Boston's Best Bolognese

By Eric Twardzik

Heartbreaks, pink slips, freezing temperatures—all these and more can be soothed by a plate of pasta with Bolognese sauce. We find the nonna-approved panacea at the spots below.

Pammy’s Boston
Brian Samuels Photography

The Lumache pasta served at inventive Cambridge trattoria Pammy’s is a Bolognese dish that breaks the rules—and receives a pass from us. It starts with a snail-shaped pasta made on-site from hearty semolina flour and cooked to a toothsome, al dente texture. The Bolognese sauce that accompanies it gets a surprising jolt from gochujang paste, a spicy Korean ingredient that cuts the richness while adding an entirely new spectrum of flavor.

Sportello - The Ultimate Dining Guide to the Best Fresh Pasta in Boston

For a plate of Tagliatelle Bolognese that’s just as indulgent as it should be, put your trust in Barbara Lynch’s Fort Point Italian restaurant. Sportello’s chefs add chicken liver to a sauce that already includes pork, veal, lamb, and cream for extra richness and an outstanding depth of flavor. It’s doused over silky tagliatelle, which is made fresh daily.

Fox & the Knife

If your expectations of Bolognese involve fat noodles swimming in red sauce, allow Fox & the Knife to subvert them. The house-made pasta in the Tagliatelle Bolognese is cut thin to balance out a hearty sauce made with pork, veal, wild boar, fresh thyme, and just a touch of tomato. Between the starchy noodles, crumbly meats, and freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, this flavorful dish features layers of texture.

Interior of Rino's Place

East Boston favorite Rino’s Place serves red sauce Italian with a capital “R,” Bolognese included. The sauce used in their iteration simmers veal, pork, beef, diced onions, carrots, and celery with fresh plum tomatoes. You can choose between nine house-made varieties of pasta, but we recommend the rigatoni for its sauce-soaking abilities.

Never mind the French name (and largely French menu)—the Tagliatelle “Bolognaise” at this upscale Back Bay gem is a must-order. Deuxave dials up the comfort factor with wide, house-made noodles in a lush tomato sauce with beef, veal, and pancetta. The final touch is a generous dollop of fresh and melty mozzarella.

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