Ragù—the Most Beloved Recipe

ragù napoletano

Ragù is the most beloved recipe throughout Italy. If you take a trip around the country, you will encounter many combinations of ingredients which make this most famous Italian dish different from one region to another one.

The variations are due to the use of different types of meat, sautéed vegetables, herbs and spices, tomato sauces, and tomato paste. There is a wide range of recipes, but all of them are simply delicious. 

Although, Italian people have been arguing for ages about which is the best ragù; everyone has their own secret traditional recipe, but don’t ask for their version. You might make people suspicious, so they might then give you the wrong answer on purpose. Here, we are very jealous of our traditions, so we never reveal our coveted recipes, which must be “stolen” through careful observation or by guessing the ingredients. 

ragù italiano

The point is that there isn’t only one ragù. There are an unlimited number of recipes, all of which are flavorful, hearty, and unforgettable. The simple ingredients are ground meat, tomato sauce, herbs, sautéed vegetables, milk, and wine. 

The most important task is to simmer the sauce for long hours until the meat has released all its flavor into the ragù. It is a kind of magic; basic ingredients are turned into a delectable sauce.  A good homemade ragù means Sunday and family: It is the king of sauces. 

What also makes a ragù perfect are fresh, top-quality ingredients. Your ragù also requires patience, but the results will absolutely wow your guests and family. You won’t regret making this recipe.

How can you make a delicious homemade sauce?

Preparing a good ragù is easy if you know a few tricks. First, you have to be very careful with the cooking method and time. Be patient and “pamper” your sauce as it has to simmer slowly for a long time. It gets a wonderful color and turns into a delicious mixture, which produces a tempting meaty dish. 

Ragù Bolognese dictates the proportions of ingredients, which are standard in every version of ragù across Italy. Read more about it in the link here.

Ragù Bolognese dictates the proportions of ingredients, which are standard in every version of ragù across Italy. They include the following: 

½ lb (280g) of meat, 1 cup (100g) of sautéed vegetables.

A few suggestions for a hearty unforgettable sauce: 

  • Use a large saucepan, or dutch oven, to arrange the meat evenly; 
  • Sauté the vegetables over medium-low heat until soft and golden: you don’t want to burn them;  
  • Stir the meat until the liquid from the meat has evaporated; then add the red wine; 
  • Every recipe requires red wine; 
  • Completely cover the meat with the tomato puree or paste, which is diluted with broth; 
  • Gently simmer the sauce over a very low heat for a long time.

What can you eat ragù sauce with?

Ragù was born to be paired with pasta. It not only flavors the pasta, but it also enhances and makes its taste unique. 

Ragù is also one of the main ingredients in arancini, mouthwatering rice balls, which are made with risotto rice, stuffed with ragù, coated in breadcrumbs, and then deep-fried or baked in the oven. When you bite into them, you may find a delicious surprise: ragù with peas. 

Ragù perfectly combines with potato gnocchi, or with polenta, a delicious cornmeal porridge. 

And finally don’t forget lasagna: Ragù, pasta and béchamel sauce are the ultimate combination.

 What can you add to your ragù sauce to make it tastier?

The standard recipe does not allow any variations, but in my kitchen, I usually make a few changes. With the addition of some basil leaves and rosemary, my ragù tastes fresher and more flavorful. You may also add some red pepper flakes. But leave cheese, cream, mushrooms, and garlic out. Even though they taste good, they don’t really have anything to do with ragù.

Variations from around Italy 

Let me take you on a trip around Italy for some of the best ragùs I have ever tasted. 

Ragu from Bologna (link)

My family ragù (link)

Ragu from Romagna (link)

Ragu from Liguria (link) coming soon

Ragu from Sicily (link) coming soon

Ragu from Naples (link) coming soon

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