Ragù Napoletano | Neapolitan-Style Italian Meat Sauce with Paccheri Pasta

Guido Pedrelli
Guido Pedrelli
Italian Cuisine Expert and Food Blogger
Guido Pedrelli
Guido Pedrelli, the mastermind behind Nonna Box, has honed his culinary expertise for decades, inspired by family feasts in Emilia-Romagna. Mentored by his restaurateur nonna, he mastered Italian classics and furthered his skills with professional culinary studies in desserts and gelato making from Mec3. Today, he shares this rich legacy and authentic recipes through Nonna Box.
Expertise: Italian cuisine, Pasta, Pizza, Pastry, Dessert

The two most famous ragùs of Italy are from Bologna and Naples. The main differences are that the Bolognese use ground meat in the sauce and serve it over pasta, while the Napoletanos cook the whole meat in the sauce but remove it and use it as a second course.

Ragu Napoletano Neapolitan Style Italian Meat Sauce

Ragù or “Sunday Gravy”? If you go to Italy and ask for gravy, they won’t know what you’re talking about. The word “gravy” is not related to any sauce; it is an Italian-American term that came from immigrant families mostly from Naples.

Because it’s summer, I made a lighter version of this sauce by eliminating the sausage and a few other ingredients that would make this recipe heavier. This is traditionally the Sunday dish served in Naples, when the whole family gathers around to spend the day together and enjoy good food and wine!

As in the Italian tradition, the braciole is served as a second course, never on the same plate with the pasta.

Here’s the ragu Napoletano recipe:

Neapolitan-Style Italian Meat Sauce Recipe

Ragù Napoletano – Neapolitan-Style Italian Meat Sauce with Paccheri Pasta Recipe

Although this recipe takes some time to prepare, the result is a filling two-course meal. Ragù Napoletano involves cooking meat in a gravy-like sauce, then serving the sauce over pasta as a first course. The meat, or braciole, is then served as the second course. Thrown in a leafy salad and you have a full three-course dinner!
4.17 from 18 votes
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Course: Sauce
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 20 minutes
Servings: 6
Calories: 535kcal



  • Finely chop 4 cloves of garlic and mix with the parsley.
  • Spread the beef slices on a clean working surface and lightly sprinkle salt and pepper on each slice.
  • Spread the garlic and parsley mixture evenly on each slice and top with a slice of pancetta.
  • Carefully roll each slice from the bottom to the top and secure with toothpicks.
  • In a large pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the braciole and sear until each side is lightly brown.
  • Add the wine and cook for a few minutes.
  • Remove the braciole to a plate. Add the onions, the carrot, and the rest of the garlic to the pan and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes.
  • Add the tomatoes and salt and pepper to taste. Return the braciole to the pan, cover, turn to a very low heat, and slow-cook for about 2 hours, stirring frequently.
  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta until al dente, drain well, and transfer to a serving bowl. Spoon some sauce carefully over the pasta to coat.
  • Serve immediately, adding a sprinkle of pecorino and some chopped parsley.
  • Serve the braciole on a separate platter as a second course.
Calories: 535kcal | Carbohydrates: 60g | Protein: 18g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 29mg | Sodium: 335mg | Potassium: 299mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 1985IU | Vitamin C: 4.9mg | Calcium: 233mg | Iron: 1.6mg
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