How to Make A Real Ragu An Italian Recipe for the Real Ragù

By Abi King | Italy

Jun 12

“This is the classic ragù that my grandmother taught me: a delicious, versatile sauce that can be used in many ways. Added to lasagne, any type of pasta, served with meatballs…” Lella from Cuoche in Vacanza

How to Make the Real Ragu

Tuscany, Italy

Recently, I wrote about my cooking lessons in Tuscany. In short, how I’d always thought of Italian food as something cheap and easy that you threw together in your student days, when you didn’t have an oven – or much of a clue.

Then, I visited Tuscany. Or, perhaps to be more precise, Cuoche in Vacanza, an Italian cooking class, visited me. In addition to rewriting the whole section of my brain labelled “Italian food,” they also shared a recipe or two. Here, as promised, is one:

How to Make A Real Ragu: the Recipe

Ingredients for ragu Ragù – Ingredients

1 medium onion

1 carrot

1 celery stalk

500 grams of minced meat (pork or beef)

1 sausage – opened (optional)

Cooking the base for a ragu1 can tomatoes

4 cloves

Extra virgin olive oil

1 glass white wine

Method: How to Make Real Ragù

Chop the onion, carrot and celery together, heat a small amount of extra virgin olive oil in the bottom of a pan and fry the chopped onion, celery and carrot until soft. Add the minced meat and opened sausage and allow to cook until the meat is quite dry. Add the wine and let it evaporate.

Add the tomatoes and cloves, and if the tomatoes are peeled, break them up with a wooden spoon.

Allow to simmer until the meat and sauce are unified (about one hour.) Stir occasionally.

Add salt during the last five minutes of cooking.

Buon Appetito! The ragù is now ready!

Finished ragu

Post-Ragù Analysis

In many ways, this recipe for ragù isn’t too different to my student version. So where did I go wrong? Well, I never used cloves or celery, I probably grabbed sunflower oil or whatever oil there was to hand, and in all probability, I drank the wine. Now I’m older, wiser (ahem) and have a much more discerning palate, I’ll have to try this at home myself!

Real Ragù Tips

“When I was small, my grandmother let me try it by spreading it on a slice of Tuscan bread (bread without salt.) This will always be the most delicious way of eating ragù for me.” Cuoche In Vacanza

Disclosure: Casa Gentili invited me to attend this cooking class in Italy.


Marilyn July 5, 2011

Comments not showing up, you say? Here’s a test comment, as requested. This post grabbed me because I just finished reading “A Vineyard in Tuscany” by Ferenc Mate and am inspired by all things Italian. Plus I’m going to Italy in the fall. Plus I am intrigued by the recipe–cloves make it special, and I will try it. Thanks!

    Abi King July 18, 2011

    Thank you for helping out…Comment problem seems restricted to only a few people. Very mysterious.

    On the plus side, I’ll have to look into A Vineyard in Tuscany – sounds good. I was hoping to head back to Italy myself this autumn but I’ve just heard it’s not to be…Ah well, next time!

    I trust you’ll have a great time…

Gretta April 28, 2012

Thank you for sharing this authentic recipe. I have one for tomato sauce on my blog which my Sicilian mother-in-law taught me and everyone loves it

Mandy March 25, 2013

Hi, I will be in Italy in September and would love to do an Italian cooking class. Can I go to Cuoche In Vacanza instead? as I don’t know what sort of accomodation we will be staying in at this stage. Thanks

    Abi King March 26, 2013

    I’m not sure – why not click on the link and drop them a line. They’re very friendly so I’m sure they can help you out…

      Mandy March 26, 2013

      Thanks Abi, I will do. Cheers Mandy

Jaime February 11, 2014

Thanks for sharing! I ate my ragu on English muffins topped with chopped onion and avocado

    Abi King February 19, 2014

    Always keen to hear an unusual suggestion ;-)

Bob March 31, 2014

A real ragu doesn’t include “minced meat”, period. It uses real pieces of beef meat, cooked 3-5h until the meat is so tender that it will fall apart when you touch it with a fork.
Unfortunately, your version is the “fast food” variant.

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