While we love talking about travel destinations and tips, we also love talking about food. Every destination has a specialty (or many) for travelers to try. And while we honestly love every aspect of visiting somewhere new, food is what really gets us excited and has us talking long after we’ve left. In this travel-inspired post, we share our recipe for ragù so you can have a little taste of Italy wherever you are!
During our month-long stay in the country, we tried our hand at so many authentic Italian dishes. However, in order to stick to our budget, we couldn’t eat out for every meal. So, we took it upon ourselves to cook a lot of meals to save money. Ragù quickly became a staple and one that we would make in many other countries and back home!
Of course, eating the real deal in the real place is always best, so check out our authentic Italy guides for some travel inspiration!
Before You Eat
When folks think of Italian food, pasta is probably their first thought (if not, then it’s pizza!), but ragù doesn’t have to be paired with pasta.
Try eating your ragù fare la scarpetta as an alternative. Take some bread (crusty outside and chewy inside) and go to town on a bowl of ragù. Use the bread to scrape up every last bit of ragù! Seriously, it’s one of the best things ever.
Of course, ragù is also the essential ingredient in lasagna and this recipe is perfect for that!
What wine pairs best with ragù? Our go-to is Chianti, our favorite Italian wine. However, you can’t go wrong with a dry white either. Don’t have a clue about this stuff? It’s ok, we’re pretty clueless too! But we do consult our friends at Wine Folly for great wine advice!
Cooking Tip: Ragù is only as good as its ingredients. Try incorporating fresh herbs or replacing a can of crushed tomatoes with fresh crushed tomatoes. When picking a wine for the sauce, don’t go for the cheapest option but a bottle you’d actually drink.
Ragù Recipe (8-10 Servings)
3 tbsp olive oil, separated
1 lb ground beef
1 lb Italian pork sausages
4 minced garlic cloves
1 large yellow or white onion, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped or shredded
1 large stalk of celery, finely chopped
1 tsp fresh (or dried) thyme leaves
1 tsp fresh (or dried) rosemary
1 cup red or white wine
2 cups beef broth
3 tbsp tomato paste
2 dried pepperoncini, chopped (optional)
28 oz can crushed tomatoes
2 bay leaves
1 tsp salt
Pasta of choice (tagliatelle or gnocchi are great options!)
Freshly grated Pecorino Romano
Directions for Ragù
- Heat 1 1/2 tbsp oil over high heat in a 6 quart dutch oven (or a large pot). Add the beef and sausage and cook until browned. Remove the meat from the dutch oven and drain all but a small amount of fat.
- Heat remaining 1 1/2 tbsp oil in the pot and reduce heat to medium low. Add onion, carrot and celery. Sauté gently for 8 to 10 minutes, until the onion is translucent then add the garlic and cook for 1-2 to additional minutes.
- Add the cooked beef and pork back into the dutch oven along with the remaining ragù ingredients. Turn the heat up high and mix to combine.
- Bring to simmer. Cover and cook for 2 1/2 hours, stirring a couple of times.
- Remove from heat and remove the lid. As the ragù cools it’ll thicken up.
- Bring a large pot of salty water to a rapid boil. Add pasta and cook.
- Drain pasta but save a ½ cup of pasta water.
- Return the pasta to the pot and add 1 cup of ragù for each serving of pasta made and the 1/2 cup of pasta water. Thoroughly toss ragù and pasta together until the pasta is evenly coated.
- Serve with freshly grated pecorino romano cheese!
We hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we do! Italy will always be one of our favorite countries and the same goes for its food.