My Neapolitan Ragu

This classic ragu napoletano is a favourite of mine and has proven to be a crowd pleaser. It’s full of flavour and a dish that always has me going back for seconds!

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  • 5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion finely chopped
  • 1 small celery, finely chopped
  • handful of fresh basil
  • 250g ox tail seasoned with salt overnight
  • 350g pork spare ribs
  • 2 large pork and fennel sausages (optional)
  • 2 tbsp Mutti tomato paste
  • 100ml/3½fl good quality red wine
  • 3 x 400g Mutti polpa
  • salt and pepper
  • 50g pecorino for grating
  • 500g fresh macaroni on 400g dried pasta


  1. Heat half the extra virgin olive oil in a large saucepan. Add ox tail, ribs and fry for a few minutes, turning, to brown well.
  2. Remove meat and set aside. Add remaining olive oil followed by the onion, celery, bay leaves and cook until softened.
  3. Add the meat back into the pot followed by the tomato paste. Cook for about 1 minute then and the red wine, cook for a few minutes until the liquid has reduced slightly by half.
  4. Add the passata to the pot and bring to the boil, reduce the heat. Have your oven pre-heated to 160 deg. Place lid on top of the saucepan and cook in the oven for 3 hours. Every hour remove lid and give it a stir. Make sure if your oven seems to be drying the sauce out lower the temperature. For the last hour of cooking add the sausages.
  5. Once cooked, Lift the meat out of the pot onto a serving plate and keep warm. Separate all the meat from the bones and add meat back to sauce. With the sausages just chop them up and also add back to pot. Discard bones.
  6. Cook pasta in salted boiling water for about 2 minutes. If using dried pasta cook according to the instructions. Add the cooked pasta to the sauce and stir together to coat all the pasta. Season with salt, pepper and add fresh basil. Add half the grated pecorino and mix well.
  7. To serve, ladle the pasta into four serving bowls, top with some of the meat and more pecorino if you wish.

Serves 6

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