Quick Ragu

Pasta Secrets

Today is World Pasta Day, so if you're stuck for what to have for dinner, do you really need to look any further than this quick and delicious ragu recipe from Laura Santini's Pasta Perfect..?!


This is my grandmother’s recipe and is about as easy and tasty as it gets. Loaded with umami, the seared meat and concentrated tomato purée/paste, enhanced by the wine and garlic, combine to create a ragù to die for. I have to be careful not to eat it all while ‘tasting’ for seasoning. It is a meatier olive oil-based ragù, not the better known juicy tomato-based Bolognese. This was what my Nonna Pasqua considered fast food!


5 tablespoons olive oil

1 garlic clove, peeled, squashed and halved lengthways

1 onion, sliced into 8 wedges

500 g/1 lb. 2 oz. minced/ ground beef

1 large bay leaf

3 tablespoons tomato purée/paste, preferably Bomba XXX

125 ml/1/2 cup red or white wine

salt and freshly ground black pepper

freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano, to serve


Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed pan. Add the garlic and onion.

When these are sizzling, add the meat and seal it over a moderate high heat until well browned all over.

Season and add the bay leaf and tomato purée/paste. Cook on a low heat, stirring regularly to prevent the bottom burning, until the oil begins to separate from the sauce.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a pan of salted boiling water according to the packet instructions.

Add the wine to the sauce and cook for a further 5 minutes, or until the wine has been absorbed.

Drain the pasta. Serve the quick ragù with the pasta and top with plenty of grated Parmigiano and black pepper.


For a juicy Bolognese, add two 400-g/14-oz. cans chopped tomato and a pinch of dried oregano. Or better still, add enough soffritto basic sugo (page XX) to give the consistency required. A good-quality tomato pasta sauce from a jar could also be added with excellent results.


For more pasta recipes, check out Pasta Perfect.