Sicilian Ragu

Food & Wine

Sicilian Ragu

This is my version of the classic ‘spag bol’; but it’s much richer and, I think, much much nicer. The nutmeg, cinnamon and milk additions were all suggested to me years ago by a Sicilian friend and make a big difference. Use in lasagna or tossed through your favourite pasta shapes.

Serves 6-8


  • 2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Brown Onion, Diced
  • 100g Sliced Smoked Pancetta
  • 1 Clove Garlic, Finely Chopped
  • 250g Minced Beef
  • 250g Minced Pork
  • 2x400g tin Chopped Tomatoes
  • 2 Tablespoons Sundried Tomato Paste
  • 1/2 Cup Red Wine
  • 1/2 Cup Chicken Stock
  • 1 Teaspoon Brown Sugar
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Freshly Grated Nutmeg
  • 1 Cinnamon Stick
  • 1/2 Cup Whole Milk


Preheat oven to 150C. Heat one tablespoon of the olive oil over a medium heat and gently fry the onion for about 10 minutes, stirring often. Add the pancetta and garlic and cook for another five minutes. Tip this mixture into a heavy casserole dish and set aside. Now add a little more olive oil to the frying pan, put it over a high heat and add both minces, in batches, cooking the meat so it browns up nicely. Now transfer this to the casserole with its onion mixture.


Place the casserole dish over medium-high heat and add the tomatoes, stock, sun-dried tomato paste, red wine, freshly grated nutmeg, brown sugar, milk and a generous seasoning. Transfer to the oven (uncovered) to cook for three hours so the mixture reduces down to an intensely flavoured ragu. Serve with lasagne or your favourite pasta shapes.

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