With the Summer winding down my thoughts begin to wander to all things fall. I am a fall baby, born in October, and I do love my sweaters!! When I think of all things fall I think of deep, rich and flavorful meals. Soups, Sauces and hardy Sandwiches.

Now that my mother lives with us, I have a wealth of information about old school cooking. As a child my mother grew up in the city of Philadelphia on Iseminger Street. With that came a deep tradition, one of which was flavorful Italian meals. They were by no means rich, but my grandfather’s trade and business was owning a butcher shop. So they always had a good meal to sit down to. A few weeks ago I had a friend ask about my sauce recipe(or for those of you that insist, gravy) recipe. I gave her my Marinara Sauce recipe (it is listed in the recipe section of my website). But I started to think about when I was a child and the different Sauces my mom made. One of them was our Sunday meal staple. Spaghetti and Meatballs in a rich meat sauce.

Now days we are all very conscious of calories, cholesterol and fats in our foods. But sometimes you have to throw that out the window for a heavenly meal of pasta with a with a rich sauce filled with a variety of savory meats. Add to that some crusty homemade Italian bread and a nice Green Salad and you are in a happy place.

So this morning while sitting with my mom at breakfast we reminisced of times gone by. The result of our morning talk enabled me to learn a little more family history and capture another family recipe that might have disappeared.

My sister Donna Galletta Mansi graciously allowed me to take some pictures from her blog What’s cooking in my kitchen in Lucca of her Ragu Sauce. She has used Braciola as her meat. The recipe listed below has given you a few choices, the nice thing about cooking is you are the chief chef and bottle washer, so you get to decide what you would like to add. Feel free to use all or just one type of meat.

My mother’s suggestions: If you decide to use lamb, and are lucky enough to have a butcher close by, ask them to nick the bone, this will release the marrow and give your sauce a rich flavor. Also the longer you let your sauce simmer the more tender your meat becomes and it will literally fall off the bone.

So now on to the Ragu sauce. My grandmother’s recipe:

5 from 1 vote

Italian Ragu Sauce

A family recipe handed down from generation to generation.  From my grandmother to my mother to my sister and her family , to me and then to my children, and now to you!!

Course Gravy, Italian, Main Course, Meat, Meat sauce, Tomato Sauce
Cuisine Italian
Keyword Gravy, Meat Sauce, Sauce, Tomato Sauce
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 50 minutes
Servings 6
Author Paolina Erina Giordano Mastrangelo



  • 1/4 - 1/2 LB Pork with or without bone
  • 1/4 -1/2 LB Beef with or without bone
  • 1/4 - 1/2 LB Lamb with or without bone
  • 1 medium Whole Onion
  • Olive Oil


  • 3 Quart Whole Tomatoes
  • Basil
  • Salt and Pepper


Meat Preparation

  1. In a large stock pot (6 to 8 quarts) add olive oil, whole onion, pork, beef, lamb. Saute on medium heat and brown evenly , about 15 to 20 minutes. Make sure you stir often so that the meat and the onion doesn't burn.

Sauce preparation

  1. Blend the tomatoes to your liking, then add to the meat mixture, season to your liking, adding the Basil, Salt and Pepper.  Cook on medium heat for 1 to 1/2 hours, this will allow the meat to tenderize and have a fall off the bone texture.

Recipe Notes

My mother suggests that when using Lamb, using the neck of Lamb is best. If you are lucky enough to have a local butcher, ask them to nick the bone to release the bone marrow to flavor the sauce.
When using beef there are a few choices, one variation is using Bracoila (Bracciole)

My sister has graciously allowed me to use her pictures from a blog she did on her website, I have attached her link so that you can have the full recipe

I hope you will give this recipe a try and let me know how it turned out!!!
And as always the most important thing is the Enjoy the Journey…

1 thought on “Ragu Sauce

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