Ragù Romagnolo

A bowl of pasta with sauce and forks on a marble table.

It’s a ragù that is very similar to Bolognese ragù but with one crucial difference: You do not add milk while cooking. This simple but successful recipe is suitable for all first courses but also as an appetizer spread on hot bread.

If you asked me where the best place in Italy to live is, I would easily say in Emilia Romagna. In this region, people almost always smile, eat well, and enjoy life. Italians do not mess around; Romagna is full of passion, especially at the table. 

A woman's hands are holding a bowl of pasta with sauce.

Tradition is Tradition

Every family has its secret recipes here, many recipes are registered formally in order to not lose anything of the past. Thus, there is always an official version. This means that the “Ragù alla Romagnola” is a recipe codified by the “Accademia Italiana della Cucina,” which is an institution founded in 1953 by journalists, writers, and representatives of the cultural and business world of Italian society, from the past to the present. Everything related to Italian society is written there, which makes it one of the most important references to traditional Italian recipes.

The meat sauce from Romagna is very similar to the ingredients used in the Bolognese sauce, but in the Romagnola ragù, no milk is added in cooking. This is the biggest difference. Nutmeg is the final touch in this recipe.

A plate of pasta with a fork on it.

The ground meat must be of top quality. It would also help if you used homemade sausage and tomato sauce. Put it all together, and you’ll get a terrific sauce. If you want, you can add a generous splash of white or red wine when the meat is browning as you’ll see in the recipe below. Some people add chicken livers, but not everyone likes them. Also, they are not easy to find at the butcher’s.

If you want to season lasagna, tagliatelle, or any pasta, you should try this recipe. It will be delicious. If you have any leftovers, freeze it in single servings. It is convenient to have it ready when you need to season a portion of pasta for a last-minute invitation or spread it on toast as an appetizer for your friends. Yum yum; they’ll love it.

A plate of pasta and a spoon on a marble table.

Ragù from Romagna, an exquisite taste 

Ragù alla Romagnola is the masterpiece of every azdora or housewife in the region. It perfectly fits lasagna, tagliatelle, strozzapreti, an elongated form of cavatelli, or any homemade pasta that turns this dish into an unforgettable experience. It also tops polenta, a very mouthwatering and suitable match. 

Ragù Romagnolo

Ragù from Romagna combines ground beef with sausage or bacon, which makes its taste even richer. The original recipe calls for chicken livers as well, but many do not like them. I certainly don’t.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Keyword ragù, ragù romagnolo, ragù sauce
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 30 minutes


  • lb of grounded beef (681g)
  • 10 oz of sausage and a strip of bacon (300g)
  • 28 oz of tomato sauce (794g)
  • 1 medium carrot
  • 1 medium white onion
  • 5 oz of tomato paste (150g)
  • a glass of red or white wine (about 1 cup)
  • a pinch of salt
  • a pinch of sugar
  • Pepper 
  • 2 cloves of garlic, pressed or chopped 
  • 3-4 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil 
  • a small bunch of freshly chopped parsley
  • Grated nutmeg (about 1 teaspoon)
Servings 8 servings


  • Use a sharp paring knife to finely and evenly chop the carrot, onion, and garlic cloves.
  • In a saucepan, add two tablespoons of oil, and sauté the vegetables until softened (about 5 -7 minutes);
  • Add the ground meat, the sausage, and the bacon; fry them over medium high heat until golden brown for about 5 minutes; 
  • Add salt and pepper, some grated nutmeg, and the parsley; stir well;
  • Pour in the red wine and sauté over medium high heat until it has completely evaporated; 
  • Add the tomato sauce, the tomato paste, a pinch of salt and a pinch of sugar;
  • Reduce the heat to low and stir occasionally for 1 hour;
  • Partially cover the saucepan and cook for another 2 hours; stir and check the ragù every now and then. If it gets too thick, add a little hot water; 
  • Pour the ragù into glass containers and store in the fridge or freeze for later use.

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