Mains/ Sauces and Dressings

Italian Beef Ragu – A Classic Recipe

November 2, 2017 (Last Updated: July 31, 2018)

A classic beef ragu that’s easy and packed full of flavour using only a few simple ingredients. Toss it with fresh pappardelle pasta, make it into lasagne with bechamel sauce or use it as a filling for homemade ravioli for a truly authentic Italian meal. Find step by step photos and instructions below.

Classic beef ragu is one of my all-time favourite Italian foods. It’s very simple and easy to put together. It can simmer away on a Sunday afternoon while you relax and sip on a glass of wine before tossing it with your favourite pasta. Proper comfort food that’s made to be enjoyed with the whole family.

An overhead shot of Italian beef ragu in a bowl with basil on top

How To Make Beef Ragu – Step By Step

The ragu starts like a lot of Italian sauces, stews and soups, with Il Soffritto. Il Soffritto is very simply, finely chopped carrot, celery and white onion sauteed slowly with a little olive oil for about 10 minutes until soft but not browned. This adds incredible depth of flavour to many dishes and can even be made in advance to add into weeknight meals for an extra flavour punch.

How To Make Il Soffritto

Finely chop equal amounts of carrot, white onion and celery. To make Italian beef ragu, I use 1 carrot, 1 celery stick and 1 white onion. Saute the chopped veggies in a large pan with a little olive oil. The key is to saute the veg slowly on a low/medium heat so they soften and release all the delicious flavours without browning or burning (around 7-8 minutes, photo 1)

Once the vegetables are soft add the beef mince and pork mince to the pan and brown then add the red wine and continue to cook until the wine has reduced by half.

Top Tip: Pork mince is sweeter and fattier than beef mince by using equal amounts of beef and pork mince it gives the ragu tons of extra flavour.

Step by step photos on how to make soffritto for Italian beef ragu

Once the wine has reduced add the tomato passata/pureed tomatoes and beef stock. Stir the sauce and let it simmer on a low heat for 2 and a half hours.

Tip: If the sauce reduces too much add an extra cup/230ml of water and stir.

Step by step photos on how to make Italian beef ragu

This authentic beef ragu is perfect tossed with pappardelle pasta made into a classic lasagne and stuffed into cannelloni or ravioli. It’s comfort food at it’s best made to be enjoyed with the whole family.

More Authentic Italian Recipes To Try;

A close up of Italian beef ragu with a wooden spoon at the side

If you’ve tried this Italian beef ragu or any other recipe on the blog then don’t forget to rate the recipe and let me know how you got on in the comments below, I love hearing from you! You can also FOLLOW ME on FACEBOOK, TWITTER, INSTAGRAM and PINTEREST to see more delicious food and what I’m getting up to.

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5 from 2 votes

Italian Beef Ragu

A classic beef ragu that's easy and packed full of flavour using only a few simple ingredients it's perfect for lasagne, tossed with pasta, as a filling for ravioli and cannelloni and so much more!
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 40 minutes
Servings 6 people
Calories 547kcal
Author Emily Kemp


  • 1 carrot
  • 1 white onion
  • 1 stalk celery
  • 8.8 oz 250g beef mince
  • 8.8 oz 250g pork mince
  • 2 cups (465g) passata/pureed tomatoes
  • 1 cup (230ml) red wine
  • 4 cups (1 litre) beef stock
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 pinch salt and pepper


  • Finely chop the carrot, onion and celery and sweat the vegetables gently in a large frying pan with the olive oil. Once the vegetables are soft add the beef and pork mince and cook until browned.
  • If there is a lot of excess fat in the pan, drain some out. Add the red wine and reduce by half. Once the wine has reduced by half add the passata and beef stock and a pinch of salt and pepper.
  • Stir everything together and leave to simmer on a low heat for 2 and half hours. Add an extra 1 cup/230ml of water after one hour if the sauce has reduced too much.


  • Serve the beef ragu with fresh pappardelle pasta, made into lasagne with bechamel sauce or stuffed into cannelloni or ravioli for a truly authentic Italian meal.
  • This beef ragu can be cooled then frozen. Defrost the day before using and reheat in a pan.


Calories: 547kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 33g | Fat: 36g | Saturated Fat: 13g | Cholesterol: 119mg | Sodium: 457mg | Potassium: 1228mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 42.6% | Vitamin C: 13.5% | Calcium: 6.7% | Iron: 24.6%
Helpful Info for All Recipes
  • I always use extra virgin olive oil in all of my recipes unless stated otherwise
  • When I use canned or jarred tomatoes of any kind I always use this brand for the best results and flavour
  • All vegetables are medium sized unless stated otherwise
  • All recipes are tested and developed using a fan oven
  • Read more about how the nutritional information is calculated here
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  • Reply
    April 29, 2019 at 11:51 pm

    Thank you so much for this recipe. It is the single most delicious ragu I have ever tasted!

  • Reply
    November 2, 2017 at 3:30 pm

    This looks so scumpticous!! Nothing beats homemade 🙂 Saving it for later !

  • Reply
    November 2, 2017 at 1:11 pm

    Beautiful photos Emily, you have done a very accurate step by step and the final creamy colour of your ragu is mouth watering. I usually add Marsala wine instead of red wine, as it is sweeter and off sets the acidity of the tomatoes. It is more commonly used in the South of Italy.

  • Reply
    David @ Cooking Chat
    November 2, 2017 at 12:57 pm

    one of my favorite Italian classics! looks like a delicious version.

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