Date Night Wins: Italian Ragu Recipe

Edward Camilleri shares his recipe for a timeless Italian culinary classic

A masterpiece made easy to wow your date, mates or even the family. This wholesome dish displays hours of gastronomical hardship when in reality the preparation is minimal, giving you ample time to make moves on your hot date.


Preparation time: 30 minutes


Cooking time: 3 hours


Serves: 4/6



  • 500g topside beef
  • 500g pork belly (trimmed)
  • 200g sausages
  • 1 onion
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 glass of red wine
  • 2 tablespoon tomato purée
  • 3 tins tomato
  • Fresh basil
  • 1 kg of pasta (tagiellie is recommended)
  • Parmesan



1 – Chop the meat into medium sized chunks and season well with fresh cracked pepper and coarse sea salt. In a high sided heavy bottom pan on high heat sear the meat in olive oil


2 – Crush the bay leaves in your hands and add to the pan along with the red wine keeping in it on high heat allowing the alcohol to cook off


3 – Add the roughly chopped onion and the tinned tomatoes followed by washing out each can with water and adding it to the pan. Mix the tomato purée with the small amount of red wine and put it into the pan with most of the basil roughly torn apart with your hands


4 – Stir the ragu and cook with the lid on for 2 hours on medium-low heat. Remove the lid and cook for a further hour stirring occasionally. Season to taste after the cooking time is done


5 – Boil the pasta and add it to the ragu with a small amount of the pasta water. Once the pasta is fully incorporated, serve on a long serving plate with grated Parmesan and garnish with a few basil leaves


Additional recommendations:

To further impress your date serve with a bottle of red wine, a Cabernet Sauvignon or chianti goes especially well but any red will be great. A personal favourite is Aldi’s ‘grande Alberone’. At only £8 a bottle it gives off a lavish and upscale impression.

Edward Camilleri

Featured image courtesy of Edward Camilleri.

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