ragù napoletano

In Napoli, this is a legendary, standard dish essentially served in most households as a Sunday or holiday feasts for the family to congregate.  It consists of chunks of pork shoulder and beef chuck, slowly braised until it is fragrant, falling apart, melt-in-your mouth tender served over tubular pasta.  Even though this falls under the Ragoût category, the Italians borrowed the word Ragoùt from the French and changed it to Ragù.  Most Italian where Ragùs are concerned, like Bolognese, rely on tomato based-sauces with ground meats simmering long and low on the stove and Ragoûts have less tomato influences.  However, this Ragù has the typical tomato influences and it’s off the charts outstanding.


¼ cup of Olive Oil

1 medium onion – chopped finely

½ LB eachof pork shoulder and beef shoulder or chuck cut into medium sized chunks

½ cup of chopped Pancetta

7-8 slices of Prosciutto di Parma – chopped

3 TBSP of tomato paste

2 ½ of up of full bodied red wine – preferably Italian

2 bay leaves – preferably fresh

1 Cup of basil – chiffonade

2 ½ Cups of Pomi tomato sauce or two 28 oz cans of pureed San Marzano tomatoes

1 TBSP of sugar

Pinch of red pepper flakes

Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper

Pasta – recommended Paccheri or Rigatoni

In a large Dutch oven, heat the oil and brown the pork and beef till brown on all sides, don’t overcrowd the pan.  Remove and set aside in a bowl.  In the same Dutch oven add the onions and sweat them with a pinch of salt until translucent for about 5-8 minutes, scraping the brown bits on the bottom of the pan, add pancetta, prosciutto and tomato paste cook for a further 10 minutes to allow flavors to meld and to cook off the tomato paste.  Add the meats back into the pot, the wine the tomatoes, red pepper flakes and sugar.

Braise for about 2 hours until the meats are very tender and falling apart.  Add the basil 1 hour into the cooking.  Boil some pasta, drain and reserve about ¼ cup of the pasta water.  Add the pasta to the pot and ladle some of the sauce over the pasta, mixing carefully with some of the reserved pasta water.

Serve in deep pasta bowls, with some additional basil chiffonade and some Parmigiano-Reggiano.

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