Rich Italian Ragu

Rich Italian Ragu

So what is ragu? When I’m talking about ragu, I don’t mean the pasta sauce brand. I mean the real thing; a rich sauce from Italy, full of meat and vegetables that have been cooked down into pure fat and flavor. When you taste this ragu, you’ll know it hasn’t come from a can. It’s still pasta sauce, but pasta sauce as it always should have been. It’s silky in texture and outrageously meaty, with sweet pops of carrot and onion here and there. The liquids mellow everything, smoothing the whole ragu into a lovely dance of complex flavors. It’s the perfect cozy dish to let simmer on a stovetop.

Some thoughts about the recipe: it’s easily doubled. My family isn’t large, so I didn’t make a large batch, but you will be just fine if you’d like to make a double batch. Just be sure to smell and taste everything while you’re cooking. Also, I was lucky to find a beef/pork mixture at my grocery store, so I didn’t need to try to make my own mix. But many Italian ragu recipes include ground veal, so I would try adding veal as well if you can find it. Enjoy!


  • 1/2 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 pound ground pork
  • 2 onions, diced
  • 3 carrots, diced
  • 2 sticks of celery, diced
  • 2 cups beef stock
  • 1 1/2 cups grape juice or red wine
  • 28 ounces tomato paste
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon thyme
  • 2 teaspoons sage
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 2 teaspoons oregano
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan or goat cheese (optional)
  • Fresh basil (optional)


Begin by browning your meat in a large Dutch oven. Once the meat has browned, add your onions, carrots, and celery. Saute until soft.

Stir in the beef stock, grape juice (or red wine), and tomato paste. Add the garlic, rosemary, thyme, sage, and paprika. Mix well. Reduce the heat to low. Allow the covered pot to simmer for 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally, or until the flavors meld.

Season with oregano, and salt and pepper to taste. Serve with pasta, and garnish with Parmesan or goat cheese and basil if desired.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *