Red wine ragu rigatoni

In September we’ll be kicking off our Summer cooking classes with food that synonymous with conviviality. Of course, it can only be Italian. I’m taking inspiration from my recent visit to Bologna. You can read about it HERE. In preparation for the classes, there’s a fair amount of recipe testing, (and eating) involved. Only the best recipes make it onto the menu. With our recent spate of grim weather, we headed indoors, lit the fire and poured the wine. We also made pasta. Here’s the recipe for my red wine ragu with rigatoni.

Red wine ragu rigatoni

The success of a good pasta hinges on the sauce. This meaty sauce is my take on the classic Bolognese. I’ve based it on the countless versions we ate in Bologna. As with most successful Italian dishes, it’s made with simple ingredients and lots of love. As to the definitive recipe, each family has their own. I think this might be ours. It’s the kind of recipe you can put in your back pocket. It’s dependable and always delivers. I usually make double, using one and freezing the other for nights when I don’t feel like cooking.

Red wine ragu rigatoni
Red wine ragu rigatoni
Red wine Ragu with rigatoni
Serves 6
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely diced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and finely diced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 500g lean, free-range beef mince
  • 1 stem fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon mixed spice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • freshly cracked black pepper
  • 3/4 cup red wine (I used a good Merlot)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 800g tinned tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 cup beef stock
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 400g rigatoni pasta
  • freshly grated parmesan, to serve
  • fresh basil, to finish
  1. Heat the olive oil in a deep saucepan and sauté the onion and carrots until softened.
  2. Add the garlic and cook for a further 2 minutes.
  3. Now add the mince cook on a high heat until well browned. Add all the herbs and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Deglaze the pan with the wine and reduce by half.
  5. Add the tomato paste, tinned tomatoes, sugar, stock and bay leaves.
  6. Simmer for 1 hour until the liquid is reduced and the sauce is thickened.
  7. In the meanwhile, cook the pasta in plenty of well-salted, boiling water.
  8. Reserve 1 cup of pasta cooking water before draining.
  9. Tip the pasta into the sauce and toss to coat.
  10. Finish with fresh basil and parmesan cheese.


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8 Comments. Leave new

  • Now that’s a bowl of food I could inhale. Delicious!

  • Dianne Bibby
    22 August 2017 8:09 am

    Once I started, I literally kept going….. It might have something to do with the deeply flavourful red wine sauce?

  • The pasta looks so delicious, and the pictures are lovely.

  • Dianne Bibby
    23 August 2017 4:19 pm

    Thank you Carlos. Delicious, it definitely was. A real crowd-pleaser that delivers bold flavours for very little effort.

  • Dianne, this looks amazing. I have to admit when I make a bolognese I never stick to a recipe and I end up chucking in literally whatever I have, so it always comes out different.

    I did some batch cooking the other day and I really cooked down my bolognese sauce like you have and the intensity is so amazing.

    Also, would you asd celery to this?

    I will definitely follow this recipe as it looks and sounds amazing. I’ve never added mixed spice, does it compliment the merlot?

  • John Thompson
    30 August 2017 8:39 am

    Good Morning, this recipe looks fantastic. I can’t wait to try it, but I’m a bit confused with the 1/4 tsp mixed spice. What sort of mixed spices and where would I buy it. Thanks.

  • Dianne Bibby
    31 August 2017 8:32 am

    Hi John. The mixed spice is a combination of cinnamon, coriander, caraway, nutmeg and cloves. In small amounts, it’s really quite subtle but adds great flavour to savoury dishes. It also pairs well with the red wine in this ragu. If you cant find mixed spice, perhaps just add a small pinch of cinnamon, ground coriander and nutmeg. I hope this sauce will become a favourite.

  • I’m with you on that score Angela. Each time the sauce gets mostly what’s in the fridge. I left the celery out for this version and didm’t miss it hugely. I think it’s more about the deep red wine flavour and colour. The mixed spice works really well with the red wine in this recipe. Definitely turned out to be one of my favourite ragu combinations so far.

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