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neapolitan ragù

Neapolitan Ragù is to die for

“Go sightseeing in Naples, eat its ragù, and then die,” an ancient motto states. You may save your life but only if you have cooked the sauce for a very long, long time. Neapolitan ragù is not richer than other recipes; it is simple yet has its unique taste. The only requirement is top-quality meat, the main ingredient of the recipe. The biggest challenge is the cooking time—not less than 6 hours. Neapolitan tradition does not allow a shorter cooking time, so don’t ask a genuine Neapolitan for a shortcut in time.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Keyword italian ragù, neapolitan ragù, ragù
Prep Time 15 hours
Cook Time 6 hours
Total Time 6 hours 15 minutes
Servings 4 people
Author Stefania Cattaneo


  • lb of brisket (600g)
  • 10 oz of pork ribs (300g)
  • 10 oz of high-fat pork; pork sausage is also good (300g)
  • 33 oz of tomato sauce (10dl)
  • 1 tbsp of tomato paste
  • a glass of red wine
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 4 tbsp of oil
  • Salt and pepper 
  • Extra ingredient: 3-4 basil leaves 


  • Peel and coarsely chop the onion; 
  • With a sharp knife, remove the fat from the brisket and cut all three types of meat into bite-size pieces;
  • In a large dutch oven, sauté the onion with a little oil over low heat until completely translucent and the liquid has evaporated; 
  • Add the meat;
  • Sauté the meat for 6-7 minutes until golden brown on all sides, until no more red is showing; 
  • Simmer until the wine is reduced; then add the tomato sauce;
  • Add a little water and season with salt; 
  • Cook over very low heat for 5-6 hours. In case it gets too thick, add some more water. In Naples they say pippiare or pappuliare, which means that the ragù must simmer very slowly; 
  • Cover the saucepan with a lid, but leave a small opening to let the steam out;  
  • Add the basil to taste; 
  • Stir occasionally; be careful so it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the saucepan; 
    ragù Napoli
  • Interesting fact: In same parts of Naples, they add 70% dark chocolate (in the ratio of 1 cup or 150 g per 5 liters of ragù) in order to balance the acidity of the tomatoes.
  • After at least 6 hours when the meat is tender and all the flavors have combined evenly, your ragù is ready. Enjoy it! 
    Ragù Napoletano