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Ziti with Neapolitan Meat Ragout

Ziti with Neapolitan Meat Ragout

Ziti with Neapolitan Meat Ragout - the quintessential Sunday supper meal typical of the beautiful southern city of Naples. And yes, it tastes as good as it looks!

Course Main
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 6 hours
Total Time 6 hours 15 minutes


  • 615 gms – 17.5 oz. beef muscle I used chuck steak
  • 615 gms – 17.5 oz. pork muscle I used scotch fillet, but shoulder would work very well too
  • 250 gms – 8.8 oz. pork ribs
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ onion sliced
  • Red wine to taste
  • 2 tbsp tomato concentrate
  • 200 gms – 7 oz. of tomato puree
  • 350 gms – 13 oz. Garofalo's ziti broken into 3 pieces


For the Neapolitan Meat Ragout Sauce

  1. Sauté the sliced onion in a saucepan with the extra virgin olive oil. Make sure not to burn it, or your sauce will taste bitter.
  2. Add the meat and let it brown on all sides. Add some red wine and let it evaporate.
  3. Keep adding red wine as required to cook the meat during the next 40 minutes.
  4. At this point, add the tomato concentrate and mix well to melt it.
  5. Then increase the fire to medium, and add the tomato puree with some water (enough to cover the meat). As soon as it comes to a boil, lower the heat to the minimum and let it simmer. Make sure to cover the saucepan with a lid, but not completely. Use a wooden spoon between the pan and the lid to create a little opening.
  6. Cook for a minimum of four hours, to a maximum of six. You may need to add extra water if it evaporates. Every once in a while, check to see if the meat has become tender. If it is ready, you can remove it from the sauce (some pieces require a shorter cooking time) so it doesn’t melt, and then re-add it at the end.
  7. The ragout will be ready when the tomato sauce is thick, dark, and shiny in appearance and the meat is very tender. Remove the meat to serve separately.

To Cook the Pasta

  1. Break Garofalo’s Ziti in 3 and keep aside.
  2. Set a large pot of water on the stove to boil, and cook Garofalo’s Ziti for the time suggested on the packet, or until al dente. To test this, remove a piece of pasta from the pot and take a bite – it should be cooked but still slightly firm in the centre.
  3. When the pasta is cooked, drain it and put it into a big serving bowl.
  4. Mix it with the Neapolitan Meat Ragout Sauce and serve immediately with finely grated Pecorino Romano on the top.

Recipe Notes

I like to cut out very small pieces of meat and add them to my pasta, but this is just my personal preference. Traditionally, the meat would be “lardellata” before being cooked. That means that small holes would be made into the meat and filled with ham, bacon, and pepper. Then the meat would be tied with string and cooked. Most modern Neapolitans don’t do this anymore, Ragout being already pretty heavy by itself. Tradition would also require the use of a copper or clay pan (the so-called tiano) in which to cook the sauce.