Neapolitan ragu is a great alternative to the heavier and more complicated ragu bolognese. It’s all about tomatoes and pork. A bit of veal and some white wine. Maybe an onion. No garlic, no basil, no oregano. No secret ingredients. Just tomato and meat flavour. Clean. Pure. Delicious. Try it. You’ll be surprised how good easy tastes.

It goes pretty much like any other ragu. Brown the meat with some onion, add some wine. Reduce. Add tomatoes and simmer. For hours.

Make sure you use good quality canned tomatoes. Tomatoes are the star ingredient. Don’t skimp. San Marzano tomatoes are a good choice if you can get them. Prepping your tomatoes is a nice touch. Buy whole tomatoes and pass them through a food mill.  If you don’t have a food mill you can substitute passata. Won’t be quite the same though. Definitely try to get the best passata you can.  Lousy passata makes lousy sauce. With this few ingredients there’s really nowhere to hide.

Neapolitan ragu is loaded with big Italian sausage and tomato flavour.

Toss Neapolitan ragu with pasta and sprinkle some freshly grated parmeggiano reggiano on top. Maybe a bit of fresh torn basil and a bit of black pepper. Just pure comfort food.

Neapolitan ragu in a pot with a ladle.

Neapolitan ragu on pappardelle in a white bowl.
neapolitan ragu
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
3 hrs
Total Time
3 hrs 20 mins
This sauce is about tomatoes and sausage meat. Make sure you get the best you can.
Course: Main
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 12
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 10 oz ground pork
  • 10 oz ground veal
  • 10 oz mild Italian sausage - removed from casing and crumbled
  • 1 large onion - finely diced
  • 3/4 cup white wine
  • 2 28 ounce cans whole tomatoes - I really like genuine San Marzano tomatoes here
  • 1 tsp salt - more to taste
  1. Heat olive oil in a pot large enough to hold all the ingredients.
  2. Add the onion, veal, pork and sausage and cook, uncovered, until all the liquid from the meat has evaporated. This takes about 10-15 minutes.
  3. Add the white wine and boil until almost dry, about 5 minutes.
  4. Pass the tomatoes through a food mill to remove seeds and membranes.
  5. Add the pureed tomatoes and the salt.
  6. Cover loosely and simmer 2 to 2 1/2 hours.
  7. Adjust salt to taste.
Recipe Notes

Pass the tomatoes through a food mill if you have one.
If using passata substitute 2 25 oz bottles for the two cans of tomatoes.


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