As well as pizza, pasta and tiramisu, one of Italy’s best culinary exports is ragù, which is a meat-based sauce used to dress thick strips of Italian pasta. Examples include ragù alla bolognese (Bolognese sauce) and ragù alla napoletana (Neapolitan ragù).
About Italian Ragù
The Italian word ragù originates from the French word ragoût, meaning stew. In fact, it is considered that the Italian ragù began as a type of stew, but over the years became a sauce typically served with pasta.
An Italian ragù is nearly always meat-based and is traditionally cooked over a long period to allow the flavors to combine and infuse. While each region has its own recipe, the Bolognese and Neapolitan ragù sauces are considered to be the best.
The Perfect Bolognese Sauce
For an authentic Bolognese sauce, you need patience and fresh ingredients! Typically, chopped celery, carrots and onion will be sauteed with chopped bacon (or ham) for an intense flavor. Minced meat will then be added, along with red wine, chopped tomatoes, concentrated tomato paste, and salt and pepper. The ragù is then simmered for at least three hours to allow the flavors to mingle and infuse.
In Bologna, ragù alla bolognese is poured over spaghetti or layered on Italian bread with a sprinkle of Parmigiano Reggiano.
The Perfect Neapolitan Ragù
For the perfect Neapolitan ragù, we suggest you use an excellent Italian olive oil or, for a more traditional approach, lard. For this Italian ragù recipe, chopped onion is sauteed in the oil until golden and then minced pork is added, along with raisins, pine nuts and parsley. For something decadent, you can also add chopped Italian sausage. Akin to the Bologness recipe, red wine is then added, along with tomatoes and salt, and the sauce is simmered for at least four hours, but eight to ten hours is more common. This is the secret to the perfect Neapolitan ragù!
In Campania, the Neapolitans typically enjoy their ragù with fresh basil over ziti pasta, which looks a little like macaroni.
Enjoy the Best Ragù in Italy
If you love Italian food and would love to discover the best Italian ragù in its birthplace, why not speak to one of our expert travel advisers about our custom Italian tours? We are specialists in tailor-made travel and can arrange a dream Italy food tour just for you. To find out more, call us at 347-594-5500 or click here to send an online inquiry.