Il Ragù Napoletano, it’s the classic Neapolitan Sunday gravy - Il Ragù della Domenica. One of just a few Neapolitan meat sauces, it is as famous as Bolognese, but cooked low and slow, piano, piano like Neapolitan Genovese.
The hardy flavors of one, two, even three types of meat infusing simmering pots of tomato sauce all over the city. Rich aromas wafting into the street from a thousand, ten thousand, a hundred thousand Neapolitan apartments. Like flavorful smoke signals, calling Neapolitan families together for the Sunday feast
A marathon meal that will last for hours. The star, the Sunday Ragù. Another two for one dish, the sauce will find its way onto pasta for the primo piatto – penne, rigatoni, paccheri, ziti.
Then the meat, tender and savory will take center stage on the Sunday table. And in the unlikely case you have leftovers, use the ragù in your Frittata di Maccheroni on Monday.
Traditional ragùs are much heavier than many cooks are making them today. They typically use a variety of meats – beef, pork, veal, even sausage and pancetta. Several types of fat might also be used – olive oil, butter, sugna (or strutto in Italian) - pork fat/lard and many recipes call for the addition of red wine.
Giuseppe’s recipe by contrast is a lighter, leaner and more modern take on this traditional favorite. But don’t worry, it packs plenty of flavor!
1 kilo of lean veal plus a few scraps of fat
2 jars (c. 680 grams each) of Italian Passata di Pomodoro (sieved tomatoes). You can find Passata at Italian specialty markets or you can substitute 2 – 29 oz cans of Tomato Purée or sieved canned tomatoes. We used Passata di Pomodoro con Basilico, Basil.
70 grams Tomato Paste
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt to taste
Generously coat the bottom of a large sauce pan with oil and heat over medium-high heat
Saute the onions until translucent
Add the tomato paste and stir through
Add the veal and lightly brown on all sides
Add the Passata and about 1/4 cup of water
Add salt and basil (if it is not in the Passata)
Reduce heat to low, cover (leave the cover slightly ajar) and simmer at least 3 hours stirring occasionally
A native Neapolitan, Giuseppe Topo is a hairstylist and one of the owners of Noi, Naples only English-speaking salon. A passionate cook, when he’s not styling hair Giuseppe can be found in the kitchen cooking up one of his favorite Neapolitan dishes.
Find all of his great recipes at Cooking with Giuseppe!