Black Garlic Bolognese

A delicious, rich meat sauce with layers upon layers of flavour. Black garlic packs quite the umami punch! It’s made by ageing regular white garlic, which gives it a delicious sweet and savoury taste. It adds depth and richness to the dish, making for a tasty twist on a traditional bolognese.

The key to a tasty bolognese is patience. Low and slow is the name of the game. Getting that depth of flavour takes time—it’ll take around 3 hours from start to finish—but most of that time is hands-off. Serve it Bolognese-style with pappardelle or use it as a base for a lasagna.

  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 3 hours 20 minutes
  • Yield: 8 1x
  • Category: Pasta


  • 150 g pancetta, finely diced
  • 800 g beef mince (10 to 15% fat)
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 large carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 celery stick, finely chopped
  • olive oil
  • 250 g chestnut mushrooms, sliced
  • 4 sprigs fresh rosemary, leaves only, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsps double concentrated tomato purée
  • 75 g black garlic paste
  • 200 ml light or medium-bodied red wine
  • 2 x 400g tins of good-quality crushed tomatoes or passata (I use Mutti)
  • 1 beef or chicken stock pot
  • 200 ml water
  • 200 ml whole milk


  1. Add the diced pancetta to a large Dutch oven. Place the pot on to the stove over medium heat; starting with a cold pot helps render the fat.
  2. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the fat has rendered out and the pancetta is browned and beginning to crisp, 5 to 7 minutes. Using a spider or slotted spoon, transfer the pancetta to plate, leaving the fat behind.
  3. Turn the heat up to medium-high and add the beef mince, breaking it up with a wooden spoon or potato masher (it works surprisingly well!). Cook until the juices have evaporated and the meat is beginning to browned, 7 to 10 minutes. Season generously with salt and pepper and stir to combine. Transfer the beef to a plate using a spider or slotted spoon.
  4. Reduce the heat to medium. Add the onion, carrot and celery and splash of olive oil. Cook, stirring occasionally, until nice and soft, around 10 minutes.
  5. Add the mushrooms and rosemary, season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes.
  6. Add the tomato purée and cook, stirring constantly, until it begins to darken, around 2 minutes. Then add the black garlic paste and stir to combine.
  7. Add the red wine and cook, stirring occasionally, until it is reduced by around ¾, 3 to 4 minutes.
  8. Add the crushed tinned tomatoes, stock and milk. Return the mince to the pot and bring everything to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low and cover. Simmer gently, stirring occasionally, until the meat is very tender and the sauce has thickened, 2 to 2 ½ hours.
  9. If needed, simmer the ragù uncovered over medium-low heat to thicken, anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes. Taste and season with sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper. Serve Bolognese-style with tagliatelle or pappardelle or use it as a base for a delicious lasagna.

Storage: the ragù can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 days. To reheat, loosen with a little stock or water and heat over the stove or in the microwave until piping hot. It also freezes exceptionally well; cool, transfer to freezer-safe, airtight containers or freezer bags and freeze for up to 2 months. When ready to use, thaw in the fridge overnight and heat over the stove or in the microwave until piping hot.

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