This White Ragu is a hearty pasta sauce filled with pancetta, ground beef and ground pork. It has the traditional red ragu flavors without the addition of tomatoes. This delicious sauce gets piled on tagliatelle or pappardelle pasta which is a perfect match to the crumbly texture of the ragu sauce.
If you are looking for a meal with big flavor that will please the whole family, this white ragu sauce is your ticket. This recipe makes enough to feed several people and it will definitely leave everyone feeling nice and full! This is a great recipe to make for a dinner party or cozy, relaxed meal at home.
Serve this hearty pasta dinner with a crusty piece of toasted bread and a fresh green salad. You will enjoy dipping the bread into the sauce just as much as you’ll love it with the pasta!
Why You'll Love this Recipe
Approachable - This recipe has several steps and takes some time to simmer on the stove, but none of those steps are difficult or require any special skills. This can easily be made by anyone and is a great way to have kids help in the kitchen. Have them help you chop the vegetables, add the ingredients to the pot and help stir while the sauce simmers on the stove.
Delicious - This recipe begins with cooking the onions, carrots and celery. That, in itself, is delicious. Then you add three different kinds of meat, white wine and herbs to create the best flavor profile! The butter and parmesan added at the end give it the last punch of flavor and the end result is a rich, crumbly meat sauce!
Leftovers - This recipe makes plenty to feed several people and still have enough for leftovers. You can easily make this at the beginning of the week and then warm it up throughout the week as leftovers. Serve with delicious crusty toasted bread for full flavor!
Here are the ingredients you will need for this delicious ragu sauce:
- Olive oil: Use a good quality extra virgin olive oil for the best flavor.
- Onion: You will need chopped white onion for this recipe.
- Pancetta: Use diced pancetta for this.
- Herbs: You will use fresh rosemary, thyme and sage.
- Salt & black pepper
- Pork: Use ground pork.
- Beef: Use ground beef.
- Wine: Use a dry white wine, like chardonnay.
- Chicken stock
- Milk: Use whole milk for the most flavor.
- Parmesan: Freshly grated parmigiano reggiano cheese is best.
- Pasta: I prefer to use tagliatelle, but you can use any thick cut dry or fresh pasta.
Let's make this Italian white ragu recipe together!
Step 1: In a large skillet or dutch oven, add the olive oil, celery, carrots, onion, salt, and pepper. Cook over medium-low heat for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Step 2: Add the pancetta to the onion mixture and cook for 10 more minutes. Then add the herbs and stir well.
Step 3: Add the pork, beef and wine. Simmer for 20 minutes, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon in small pieces as it cooks and stirring occasionally.
Step 4: Add chicken stock and simmer for 20 minutes or until it is reduced.
Step 5: Remove the dutch oven from the heat and add the butter, milk and parmesan. Stir well until fully combined and the butter is melted.
Step 6: Cook the pasta in a large pot of salted water until al dente. Add pasta to the sauce and toss to combine. If the ragu feels dry, add a little pasta water the starchy water helps make the dish more 'saucy'. Serve with additional parmesan cheese.
Expert Tips and Tricks
Here are some expert tips to make this pasta dish:
Prep your ingredients - Dice your vegetables and measure out your other ingredients so all you have to do is add and stir throughout the recipe.
Plan accordingly - Between steps, this sauce simmers for several minutes. Give yourself enough time to make this and don’t skip any steps!
Think big - Use a large dutch oven. This makes a large portion and you want to be sure to have enough room to cook the sauce and then even more room to add the pasta at the end.
Here is some kitchen equipment you will need for this recipe. You can find all of these products on Amazon.
Dutch oven: A large dutch essential to making this recipe. I like this one! Alternatively, you can also make this in a large soup pot.
Pasta bowls: Serve this in a beautiful pasta bowl like this one.
Olive oil: I love starting out this dish with a really good quality olive oil. This one is unfiltered and one of my absolute favorites!
Here are some common recipe substitutions and variations for this easy recipe.
Meat - Instead of pancetta, you can substitute chopped bacon. You could also use all pork or all ground beef, if you prefer. If you don't eat beef or pork, you could make this recipe with ground chicken as well. This sauce would also be delicious with braised pork shoulder!
Pasta - Use any long and thick noodle or any pasta shape that is not too small, like pappardelle pasta. You don’t want the pasta to get lost in the sauce, so be sure to use a shape like rigatoni or penne. Homemade pasta is also always delicious with white ragu.
Wine - If you prefer not to use wine, you can replace that with additional chicken stock.
Heat - Add crushed red pepper flakes on top if you prefer a bit of heat.
Sauce - If you like a creamy sauce, you can add a bit of heavy cream right before you add in the pasta.
What To Serve With
Here are some recipes to serve alongside this recipe:
Easy Garlic Bread: It takes less than 20 minutes to make and it comes out great every single time. Garlic, butter and bread, is there anything better?
Easy Sautéed Whole Garlic Mushrooms: This easy side dish is healthy, easy, and ready in under 30 minutes.
Maple Hasselback Butternut Squash: With tender roasted squash and a cinnamon maple glaze, this is a great savory and sweet side dish.
Frequently Asked Questions
Traditional beef ragu starts with onions, carrots and celery followed by ground meat and a variation of wine, broth and milk or cream. It is very similar to a bolognese sauce in flavor, ingredients and cooking technique.
Tagliatelle is an egg pasta that is long and thick. It is perfect for this recipe because it holds up to the crumbly, cooked down meat sauce.
The absence of tomatoes and tomato sauce and the white wine is what gives this white ragu its name.
Recipe Storage and Reheating
Here are storage and reheating instructions for this hearty pasta dish.
Refrigerator Storage: Store in an airtight container and eat leftovers within 4-5 days.
Freezer Storage: Freeze in a freezer-safe, airtight container and keep for up to 3 months. When you're ready to use, thaw in the refrigerator and reheat as instructed below.
Reheating Instructions: The best way to reheat this recipe is to heat in a skillet over low heat until warm.
Other Recipes to Try
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 cup celery chopped
- 1 cup carrots chopped
- 1 cup white onion chopped
- 4 oz pancetta diced
- 1 tablespoon fresh sage chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary chopped
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- 1 lb ground pork
- 1 lb ground beef
- 4 oz white wine
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- 2 tbsp whole milk
- ½ cup grated parmesan
- 1 lb tagliatele
- Heat a large dutch oven over medium heat. Add olive oil, celery, carrots, onion, salt, and pepper. Cook vegetables on medium-low heat for 15 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Add pancetta to the pot. Cook with the vegetables for 10 minutes. Add herbs and stir well.
- Add the pork, beef, and wine to the pot. Stir very well, breaking up all of the meat. Simmer over medium-low heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add chicken stock and stir. Simmer for 20 minutes, until reduced.
- Remove sauce from heat and stir in butter, milk, and parmesan.
- Cook pasta until al dente. Drain and toss pasta with sauce. Serve with more parmesan cheese.