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Prep Time 20 minutes - Total Time 4 hours - Serves 5

Forgot get your normal bolognese, my ragu is made using actual cuts of beef & pork. Cooked low and slow in a rich tomato and red wine sauce tossed together with spaghetti and fresh herbs. Using actual cuts of meat instead of mince, which is what you normally find in Bolognese makes a world of difference.

(You will also find this recipe on page 70 of my book Richard’s Family Favourites click here)


  • 400 g of diced beef.

  • 400 g of diced pork.

  • 200 g of diced pancetta or smoked lardons.

  • 2 garlic cloves, finely sliced.

  • 1 medium onion, diced.

  • 1 medium carrot, diced.

  • 1 stick of celery, diced.

  • 300 ml of red wine.

  • 1 tbsp of tomato purée.

  • 1 tbsp of plain flour.

  • 2 x 400g tins of chopped tomatoes.

  • 1 tbsp of soft dark brown sugar.

  • 1 tbsp of dried oregano.

  • Chilli flakes, to taste.

  • 1 beef stockpot.

  • 250 g mixed cherry tomatoes.

  • 3 tbsps of balsamic vinegar.

  • Extra-virgin olive oil.

  • A handful of fresh basil, roughly chopped.

  • A handful of fresh parsley, roughly chopped.


  1. This recipe is all about building flavours so to do that start by adding the pancetta with a little oil to a large cold ovenproof dish and pop on a high heat. You want to cook this for 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown and crispy. Then remove and place to one side, keeping the juices in the dish.

  2. Next, you want to separately brown off the pork and beef. Add either one to the dish and season. Fry over a high heat to build a crust, around 5 minutes. Once done remove from the dish, place with the pancetta and repeat the process; and again remove to one side.

  3. Now that all the meat is browned off and sitting to one side, turn the heat to low and add a drizzle of olive oil. Add all the veg, season and soften for 5 minutes. Add the tomato purée and cookout for 2 minutes.

  4. Return all the meats along with any juices back to the dish and add the flour. Mix well and leave for a minute. Turn the heat to high, add the wine and reduce by half.

  5. Add the tin tomatoes, the stockpot, the sugar, oregano, chilli flakes and mix well. Fill one of the empty tins of tomatoes with water, swirl it around and pour into the other one then pour into the ragú. Cover with a lid leaving a slight gap and pop into a preheated oven set at 160℃. Cook for 3 hours or till the meat falls apart when pressing against the side of the dish with a fork. Check on it every 45 minutes or so and give it a stir. If it looks like it’s reducing too much add a little more water. You will know it’s ready once you have a nice thick sauce and the meat just falls apart. Once out of the oven I like to take a masher and just give it all a little push down to break everything up. Give a check for seasoning, adjust accordingly, give it a little drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil and leave to one side.

  6. While the ragú is resting, get your spaghetti on the go. And at the same time put the cherry tomatoes in a roasting dish and coat with the balsamic vinegar, 4 tbsp of extra-virgin olive oil, season and roast for 10 minutes.

  7. It’s now time to put everything together, so into the ragú add the cherry tomatoes, herbs, paste and a bit of the pasta water; give it a good mix and serve. We like to have this with lots of freshly grated parmesan and bread.

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