Rich in taste and character, a good ragù is the perfect sauce to dress any type of pasta – from fresh egg tagliatelle to durum wheat rigatoni – works wonders with stuffed pasta (the renowned Tortellini alla Bolognese are nothing more than tortellini served with delicious ragù!) and reaches its peak splendor with piping hot lasagne (intrigued? Have a look at our family recipe here).
Celebrated all over the world, the traditional ragù recipe comes from Bologna, the food-loving capital city of Emilia-Romagna. And it’s from this very region that, in 1933, the Ruffoni great-grandparents Antonio and Ribelle started their journey to Omegna, bringing their infants Fremide and Antonietta and all their belongings on their two bicycles, along with the recipes of their land.
Ragù alla Bolognese
Main courses, Sauces and Condiments
1 lb beef mince
1 lb pork mince
1 finely chopped onion
2 finely chopped carrots
2 finely chopped celery sticks
Fresh herbs tied with kitchen twine (1 sprigs rosemary, 2 bay leaves, 3 sage leaves)
1 clove garlic, smashed with the side of a knife
2 tbsp tomato concentrate
1 cup red wine
2 cans of finely chopped tomatoes
1 parmigiano rind (optional)
EVO oil (approx. 6 tbsp)
Cracked black pepper
In a large braiser, heat up enough EVOO to cover the bottom of the pan (approx 3 tbsp) and add pork mince.
Cook on medium heat for a few minutes, breaking up large clumps as they form, until the water has mostly evaporated and the meat is nicely browned, then remove from the pan and set aside.
If the pork mince was fatty, there will be enough oil in the pan for the next step, otherwise add another 2-3 tbsp of EVOO.
Add beef mince and brown for a few minutes, breaking up large clumps as they form, until the water has mostly evaporated and the meat is nicely browned, then remove and set aside with the pork.
If there is not enough fat remaining on the bottom of the pan, add another 1 or 2 tbsp of EVOO, then add the soffritto (finely chopped onion, carrot and celery – also known as mirepoix) and cook on low-medium heat for a few minutes until the vegetables have lost their rawness and are slightly golden (do not brown, the onion should remain soft and translucent).
Add the clove of garlic, tomato concentrate, fresh herb bundle, season with salt and pepper and cook for another minute.
Add the browned meats back in the pan, mix well, turn the heat up to medium-high and pour in the wine to deglaze the pan. Let the alcohol evaporate before continuing.
Add the chopped tomatoes, the parmigiano crust (if using), bring to a simmer, then cover and let simmer away gently for at least 2 hours – the longer the better!
Check on it and stir occasionally, lowering the flame and adding a little water or stock if it looks like it’s drying out too much. Want to make this step even easier and more hands-off? Rather than continue cooking on the stovetop, you can transfer your ragù to an oven preheated at 350 F. All Ruffoni pieces are oven-safe, and your sauce will simmer and reduce gently with minimal supervision.
Remove and discard the parmigiano crust, garlic clove and herb bundle, check seasoning, then use your ragù to dress pasta or layer into traditional Lasagne alla Bolognese.