Ragu many ways

This terrific tomato sauce is so versatile. Originally from Northern Italy, it is so rich, it lends itself to making many delicious meals:-

From meatballs, chilli con carne, spaghetti bolognaise, lasagne, hunters chicken, baked beans, curry’s and heavenly BBQ sauce.. the list goes on and on.  Using it as a base and adding additional sauces, herbs and spices, its a fantastic flexible sauce.   I couldn’t be without it,  its my basic go to recipe.

Tonight, I’m using the ragu for homemade meatballs with spaghetti … more recipes to follow for using it as a base for the above mentioned dishes!


  • 800g tin plum tomatoes
  • 2 celery sticks (diced)
  • 2 carrots (diced)
  • 2 onions  (or 1 bag of frozen onions for SW members)
  • 4 garlic cloves (chopped)
  • 1 bay leaf (optional)
  • 2 tbsp. tomato puree
  • large cup of stock
  • basil leaves (optional)
  • Olive oil drizzle or low Cal spray oil
  • Generous helping of Salt and Black Pepper

(Slimming World members its syn free if you use the spray oil)

I’m trebling this recipe so I can batch freeze it. Grabbing a bag for future recipes and knowing the hard works been already done, is very satisfying!

Lets get Cooking !

Use a large sauce pan or casserole dish.  Drizzle or lightly spray the pan with olive oil or low calorie spray oil, heat the pan.  For SW members I use frozen chopped onions as I find this really helps with sweating down the ingredients without using extra oil.   The moisture prevents it from sticking and burning, stir regularly.  So either add fresh chopped onions into the olive onion or tip the bag of frozen onions into the pan, then the garlic.

Whilst it is simmering, chop the celery and carrots then add.  Let it all simmer until soft, 10 – 15 minutes stirring occasionally.

Then add the tomatoes, stock, bay leaf, basil leaves tomato puree and salt and pepper. Simmer for approximately 30 minutes.  I then blended my sauce with a hand blender you can leave it chunky if you like. Bring a pan of water to the boil add the pasta cook it according to the instructions on your pasta.

Tip √ the hole in a pasta server is supposed to be a portion size hole, per person, to pass it through!

Once the pasta is cooked, add the Pasta to the Sauce, let it simmer for a minute or two. Also add a ladle full of the pasta water to the sauce, this is what they do in Italian cookery books!

I made 4,000 grams of pasta sauce as I made a big batch! 


Ciao! Emily x



15 thoughts on “Ragu many ways

  1. I have made this a couple of times now, first time with meatball and second time as the base for a pasta ratatouille. Very easy to make and wasn’t sure how the vinegar would work but it does. We just blitz to whatever consistency we want for the dish. 10/10 Xx

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Superb recipe. So versatile and time saving especially once you have made it. I just did the one batch and it was sufficient for a meal I did last week and I froze enough for the basic tomato sauce for a lasagne I’m making today and there was enough to freeze for a pasta sauce which you can add whatever you want to it or just have it as a straight forward tasty tomato sauce! Sally (copied from FB SW group heage?


  3. I love ragù! I was born and raised in northern Italy and I can confirm it is a staple over there!! And your version sounds delicious! I usually make a big batch of mine and then freeze it so it’s always ready for whenever I feel like it! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • How fantastic to be born Italian . Such a beautiful country with amazing cultures and food. I’m glad being Italian you can confirm it’s fairly authentic, I read lots of recipes and books, it’s good I’ve got it right, well sort of knowing there is many variations. Good to have a tiny taste of Italy in Derbyshire! Thanks for your support 😊

      Liked by 1 person

      • It is lovely, although I am really loving life in the UK 🙂 There are many variations of ragu, I usually add wine to it to give it a richer flavour, but then I like to add wine to any food! Haha 🙂 Thank you for your great posts and recipes! X

        Liked by 1 person

      • There are so many lovely parts of the Uk but I think Italy is just stunning, hope to visit it more. Yes I agree red wine is a must, I did a basic recipe as originally my Slimming World group asked me for recipes as I absolutely love cooking and adapting recipes they wanted healthy food. I only originally only put up the blog for them save writing them down al the time! I’ve been really surprised at the response and realise also I am actually obsessed with food ! Thanks look forward to more of your interesting nutrition blogs that a light to read ! 😊


  4. Pingback: Veggie lasagne with ricotta and mozzarella! | Emilys Home cooked kitchen

  5. Pingback: Chilli Cod poached in Ragu with spaghetti! | Emilys Home cooked kitchen

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