Pasta with Pork and Beef Ragu
Truly authentic Italian ragu sauces blend pork and beef
About this Recipe
By: Colleen McGlynn
In Italy, “ragu” is a treasured sauce made with a combination of beef and pork. The actual proportions are deeply guarded family secrets, as are the other ingredients, including herbs and seasonings.
The very best are made with hand-minced meat, or from whole cuts that are ground at home. But if you have a quality butcher or meat department nearby, go ahead and use their ground beef and pork.
Regardless of the approach you take, you can be confident that this recipe will turn simple pasta into a meal to be remembered — and a great starting point for you to develop your own secret sauce!
Because this recipe is so simple, the quality of the ingredients really matters!
For the pasta, we suggest either rigatoni, buccatini, or a sturdy, thicker fettuccine to give the dish real “tooth.”
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1 carrot, peeled and diced
- 2 stalks celery, diced
- 6 fresh mushrooms, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
- 1/2 lb beef (if ground, 20% fat content)
- 1/2 lb pork (if ground, consider mild italian sausage)
- 1/2 cup red wine
- 1/2 cup tomato paste
- fresh thyme sprigs
Heat a slick of olive oil in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over a medium flame, then brown the vegetables
Set the vegetables aside and brown the meat along with the thyme, stirring to get an even color.
Season with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, turn the heat to high, and add the red wine.
When the wine has evaporated, add the tomato paste and a splash of water.
Return the vegetables to the mixture, reduce the heat, and simmer partially covered for 10-15 minutes, until the sauce has thickened.
Cook your pasta of choice al dente and drain; reserve a bit of pasta water
Put the pasta back in its pot over the heat and add back some of the reserved water, stirring to coat until it’s absorbed
Put the pasta on warm plates
Add a restrained amount of the sauce (think of it as a condiment, not the main ingredient
Finish with freshly-grated Parmigiano Reggiano (use the real stuff; it’s worth it)
Add a sprinkling of chopped fresh basil if you have it
Tomato sauces like brighter reds like our Barbera, Cannonau, Carignano, or, for a special evening, Impossibile!