Meat Sauce (Ragù di Carne) - dummies

By Mary Sue Milliken, Susan Feniger, Helene Siegel, Cesare Casella, Jack Bishop, Tom Lacalamita, Heather Dismore, Martin Yan, Dede Wilson, Joan H. Moravek, Kristin Eddy

This Italian sauce requires very gentle simmering to produce a finely textured, sweet meat sauce that’s rich and delicious. You can use the sauce in baked pasta dishes, such as lasagna, or tossed with fresh fettuccine. This sauce stores well, frozen in small containers, for up to 3 weeks.

Meat sauce simmering in a pot.
Credit: ©iStockphoto.com/robynmac

Preparation time: 25 minutes

Cooking time: 3 hours

Yield: 8 servings

1⁄4 cup olive oil

1 large red onion, peeled and chopped

3 celery stalks, chopped

1 medium carrot, chopped

5 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

3⁄4 pound ground pork

3⁄4 pound ground beef

4 thin slices of pancetta or bacon, minced

4 thin slices of prosciutto, minced

2 cups dry red wine

28-ounce can whole Italian tomatoes, undrained

2 cups water

Salt to taste

1⁄2 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes

1⁄4 teaspoon black pepper

Pinch of allspice

Pinch of nutmeg

Pinch of cloves

Pinch of cinnamon

  1. In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, carrot, and garlic and cook, stirring often, until the vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes.

  2. Add the pork, beef, pancetta or bacon, and prosciutto and cook, stirring frequently, for another 10 minutes.

  3. Add the wine and cook for about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and water and simmer, covered, for 50 minutes.

  4. Season with the salt, red pepper flakes, black pepper, and spices and then stir. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 90 more minutes, until the sauce is thick and flavorful.

    Check the sauce during cooking. If it thickens too quickly, add a little bit of water (about 1⁄2 cup at a time) and continue cooking. Adjust seasoning with salt, if necessary.