Maccheroni with Neapolitan Pork Ragù

Maccheroni al Ragù Napoletano

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


    as a single-course meal

Appears in

How to Cook Italian

How to Cook Italian

By Giuliano Hazan

Published 2005

  • About

As you travel in Italy, you will find a number of different ragùs including the classic Bolognese meat sauce. This ragù is similar to one I had in Naples, where pork ribs are cooked in tomatoes until very tender. The meat is removed from the bone and mixed with the tomatoes to form a sauce. In this version I’ve added peas, which add a sweet, mellow flavor.


  • pounds pork spareribs
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ medium yellow onion
  • ¼ cup dry white wine
  • 2 cups canned whole peeled tomatoes with their juice
  • 1 pound fresh peas in the pod or 6 ounces frozen peas
  • 1 pound maccheroni


  1. Cut the ribs into pieces that will easily fit into a medium braising pan.
  2. Put the olive oil in the braising pan and place over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the ribs and brown on both sides. Remove the pan from the heat, put the ribs on a platter, and season them with salt and pepper.
  3. While the ribs are browning, finely chop the onion. Once you’ve taken the ribs out of the pan, put the onion in, return the pan to medium heat, and sauté, stirring occasionally, until the onion turns a dark golden color, 2 to 3 minutes.
  4. Raise the heat to high, add the wine, and let it bubble for about 30 seconds to allow the alcohol to evaporate. Add the tomatoes, season lightly with salt, and break them up into small pieces with a spoon.
  5. Put the ribs back in the pan. Once the tomatoes begin bubbling, lower the heat to medium-low and cover the pan with the lid slightly askew. Cook until the meat is very tender and separates easily from the bone, about 1¾ hours.
  6. While the ribs are cooking, shell the fresh peas if using. When the meat is very tender, remove all the ribs from the pot, separate the meat from the bone, and cut it into bite-size pieces. Return the meat to the sauce and add the peas. If using fresh peas, add about ½ cup water. Cook, uncovered, until the peas are tender and the sauce is not watery, about 10 minutes if using frozen peas or 20 minutes if using fresh.
  7. While the peas are cooking, fill a pot for the pasta with at least 6 quarts water, place over high heat, and bring to a boil.
  8. When the peas are done, add about 2 tablespoons salt to the boiling water, put in the pasta, and stir well. Cook until al dente. Drain the pasta well, toss it with the sauce, and serve at once.


The sauce can be prepared through step 5 up to 2 days ahead of time. Store, covered, in the refrigerator. When ready to serve, bring the sauce back to a simmer, cook the peas in it, and toss with the pasta.