The Best Pasta Meat Sauce


This is not the place to post some book reviews, but the best meat sauce comes from one I really liked. It isn’t your typical cookbook—it’s a rebellious manifesto, a culinary call to arms that challenges everything you thought you knew about Italian cuisine.

Never trust a skinny Italian chef.


It isn’t just about the food—it’s about the stories behind the dishes, the culture that inspires them, and the irreverent spirit that drives Bottura’s culinary vision. With awesome visuals and captivating narrative, this book will leave you hungry for adventure and eager to explore the endless possibilities of Italian cuisine.

So grab your apron, fire up the stove, and get ready to embark on a culinary journey like no other. With Bottura as your guide, you’ll discover the best Ragu.

5 from 1 vote

Massimo Bottura’s Ragu

Slow-cooked to absolute perfection, Bottura's Ragu is a flavor-packed symphony of tender meats, fragrant herbs, and a savory broth that mingle together to form a dish that's as comforting as it is intricate. Whether ladled generously over a steaming plate of pasta or savored with hearty chunks of crusty bread, this ragu is a bona fide timeless masterpiece that captures the very essence of Italian cuisine.
Servings 1 ragu
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours 45 minutes
Cooling time 30 minutes
Total Time 3 hours 35 minutes


  • 1 large white onion
  • 1 large carrot peeled and diced
  • 1 large celery stalk peeled and diced
  • 100 g chopped pancetta
  • 20 g plain flour
  • 150 g veal including cheek, tongue or shank
  • 150 g beef gelatinous cuts, including tail if available
  • 100 g bone marrow already removed from bone
  • 50 g pork sausage optional (ground would work)
  • 1 bay leaf and 1 sprig rosemary
  • 1 glass red wine Sangiovese or Pinot Noir/Effin Merlot
  • 3 cups broth beef, veggie or chicken
  • extra-virgin olive oil


  • Grab a deep, heavy-bottomed pan and toss in a mix of diced onion, carrot, and celery (also known as mirepoix), sizzling away in a pool of golden olive oil. Let that aromatic trio simmer on low heat for about 15 minutes, until the onions turn glassy and the carrots soften up just right.
  • Time to get that pancetta sizzling! Grab a separate skillet, melt that savory goodness until it crisps up just right—about five minutes on medium heat should do the trick.
    Once it's perfectly golden and crispy, add it to the flavorful mirepoix.
  • Time to give those meat chunks a little floury hug! Dust them in flour either in a bowl or right on your trusty work surface.
  • Now, let's quickly clean that pancetta skillet and warm it up again with a splash of olive oil. Once it's sizzling, add in the floured meat and let it lightly brown, soaking up all that delicious flavour.
    Then, it's time to pour in the wine – just enough to deglaze – and crank up the heat—let it bubble away until that wine evaporates into savoury oblivion.
  • Add that beautifully browned meat to the mirepoix and crispy pancetta.
  • Give the skillet a quick scrub, then toss in a drop of olive oil. Now, it's time to add the bone marrow and let it sizzle away until it's beautifully browned; once done, add it to the other pan.
  • Pour in the wine and stock, letting everything meld together into a rich and savory symphony of flavors.
  • Cover the skillet with wax paper and then the lid—this little trick keeps all that mouthwatering moisture locked in, ensuring your dish stays tender and flavorful.
    Let it simmer away for 1½ to 2 hours at a low temperature.
  • Once that meat is so tender it's practically falling off the bone, it's time to give it a little breather. Take it off the heat and let it cool down for about half an hour.
  • Take out that tender, flavorful meat, and get ready to give it the royal treatment. Debone it like a pro and then cut it into small, bite-sized pieces.
  • Now, let's bring it all together: return that tender, flavorful meat to the ragu. Let it all simmer away uncovered on low heat, allowing that rich, aromatic sauce to thicken up into a luscious masterpiece.
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: Meat, Sauce, Spaghetti

Join the Conversation

  1. Adam Dawson says:

    5 stars
    This turned out great. I added a bit of coconut milk and some extra chickpeas and it was perfect. I had too much liquid remaining for some reason so the coconut milk helped to thicken it a bit as it cooled. So good!

    1. Alex Misty says:

      Yah, that would work great! Thanks for sharing, Adam!

  2. Roxie Spencer says:

    Every single person that tries it loves it!

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