For a Neapolitan, the Ragù (‘O rraù in Neapolitan language) is a sacred thing on Sunday. It is an ancient rite, a unique dish of exquisite goodness that conquered even the heart of a ruthless enemy of all, whose legend presents itself as a miracle.
The Ragù in Naples is truly a sacred ritual, an ancient and mysterious recipe handed down from mother to daughter and which is best expressed in all its extraordinary flavors, on Sunday lunch on the tables of the Neapolitans; a legendary dish synonymous with family and conviviality. The name derives from the French “ragout”. Are you curious to know the legend and the story of how Neapolitan Ragù was born? Click here!
The Neapolitan Ragù, unlike other types of ragù, has the characteristic of being prepared with pieces of whole and unmilled meat. The choice of pieces of meat varies from family to family, precisely because, being a traditional recipe, it is ultimately a perpetuation of family traditions and uses.
To prepare the Neapolitan ragù sauce, start preparing the "braciolette", that is very simple and aromatic meat rolls. Spread the slices of meat that you have beaten to make thin (if they are large you can cut them in half). Finely chop the parsley and garlic and place a little on each slice. Sprinkle with salt, ground pepper and some Parmigiano, then close the slice of meat as you would for a roll. Secure it with a toothpick (wood or steel) for convenience.
Finely chop the onion (choose a large one, white or golden) and brown it in the oil. When the onion has softened, add the meat (all the pieces you have chosen plus the rolls) and brown it well on the various sides, making them brown. As the meat takes on color turn it on its various sides; in this way you will have the meat sealed. At this point you can blend with the red wine (choose a robust and full-bodied type).
As soon as the alcohol has evaporated add the tomato sauce and stir, then add the tomato concentrate and the water.
Mix well, then season with salt and cook the sauce on a very low heat, with the lid half-open, for at least 4 hours. During the cooking, stir the sauce occasionally and check that it does not dry too much; if it gets dry, add a little water (hot).
Your Neapolitan ragù is ready! It can be considered as a single dish, in fact the sauce is useful for seasoning pasta, while the meat is a complete second course.
For the cooking of the Neapolitan ragout you should preferably use a very large terracotta pot, alternatively you can choose a very thick steel pan, which supports well a long cooking.
For the excellent success of the Neapolitan ragout it is essential to respect the cooking times, which must be at least 4-6 hours. During cooking you must keep the heat very low and the pan with the lid half-closed, so as to allow the sauce to "pluck" or to simmer gently, for the whole cooking time.
You can keep the ragout in the refrigerator for a couple of days, well covered.