Mary Berry’s ‘delicious’ bolognese recipe is ‘tender’ and ‘deeply flavoured’

Mary Berry’s Ragu bolognese

Bolognese is the best dish to warm anyone up on a cold autumn day, and this British favourite has been perfected to become even richer and more flavoursome.

Cooking legend Mary Berry has shared her “delicious” recipe on how to make bolognese in a BBC video, in which she has promised that her version of this dinner classic will taste incredible as she has a simple cooking technique to bring out the flavours in this meal.

Mary said: “Nothing beats a hearty supper when you’ve worked up an appetite, and this recipe is my delicious version of one of our nation’s go-to dishes.

“We Brits cook bolognese more than any other meat recipe, so here is how it goes.”

This recipe should serve six people and takes less than 30 minutes to prepare but needs two hours to slowly cook to let the meat tenderise.


For the sauce: 

  • 500g of pork mince
  • 500g of beef mine
  • 500g of passata
  • 400g of chopped tomatoes
  • 200ml of beef stock
  • 150ml of wine
  • Two chopped onions
  • Two sticks of chopped celery
  • One large chopped carrot
  • Three crushed garlic cloves
  • Three tablespoons of sundried tomato paste
  • Four tablespoons of double cream
  • Two tablespoons of chopped thyme leaves
  • Four bay leaves
  • Salt and pepper to serve

For the pasta: 

  • 450g of pappadelle pasta
  • Salt for the pasta water
  • To serve:
  • Paraman cheese
  • Basil leaves to garnish

Kitchen equipment:

  • Oven-proof large pot with lid
  • Pot for the pasta
  • Two spatulas


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First, prepare your oven by preheating it to 160C gas or 140C fan.

Heat the oil in a large pot add your chopped-up carrots, celery and onions and let them fry on high heat for around five minutes, or until the vegetables begin to soften.

Add both your pork and beef mince to the pot and fry until browned while the pot is still on high heat. Mary explained: “Having the two meats means you get a wonderful deep flavour, and it’s what the Italians do.”

Mary also said that the meat often sticks together and she recommended using two wooden spatulas to mix the bolognese ingredients together.

Next, add in crushed garlic and let it fry for around 30 seconds. Then add in the tomato paste and stir it into the bolognese sauce.

Once fully mixed then add the beef stock, chopped tomatoes and passata sauce. Continue to give the bolognese sauce a good stir and let it bubble.

Then it is time to mix in your wine, herbs, salt and pepper. Mary said: “Use white or red, whatever you’ve got at hand although I really prefer to add white.”

Now it is time to cook your bolognese, and Mary’s ultimate cooking tip is to slowly cook bolognese in the oven.

She said: “Most people cook bolognese on the hob, but I have a good tip that will make the most tender, deeply flavoured bolognese that you have ever tasted…It really does bring out the flavour of all the ingredients. ”

Bake the bolognese sauce for one hour, and then take it out of the oven to add Mary’s “secret” ingredient, which is to stir in some double cream.

Mary explained: “After an hour in the oven, my secret is to make it even richer by adding in double cream. Don’t worry, it doesn’t curdle or anything like that, it just enriches it. What I want to end up with is a fairly thick mixture “

Put the bolognese sauce back in the oven for another hour, so that it is in the oven for a total of two hours. Make sure the lid is not on the bolognese cooking pot and the meat should become very fork-tender once it comes out of the oven.

Once the bolognese sauce is nearly done cooking, fill a pot with salted water and bring it to a boil in order to cook the pasta. Add the pasta and cook until softened, and then drain it.

Mary said: “The Italian way isn’t to serve robust meat sauce with a skinny pasta like spaghetti. For the perfect pairing, choose a thicker shape like pappardelle [pasta].”

Now it is time to serve. Dish the pasta and bolognese onto a plate and serve with Parmesan cheese and balish leaves.

Mary said: “After two hours, the meat will have soaked up all those rich flavours, and it will melt in the mouth….I can quite understand why bolognese is one of our great British everyday favourites, it’s certainly one of mine.”

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