Neapolitan ragù is not only a simple recipe: it’s a ceremony which is transmitted and spread for centuries in every Neapolitan family, from generation to generation.
In this article we will tell you the history and the recipe of Neapolitan ragù, so that you could try to do it when you come back home.
If you want to know what to eat in Naples, check our article on top 10 food in Naples.
BE AWARE! Do you know which is the main ingredient of a good Neapolitan ragù? Patience.
In fact Neapolitan ragù needs patience, care and dedication. It has to be cooked for hours and hours, it has to “peppiare” (an onomatopoeic verb which express that phase at the end of ragù preparation when it starts boiling so the sound it makes is similar to a smoke pipe emission).
Even if for someone it could be a winter recipe, the Neapolitan ragù is a real unique Sunday dish, no matter what period of the year is! A traditional Neapolitan Sunday starts with the strong smell of the sauce which enters every room of the house and which covers even the smell of the morning coffee!
The origin of this recipe is French: at the end of XVII century at Marie Caroline of Austria, French chefs prepared the so called ragoût from ragoûter which means “reawaken the appetite” and at the beginning it was a stew with mutton meat. When this preparation arrived in Naples, mutton meat was substituted by beef and calf meat and tomato was added as typical food from Campania region. After this, the name was modified into ragù from Neapolitan dialect as in the case of sartù, gattò, croccè, purè, all originally French words deformed by Neapolitan dialect.
You start by peeling and cutting the onion and by browning it in a pot with low flame, together with the extra virgin olive oil for some minutes.
You cut the pieces of meat (beef meat, pork ribs, pork sausages) and after being softened with red wine you add tomato sauce.
After, you add water and a pinch of salt and you let it cooking slowly, peppiando for at least 4 hours.
During the cooking you can add water, if necessary.
When the meat is soft and well mixed with the tomato sauce, your ragù is ready!
It will be served with striped rigatoni pasta so that the sauce mix with the pasta perfectly, while the meat is eaten as a second dish.
The final advice for enjoying your ragù is making the so called “scarpetta“: at the end when the sauce remains in your dish, take a piece of bread and clean the dish with it, it’s the only way for having a full immersion experience in the ragù sauce!
If you are passing by Naples and you want to try the original Neapolitan ragù, try our Street Food Tour in Naples.