Irene's Cookery
by Irene's Cookery
4 Servings
1 hr 10 min

Ragu sauce is perhaps, together with pesto sauce, one of the most popular condiments of Italian cuisine all over the world. It’s one of those Italian recipes passed from generation to generation in every family, which treasured jealousy the tricks of its own special version. But however much they may differ, they share one thing in common: all require a long cooking time. The real secret of a perfect ragu sauce, what makes it so good, is time, or the several hours spent on the stove simmering slowly over low heat.

The tomato meat sauce of this recipe though takes less time to prepare but is still full in taste, which makes it practical for everyday, faster cooking. It is excellent as a dressing for pasta (e.g., spaghetti, fettuccine or pappardelle.) Add the tomato meat sauce to freshly drained pasta, top with grated parmigiano cheese, toss, and serve at once. The meat sauce is also the perfect complement for lasagne.

Browning the ground beef, and stirring to make sure there are no clumps.

Ragu sauce served over spaghetti cooked al dente, and topped generously with grated cheese.

No need for any fancy plating or garnishes. Just dump everything onto a plate and dig in!

Recipe details
  • 4  Servings
  • Prep time: 10 Minutes Cook time: 1 Hours Total time: 1 hr 10 min
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  • Olive oil: 3 tbsp
  • Butter: 3 tbsp
  • Bacon, diced: 100 gm or 4 rashes
  • Onion, minced: 1
  • Carrot, minced: 1
  • Celery, minced: 1 stick
  • Garlic, minced: 2 cloves
  • Beef ground: 500 gm
  • Dry white wine: 1/2 cup
  • Diced tomatoes: 2 cans, 400 gm each
  • Nutmeg: 1 pinch
  • Milk/heavy cream: 2 tbsp
  • Tomato paste: 3 - 4 tbsp
  • Bay leaves: 2
  • Dried thyme: 1/4 tsp
  • Salt & pepper: To taste

Heat olive oil and butter in a pan over medium heat. When the butter starts foaming, add the diced bacon and cook till brown. Then, add onion, carrot, celery and garlic. Saute and stir until onion is soft and translucent.
Add ground meat. Stir and break the meat into small bits. Cook until the meat is fully browned.
Add the wine. Turn the heat to high and allow the wine to evaporate.
Add the canned tomatoes, nutmeg and milk. When the sauce starts boiling, turn the heat to low. Stir in the tomato paste, bay leaves & thyme. Cover the pan and simmer slowly for about 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • To add taste to the tomato meat sauce, use a mixture of different ground meats, such as half beef and half pork.
  • The addition to the tomato meat sauce of a tiny amount of milk helps reduce the acidity of the tomatoes.
  • Need more flavour? Add 1 or 2 beef bullion cubes into the sauce while it is simmering.
  • If you can, make the sauce a day in advance so that the flavours have more time to develop.
  • This sauce freezes well for up to 3 months. Allow to cool and store in a clean, dry, air-tight container.
Irene's Cookery
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