese: Difference and Comparison

Food is a very important reflection of the culture, tradition, and way of life of the people living in any place, whether a country, a state, or a city.

The way a food is cooked, the primary ingredients used to cook a certain dish, or the staple food of someplace reflects not just the culture of that country but also the farming availabilities and even the economic condition of that place. All this can be understood just from the food that is consumed there.

Among all these various cuisines, Italian cuisine is one of the most famous cuisines in the world. Italian cuisine is famous for its simple dishes, various herbs, and cheese and wine.

Pasta is one of the most famous foods in Italian cuisine. Pizza is another such example.


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Among the given nutrients milk is a poor source of

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To bring flavor to the pasta, different kinds of sauces are used. There are many kinds of sauces, including alfredo, bolognese, pesto, ragu, etc. Ragu and Bolognese are the two most prominent ones among these.

Key Takeaways

  1. Origins: Ragu is a general term for a meat-based sauce from Italy, while Bolognese is a specific type of ragu originating from Bologna, Italy.
  2. Key ingredients: Bolognese contains ground meat, tomatoes, and a small amount of milk or cream, while ragu recipes may vary more widely and include different types of meat, vegetables, and liquids.
  3. Consistency: Bolognese sauces are thicker and richer than other ragus, which may have a thinner consistency and more varied flavours.

Ragu vs. Bolognese

Ragu is a slow-cooked meat-based sauce that originates from the northern region of Italy. Bolognese is a meat-based sauce originating from the city of Bologna in northern Italy and is made with ground beef, onions, carrots, celery, tomatoes, and a small amount of milk or cream.

Ragu vs Bolognese

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonRaguBolognese
DefinitionRagu is a meat-based sauce that uses lots of tomatoes.Bolognese uses meat, too but does not use many tomatoes as such.
Primary IngredientThe primary ingredients are meat, tomatoes, and red wine.The primary ingredients are meat and white wine.
WineRed wine.White wine.
Pasta TypeThin, spaghetti type pasta.Flat, wide pasta.
TextureThick.Relatively thin.

What is Ragu?

Ragu is a prominent, widely used, and best-tasting pasta sauce in Italian cuisine. Ragu is a meat-based sauce.

The main meat types used in this sauce are veal, pork, land, fish, or poultry. This meat is minced and diced, then tomatoes are added.

Some other vegetables and herbs added to this sauce are carrots, soffritto, and celery.

Finally, the last ingredient is red wine. It is, however, important to know that Ragu sauce has a thick and heavy texture.

This texture is attained by adding milk or cream. This cream is used to lighten the flavor and thicken the texture.

The ragu sauce originated around the late 18th Century in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy. This region had already been using meat stews extensively, and hence it was no surprise when this meat, when served with the pasta, was cooked together with it.

However, no official record of how, when, and where the Ragu sauce originated.

This sauce has diverse varieties in Italy, with the northern region focusing more on the meat side of the sauce and often used to include more than one type of meat.

In the southern region of the country, this sauce was produced in large quantities, and also, after cooking, the meat was sometimes removed and served without the pasta as a separate course.


What is Bolognese?

Bolognese is yet another kind of pasta sauce that is very prominent worldwide and a favorite of many. Another name for Bolognese is Ragu alla Bolognese.

This is because Bolognese is a variant of the Ragu sauce.

It is the most popular version of this sauce. The bolognese sauce originated in Bologna in Italy, which can be clearly understood from the name this sauce holds.

Like Ragu, this sauce also contains meat and occasionally contains more than one type in a single recipe. However, it does not contain the same amount of tomatoes as in Ragu.

The main vegetables used in this sauce are celery, onions, and carrots. Another popular dish prepared using the Bolognese sauce is the spaghetti bolognese.

It is not a traditional dish and did not even originate in Italy. However, it has now become a very famous dish worldwide.

Interestingly, the Bolognese sauce holds more in common with the Neapolitan Ragu from the South of Italy than the Northern variant of this sauce.


Main Differences Between Ragu and Bolognese

  1. The main difference between Ragu and Bolognese is that Ragu sauce is thicker in texture than Bolognese sauce.
  2. The primary ingredients of Ragu contain more tomatoes as compared to Bolognese.
  3. Ragu sauce uses red wine, while Bolognese sauce uses white wine.
  4. Ragu sauce is used for thin, spaghetti-type pasta, while Bolognese sauce is used for flat, wide-type pasta.
  5. Ragu uses milk and cream for thickening, while Bolognese does not necessarily need these.
Difference Between Ragu and Bolognese
  1. https://ijah.cgrd.org/images/Vol4No3/3.pdf
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/0140700796000060
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