A nice ragù

Preparation info

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Appears in

Old Food

Old Food

By Jill Dupleix

Published 1998

  • About

It’s all we need in life, isn’t it? Just a nice ragù, based on the classic long-cooked meat sauce of Bologna, which was always a real ragù (stew) rather than the sauce we have come to know on ‘spaghetti Bolognese’. Serve it over wide-cut pappardelle or stracci, layer it into a lasagne or spoon it over soft, fresh strichetti (fresh egg pasta).


  • 1 onion
  • 1 celery stalk
  • 1 carrot, peeled
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 100 g ( oz) pancetta or bacon
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 500 g (1 lb) veal, cut into cubes
  • 1 tsp plain, (all-purpose) flour
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 2 cups meat or chicken broth
  • 300 g (11 oz) canned tomatoes and juice
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste (concentrate)
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • 3 sprigs thyme
  • 500 g (1 lb) pasta
  • 1 tsp butter
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped parsley
  • Parmigiano for grating


Chop onion, celery, carrot, garlic and pancetta finely. Heat olive oil in a large frypan and cook mixture until it softens. Add veal and cook, stirring so that it breaks up and doesn’t stick, until it is lightly browned.

Remove veal from pan, chop it finely, and return to pan. Add flour, salt, pepper and nutmeg and stir through. Turn up the heat, add white wine and let it bubble and evaporate until very little is left.

Add broth, tomatoes and their juice, tomato paste, rosemary and thyme and simmer over a low heat for an hour or so.

Cook pasta in plenty of boiling, salted water until al dente. Drain pasta and combine with sauce in a warm serving bowl. Top with butter and parsley and serve with Parmigiano.