Ragu Genovese

Despite its name, this is a recipe from Naples and is used as a condiment for pasta. The origins seem to go back to the 16th century, when a group of immigrants from Genoa used to cook meat in this fashion; hence the name genovese.


2 lbs. onion
1 clove garlic
1 celery stalk
1 carrot
1 oz. lard
1 oz. salame
1 oz. prosciutto
3 oz. olive oil
2 oz. pancetta, chopped
1 oz. tomato paste
1 lb. lean round beef
1 cup white wine
salt, pepper
beef bouillon, as needed

How to make the Braised Onion and Beef Sauce:

Cut onion, garlic, celery and carrot into julienne. Coarsely chop lard, salame and prosciutto. Place the lot into a baking pan, adding oil and pancetta. Saute slowly, over low heat until the vegetables are soft but not browned. Brown it all around, add the beef and dilute the paste into 1/2 cup of lukewarm water and add to the pot together with the wine and place the roast into the oven at 350°F. Cook for 3-4 hours, adding beef bouillon as necessary. Salt and pepper to taste. The final result should be that of a rather dark, glazed sauce.

This ragu’ genovese is good for ziti or any other type of maccheroni with a large hole. The meat can be served together with the ragu or as a separate course.

Regional recipe from Sicily