The White Bolognese Tradition That Ditches Tomatoes For White Wine, Unless You're Lady Gaga

You probably know Bolognese as the hearty, red-meat-and-tomato-based sauce that's often served with spaghetti. However, did you know that (like quite a few so-called "Italian" foods), this version of Bolognese sauce isn't really traditional? The original Bolognese sauce recipe leaves out the tomatoes and isn't usually served with spaghetti, but flat pasta such as tagliatelle and lasagne instead.

In an interview with La Cucina Italiana, award-winning chef Tony Mantuano described this "white," tomato-free sauce as being "popular in Italy in the late 18th century," adding that it's the true ragu Bolognese. The OG sauce typically contains veal, pork, and mirepoix, slow-cooked with milk and white wine. This recipe later evolved to include the tomato, red wine, and even beef that many cooks add today.

So where does Lady Gaga come in? If you follow the "Born This Way" singer on social media, you likely know that much of what Lady Gaga eats taps into her Italian heritage. She's known to love a plate of pasta Bolognese — but with a twist.

An untraditional wine for a traditional recipe

If Lady Gaga invites you over for white Bolognese, don't expect her to follow tradition to a T. The singer and actor took to Instagram to show off her cooking skills, and if you quickly flipped through the post's photos, you'd probably think she'd been making the typical ragu. She's seen adding a glass of wine to a pan filled with what looks like onions and celery, then tossing up a Brussels sprout salad to go along with it. However, in her caption, she clarified that unlike chef Tony Mantuano, who ditches the tomatoes for white wine in his white Bolognese recipe, she replaces the tomatoes with rosé.

While this might seem like a strange choice at first, many chefs say that her substitution should have worked wonders. Acclaimed chef Jacques Pépin was quoted in Today as saying that any wine will add "complexity and acidity" to Bolognese. "While red wine is a bit richer and more tannic, rosé is just fine as long as it is not off-dry or sweet," he said. So, maybe next time you make a batch of Bolognese, you can take a page from Gaga's book and break tradition. While you're at it, why not try another celeb's twist on the classic? The secret to Tom Hiddleston's Bolognese recipe is a stint both on the stove and in the oven.