Italian Essentials: Meat Sauce (Ragù Di Carne)

Andy Anderson !


First off, this is not a Bolognese. Even though the word does translate to “meat sauce,” Bolognese" is not a synonym for "meat sauce" but a specific meat sauce, from a specific place, where garlic and tomatoes are not part of the tradition. This is just a humble meat sauce.

Its beginnings came from working at the side of my Aunt Josephine, and over the years, I added my own personal touches. This is not a top-secret recipe; you will probably find thousands of variations on Ragù di carne plastered all over the internet. This is just my version.

So, you ready… Let’s get into the kitchen.


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30 Min
3 Hr
Stove Top



  • 1 Tbsp
    sweet butter, unsalted
  • 3/4 lb
    ground italian sausage, hot or mild, your choice
  • 3/4 lb
    ground chuck, or round
  • 1/2 small
    yellow onion, small dice
  • 1 small
    carrot, grated
  • 2 clove
    baked garlic
  • 6 oz
    tomato paste, 1 can
  • 28 oz
    crushed tomatoes, 1 can
  • 15 oz
    tomato sauce, 1 can
  • 1 - 2 c
    filtered water, or chicken stock
  • 1 tsp
    coconut sugar
  • 1 tsp
    dried basil
  • 1 tsp
    dried parsley
  • 1 tsp
    dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp
    sea salt, or kosher salt, fine grind
  • 1/4 tsp
    white pepper, freshly ground, or to taste

  • 1 Tbsp
    lemon juice, freshly squeezed
  • 2 Tbsp
    red wine
  • ·
    parmesan cheese, freshly grated
  • ·
    lemon slices for squeezing

How to Make Italian Essentials: Meat Sauce (Ragù Di Carne)


  2. Gather your Ingredients (mise en place).
  3. Add the butter to a heavy-bottomed pot over medium-low heat. When the butter melts, give the pot a swirl, and add the Italian sausage and ground chuck.
  4. Stir, and break up the meat with a wooden spoon. When you begin to hear a sizzle, increase the temp to medium, and continue cooking until the meat is browned.
  5. Add the carrot, onion, and garlic, then continue to cook until the onions begin to soften, about 6 – 8 minutes.
  6. Add the dry spices, and stir for about 2 minutes.
  7. Add the crushed tomatoes, paste, sauce, and 1 cup water/chicken stock, then stir to combine.
  8. Partially cover, and allow to slowly simmer for an hour, or up to three.
  9. Chef’s Note: Unwatched pots tend to burn, so keep the temp low, and give it a stir every 10 – 15 minutes.
  10. Chef’s Note: If you choose to cook it for the full three hours (recommended), they you will need that additional cup of water/chicken stock. Every once and awhile crack the lid, give it a stir, and add a bit of liquid to replace that which evaporates.
  11. At the end of the cooking process, add the wine, and lemon juice, then stir to combine.
  13. Chef’s Note: The way I love to serve this dish, is over angel-hair pasta. I toss the pasta in a bit of fresh lemon juice, place it on the plate, then top with the sauce, some freshly-grated parmesan cheese, and a lemon slice… Enjoy.
  14. Keep the faith, and keep cooking.

Printable Recipe Card

About Italian Essentials: Meat Sauce (Ragù Di Carne)

Course/Dish: Beef
Main Ingredient: Beef
Regional Style: Italian
Dietary Needs: Wheat Free Soy Free

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