Classic Meat Sauce of the Marches

Ragù Marchigiano

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Makes enough for

    1 pound

    dried pasta

Appears in

How to Cook Italian

How to Cook Italian

By Giuliano Hazan

Published 2005

  • About

While visiting The Marches, the region of Italy situated on the central Adriatic coast (Ancona is its capital), we ate at a simple trattoria called La Pianella, which we miraculously found off a narrow winding mountain road in the minuscule town of Serra S. Quirico. The food was simple but wonderful, its flavor genuinely satisfying. When our pasta arrived, it was tossed with a delicious local meat sauce, whose ingredients can change according to the cook’s whim. Its flavor, however, is always dependent on a generous base of sautéed carrots and celery, and the slow, patient cooking that is essential to intensify the flavor of meats and vegetables. Serve this sauce with maccheroni or rigatoni.


  • ½ medium yellow onion
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 rib celery
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • cups canned whole peeled tomatoes with their juice
  • 2 to 3 fresh sage sprigs
  • Pinch crushed red pepper flakes
  • pounds country-style pork ribs
  • pounds chicken wings
  • Salt
  • cup dry white wine


  1. Peel and finely chop the onion. Peel the carrot and celery. Cut into ¼-inch dice to get ½ cup carrot and ⅓ cup celery. Put the onion, carrot, celery, and olive oil in a large heavy-bottomed sauce pot and place over medium heat. Sauté, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables begin to brown, about 10 minutes.
  2. While the vegetables are sautéing, coarsely chop the tomatoes. Chop enough of the sage leaves to measure about 1 tablespoon.
  3. When the vegetables are done, add the sage, crushed red pepper, pork ribs, and chicken wings. Season with salt and raise the heat to high. Stir well, then add the white wine. Allow the wine to boil for about a minute to evaporate the alcohol, then add the tomatoes. Once they begin to bubble, lower the heat to medium-low. Cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the meat is about to fall off the bone and the sauce is no longer watery, about 1½ hours. If the sauce dries out before the meats are done, add a little water.
  4. Remove the pork ribs and chicken wings from the pot. Pull the meat from the bones and cut into small pieces. Return the meat to the pot and simmer with the sauce for about 2 minutes.


This sauce will keep well in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 2 months.