Ragu alla Napoletana is the pride of the rich cuisine of Naples. And can move Neapolitans to tears! Typical Neapolitan ragu is a meat sauce made with beef or pork or a combination of both that is cooked slowly with tomatoes and it’s traditionally served over pasta. Ragu is the traditional Sunday lunch for most southern Italian families: the tomato sauce dresses the pasta and the meat is served as a main course.
Ragu is so popular that it is even featured in a 1990 Sophia Loren film, Saturday, Sunday and Monday. In one scene Sophia goes to the butcher and ends up in quite a fiery discussion with other housewives as to what makes the perfect ragu!
This is one of my favorite dishes and this truly taste MAGNIFICENT!!!
Adapted from ” Two Greedy Italians”.
Ragu alla Napoletana
- 5 tbsp olive oil
- 1 medium onion finely chopped
- 3 garlic cloves
- 1 lb topside of beef (500g), chopped into medium-sized pieces
- 1 lb pork ribs (500g)
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 cup water 250 ml
- 2 x 14 oz tins chopped tomatoes 400 g each
- 3/4 cup red wine (180 ml)
- extra water while cooking
- handful fresh basil leaves
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- pasta to serve
- Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan, add meat and and seal well all over (you may need to do this in batches). Season with a salt.
- Than add the onion and cook for 4-5 minutes, or until softened. Add whole garlic cloves and cook more for 1 minute.
- Increase the heat, stir in the diluted tomato paste and continue to cook for 10 minutes. Pour red wine and cook until the volume of the liquid is reduced by one-third.
- Add the tomatoes, season with salt and pepper and stir well.
- Bring to the boil, then lower the heat to a simmer, cover and cook very gently for about 1 1/2 hours, until the sauce is thick and silky.
- Stir from time to time, checking that there is enough moisture; if necessary add a little more water (If there isn’t enough water the meat may not cook well, so best to be generous. You can always reduce the meat sauce later).
- After 1 1/2 hour, add basil leaves and let it cook more for 30 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and serve with pasta as suggested above.