Wednesday 29 April 2015

Sugo Al Ragu - Slow Cooked Oxtail Ragu Pasta Sauce

Ragu seems to be the 'flavour of the month' so to speak. It's all over Masterchef, My Kitchen Rules and what all the celebrity chefs are talking about. As an Italian (Sicilian) we never actually called this simple pasta sauce a ragu, to us as the children, the Aussiefied version was just chunky meat sauce. We had this discussion around the dinner table not too long ago about all the trendy terminology that has been picked up and is now in everyday vernacular. If I had a dollar for everytime my Nonna said that a 'latte' literally translates into milk and how absurd it would be to order a large milk from Gloria Jeans, I'd be a rich lady! So is similar with ragu... "what's this ragu?" she says, you would have never seen that on a menu 30 years ago. Well I'm certainly glad things have changed and we are seeing this delightful dish more and more.

This particular dish brings me back to some of my earliest memories. My Dad has always taken great pleasure in watching the infants in our family suck on a big juicy bone (like a puppy) and get a lovely big sauce moustache after having pasta with sugo al ragu.

Like a lot of Italian cooking, it's very hard to place quantities on ingredients and such, since Italians are BAD with recipes, everything is by look and feel, which is kind of beautiful too. Although this forever means that nothing is ever as good as Nonna's!

With this recipe anything goes really, so if you have pork use that, if you have lamb use that, spice it up and use a combo if that's what takes your fancy, whatever your taste buds desire will be perfect!

Watch the tutorial...

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Sugo Al Ragu - Slow Cooked Oxtail Ragu Pasta Sauce
A delcious, full-bodied, melt in the mouth pasta sauce. Perfect comfort food!
  • 2kg Oxtail
  • 1 Diced Onion
  • 2 cloves Garlic
  • 1/2 cup Red Wine
  • 400g tin Diced Tomatoes
  • 2 x 700g bottles Passata
  • 2+ litres Water
  • 2 Bay Leaf
  • 1 stick Celery
  • 1 Carrot
  • 500g Tomato Paste
  • Salt, Pepper, Herb Seasoning
  • 1 tblsp Sugar
  • 1 knob Butter
  • Dash Milk
1. Heat a large pot on the stove covering base with olive oil. Once warm add onion and garlic.2. Add oxtail or preferable meat to the pot and seal until lightly caramelised.3. Add in red wine.4. Add passata, tomato paste and diced tomatoes to the pot followed by the water. At this point the sauce should be quite thin and liquidy (see video).5. Throw in celery stick, whole carrot, bay leaves and seasoning followed by milk, butter and sugar.6. Allow sauce to simmer on a medium heat for 3-4 hours stirring constantly. Keep tasting to see whether more seasoning or water is needed.7. Nonna says when you start to see the dark oil on top of the sauce, it's ready. So once ready, serve on top of your favourite pasta.
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield:


  1. Wow!! I often make beef or veal ragu in the slow cooker but I've never cooked with oxtail. I definitely need to try it out! It sounds delicious.

  2. Don't you love how 'fancy' we are now when it comes to food? This looks delicious, I've never cooked oxtail before but have heard great things about it.


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