Neil Perry's wagyu beef bolognese

Neil Perry
Neil Perry's wagyu bolognese sauce.
Neil Perry's wagyu bolognese sauce. Photo: William Meppem

Don't be afraid to use secondary, and therefore cheaper, cuts of wagyu for this foolproof crowd-pleaser; they'll make the ragu not only more affordable but richer and tastier, too. You can make your own pasta – fresh noodles will take next to no time to cook – but, whatever you choose, remember this little tip: add a half-cup of the starchy pasta water to the pan when combining all the elements at the end. It helps the sauce stick to the strips and gives it a beautiful sheen.


2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

1 onion, finely chopped

4 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 small carrot, finely diced

1 stalk celery, finely diced

80g speck, finely diced

sea salt

400g minced wagyu

400ml full-bodied red wine

2 x 400g cans peeled tomatoes

2 sprigs thyme, leaves picked and chopped

400g fettuccine

1 very small handful flat-leaf parsley, chiffonade cut*, to serve

freshly ground black pepper

freshly grated parmesan, to serve


1. Heat the olive oil in a large, deep-sided frying pan over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, carrot, celery and speck, season with salt and cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes or until the vegetables have caramelised (don't burn them).

2. Add the minced wagyu, season with salt and cook, breaking up the beef with a wooden spoon, for 5 minutes or until the beef is well browned.

3. Pour in the wine and bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook until the liquid has reduced by half.

4. Add the tomato and simmer for about 45 minutes or until thickened. Add the thyme and check the seasoning.

5. Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil. Add the fettuccine and cook until al dente. Drain, reserving half a cup of the starchy pasta water.

6. Toss the pasta with the sauce and the reserved pasta water, cooking for a further minute, before dividing among 4 bowls. Garnish with the parsley, grind over some pepper and serve with the parmesan.

*This is a slicing technique in which leaves are cut into long, thin strips. Stack the leaves, roll them tightly and cut them on the perpendicular with a sharp knife.

If you like this recipe try my Buffalo mozzarella lasagne.

10 ways to upgrade your bolognese

Find more of Neil Perry's recipes in the Good Food New Classics cookbook.

Buy Now