neapolitan ragu

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. Simple.

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.

This is slow food. You can’t make it fast food. Make sure you have time when you start this. Or make it the day before. It reheats fine.

This isn’t in your face rage. Neapolitan ragu flavours are lighter. There’s plenty of flavour. The sausage sees to that. But it isn’t heavy. No beef. No beefy taste.

Neapolitan ragu needs good quality ingredients

There’s nowhere to hide in this recipe. The simplicity means every ingredient has to pull its weight. So buy good quality pork. The best Italian sausage you can get.

Go see your butcher. They will fix you up. This isn’t a place to use up those Johnsonville brats you have in the back of the freezer.

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.

If you are going to use passata definitely try to get the best you can.  Lousy passata makes lousy sauce. Did I mention there is nowhere to hide? No heavy handed seasoning here. 


Neapolitan ragu in a pot with a ladle.

Good quality pasta counts as well. Neapolitan ragu is a labour of love. Might be an idea to try some of those expensive pastas you see in Italian delis. A nice broad noodle like tagliatelle or pappardelle works well. 

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.

If you have some left over try making Neapolitan lasagna. That’s some crazy good stuff too.

Neapolitan ragu on pappardelle in a white bowl.
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4.84 from 12 votes

neapolitan ragu

This sauce is about tomatoes and sausage meat. Make sure you get the best you can.
Course Main
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours
Total Time 3 hours 20 minutes
Servings 12
Calories 247kcal
Author romain | glebekitchen


  • 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


  • Heat olive oil in a pot large enough to hold all the ingredients.
  • 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. You are evaporating liquid. You will be left with a bit of fat in the pan. That's OK. You can't boil off fat. At least I can't...
  • Add the white wine and boil until almost dry, about 5 minutes.
  • Pass the tomatoes along with their juices through a food mill to remove seeds and membranes.
  • Add the pureed tomatoes and the salt.
  • Cover loosely and simmer 2 to 2 1/2 hours.
  • Adjust salt to taste.


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.


Serving: 12servings | Calories: 247kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 13g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 54mg | Sodium: 493mg | Potassium: 433mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 150IU | Vitamin C: 7.8mg | Calcium: 39mg | Iron: 1.7mg


13 thoughts on “neapolitan ragu”

  1. 5 stars
    Dear Romain, thank you for another great recipe!
    The San Marzano tomatoes premiered in our kitchen yesterday night.
    It was impossible here to get them in the shops,
    but finally I ordered some cans online, long live the internet!
    And the taste is absolutely amazing and indeed very different from
    regular canned tomatoes. I cooked the ragu slowly about 3 to 4 hours,
    and it was a hit! My whole family including grandma and my parents-in-law
    enjoyed it. By the way, we had fettuccine with it, which went perfectly along.
    The pasta is all gone and I have little ragu left. Perhaps we use it for lasagne
    tomorrow. This recipe proves it again: quality ingredients and good technique
    do not require complex recipes to make a great dish. Glebe kitchen did it again! Yummy!
    Thanks from Germany,
    kind regards in the name of the whole family,

    • Daniel. Great to hear from you! I am delighted you managed to get your hands on San Marzano tomatoes – they are a wonderful ingredient. And I am even more delighted that your extended family enjoyed the ragu. And yes – good ingredients treated with respect is a great way to cook:-).

      Try the ragu with fresh mozzarella (fior di latte) if you can find it. That’s a great combination.

  2. 5 stars
    Can’t wait to make this!! It’s been years since I lost my dad’s ragú recipe and had almost given up hope to ever taste it again —until now! This is it! Can’t wait to finally give it a go after so many years of sticking to bolognese! Thank you!

    • This is the recipe for the ragu. If you want it with pasta cook your pasta (tagliatelle is nice here) until just done. Heat some of the ragu in a big skillet. Toss the ragu and pasta together to combine. A little of the cooking water from the pasta if it looks dry. Serve. A little sprinkle of parmigiano is nice.

    • Absolutely. Just make sure you brown the meat in two batches. After that just double everything and go. If you have leftovers (I think you will:-) try the Neapolitan lasagna.

  3. 5 stars
    Life-changing Experiences come when you least expect them. This sauce was one of them. This was the best sauce I’ve ever made (according to my Italian boyfriend who called it “a sauce like my Nona’s”) I want to smear it on my toast this morning and put it in my cereal. So simple and SO tasty. More please. thanks for sharing !

4.84 from 12 votes (7 ratings without comment)

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