Ragù Napoletano

This sauce is unlike most ragùs, in that the meat is cooked whole, the sauce then used for pasta and the braised pork and veal served as the second course. It is also called guardaporta (doorman’s sauce), perhaps because it takes so long to cook and needs so little attention it could bubble away whilst he watched the door.


  • 750 g piece of braising veal or beef (shin, flank or brisket)
  • 750 g braising pork, skin on if possible (belly, ribs, shin or shoulder)
  • 70 g pine nuts
  • 70 g raisins
  • 50 g proper breadcrumbs
  • 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 100 g lard, or 120 ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 medium onions (400 g), finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 375 ml red wine
  • 2 litres passata, or 2 kg fresh tomatoes, puréed whole
  • 20 basil leaves


Normally, three pieces of meat might be braised together – a hunk of pork and two braciole, one of pigskin and the other beef (elsewhere in Italy these are shoulder chops, in Naples rolls of stuffed meat). Here I omit the pigskin, but it is delicious and will reward the adventurous. Use a sharp knife to open out the veal into a flattish sheet. Stuff with the pine nuts, raisins, breadcrumb and parsley, roll and tie firmly.

In the saucepan, which is to eventually hold the sauce, brown the meats well in the fat over a medium heat. Remove the meat momentarily, add the onions, garlic and a good pinch of salt and sweat for about 5 minutes, until soft and translucent.

Return the meat to the pan, add the wine and boil until you can no longer smell the alcohol. Add the passata, season with salt and pepper and cook (covered) at a gentle simmer until the meat is tender all the way through – about 3 hours. Cover the pot if the sauce starts to thicken too much – you want a thick but pouring consistency at the end. Stir in the torn basil leaves at the end.

200ml of this sauce will coat 200g of reginette.