Meat sauce

Meat sauce

Sugo toscano

By
From
Florentine
Makes
1 kg
Photographer
Lauren Bamford

This is my husband Marco’s recipe for meat sauce or ragù, which is also simply called sugo (‘sauce’) in Tuscany – the main ingredient for a good sugo, they say, is time. The longer you can cook it, the better it will be, so put it on your lowest heat setting and keep an eye on it. Use this to dress topini (little potato gnocchi), pappardelle, ravioli or your favourite pasta. It’s also great atop polenta crostini. Any leftovers can be revived in penne strascicate (penne pasta with meat sauce).

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
500g minced beef
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
1 brown onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon tomato paste
500ml red or white wine
325g tomato passata, (puréed tomatoes)

Method

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed stockpot over a medium–high heat. Brown the meat for about 10–15 minutes. When cooked, remove it from the pot and set aside for later. Add the chopped vegetables to the pot and turn the heat to low. Season with salt and pepper and gently sweat the vegetables until soft but not browned. Cook gently, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes. Return the meat to the pot, add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, for a minute or two. Cover with the wine and cook, uncovered, until the wine has reduced almost completely.
  2. Add the tomato passata and about 325 ml water. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Bring to a gentle simmer and let it cook on the lowest heat possible, covered, for 2–3 hours. Check and stir every now and then; you may need to top it up with water if it is getting too dry too quickly. If not using all of it at once, you can store in an air-tight container in the fridge for several days. It also freezes well.
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