Dinner/ Recipes

Marta’s Rustic Pork & Beef Ragu

A rich, smoky and spicy Italian pasta sauce with fiery Calabrian ‘nduja salumi. Marta’s Rustic Pork & Beef Ragu is super easy to make and packed with flavour (and hidden vegetables). Perfect for a hungry winter’s night or when you just need a big bowl of comfort food.

Marta's Rustic Pork & Beef Ragu - Smoky and spicy flavours from paprika and nduja make this hearty sauce a winner for us. Have it with eggs for breakfast, or pasta with dinner. Winter warmer for sure! | wandercooks.com

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Today we’re a teensy bit keen, because we’re finally going to share with you the FIRST European recipe we ever collected.

And it just so happens we came across it in Japan.

Yep.

How 'nduja like this smokin' Italian #ragu recipe? #homestylesauces Click To Tweet

 

Even though we were staying in a remote Japanese temple, enjoying temple life and making udon noodles with our feet, we were surrounded by travellers from all walks of life.

A freelancer like us, Marta was a digital nomad wandering across the northern hemisphere. But UNLIKE us, she was doing it on the back of a decked out motorbike.

So. Cool.

Hailing from Switzerland but with family roots going back to Italy, we were scrambling for pen and paper when she started talking about her favourite recipes from home.

Marta's Rustic Pork & Beef Ragu - Smoky and spicy flavours from paprika and nduja make this hearty sauce a winner for us. Have it with eggs for breakfast, or pasta with dinner. Winter warmer for sure! | wandercooks.com

 

Quick note: There may be a couple of affiliate links in this post, which means that we may get a few cents if you purchase something through the link. We want to make sure some of our hard-to-find ingredients are reachable at the click of a button. If you have any questions feel free to contact us.

Like the Ragu di Selvaggina we learned in the Bologne region of Italy, Marta’s Rustic Pork & Beef Ragu recipe starts off with a base of sautéed onions, carrot and celery.

But the similarities end there.

While selvaggina is made from venison, this smoky spicy concoction calls for a mix of beef and pork mince, paired up with fiery Calabrian ‘nduja salumi paste.

Intense? Oh yeah!

Marta's Rustic Pork & Beef Ragu - Smoky and spicy flavours from paprika and nduja make this hearty sauce a winner for us. Have it with eggs for breakfast, or pasta with dinner. Winter warmer for sure! | wandercooks.com

But hold up, what exactly is ‘Nduja?

‘Nduja is literally what foodie dreams are made of.

Originating in Calabria, ‘nduja (pronounced DU-yah) is a spicy, smoky Italian salumi made from pork and roasted hot chilli peppers. So it’s literally packed with spicy + peppery + smoky goodness.

It’s so soft you can spread it with a knife, which is pretty much due to ‘nduja’s high fat content (around 50%, compared to 20% in normal salumi).

The good news is that a little ‘nduja goes a long way, so you’ll only need around 100 – 150 grams for your own batch of Rustic Pork & Beef Ragu.

Food Republic has a fantastic article on the ingredient with renowned chef James Bissonnette if you want to know more.

Marta's Rustic Pork & Beef Ragu - Smoky and spicy flavours from paprika and nduja make this hearty sauce a winner for us. Have it with eggs for breakfast, or pasta with dinner. Winter warmer for sure! | wandercooks.com

You’ll likely find slices of ‘nduja as vacuum-sealed slices of salumi or in a jar as a paste. If you can’t find it at your nearest Italian market or import store, check out online sources like Amazon.

On it’s own, ‘nduja has a fiery enough kick to make you go running for a tissue. But when simmered down with the sautéed vegetables and mince, it adds a gentle chilli kick.

In Italy it’s super popular to eat ‘nduja slathered on crusty bread, or with slice of strong, ripe cheese.

According to Gina over at Serious Eats, “Adding a smear of creamy sheep’s milk ricotta tames the fire nicely. I’ve also topped it with softly scrambled eggs and snipped chives for a breakfast bruschetta, and sautéed it into home-fried potatoes.”

Um, yum!

Marta's Rustic Pork & Beef Ragu - Smoky and spicy flavours from paprika and nduja make this hearty sauce a winner for us. Have it with eggs for breakfast, or pasta with dinner. Winter warmer for sure! | wandercooks.com

Marta’s Rustic Pork & Beef Ragu

We guarantee this spicy, meaty Italian ragu is so satisfying you’ll want to fill your bowl to the brim and eat it ALL. (Plus a little bit more, just because.)

It goes amazingly with your favourite pasta (we recommend tagliatelle or fettuccini), but we’ll have to credit Sarah’s brother for suggesting it as a sauce for nachos with sour cream and guacamole.

I mean, what’s wrong with a little cross-cultural flavour-fest every now and again? 😀

Marta also had some delish recommendations on how to use up any leftover ragu, which we’ve popped in the recipe notes below.

Assuming there ARE any leftovers. 😛

Marta's Rustic Pork & Beef Ragu - Smoky and spicy flavours from paprika and nduja make this hearty sauce a winner for us. Have it with eggs for breakfast, or pasta with dinner. Winter warmer for sure! | wandercooks.com

And to Marta, wherever you are now in the world – thank you! It may have taken us a year to cook, but it was totally worth it.

If you love fiery, smoky deliciousness be sure to check out our other experiments with Italian cuisine like this Smoky Beef & Bacon Bolognese.

Marta's Rustic Pork & Beef Ragu - Smoky and spicy flavours from paprika and nduja make this hearty sauce a winner for us. Have it with eggs for breakfast, or pasta with dinner. Winter warmer for sure! | wandercooks.com
5 from 4 votes
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Marta's Rustic Pork & Beef Ragu

A rich, smoky and spicy Italian pasta sauce with fiery Calabrian ‘nduja salumi. Marta’s Rustic Pork & Beef Ragu is super easy to make and packed with flavour (and hidden vegetables). Perfect for a hungry winter’s night or when you just need a big bowl of comfort food.
Recipe Type Dinner
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 10 minutes
Author Wandercooks

Ingredients

  • 700 g beef mince
  • 300 g pork Mince
  • 100 - 150 g Nduja salumi paste diced into pieces
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 3 carrots finely chopped
  • 2 onions finely chopped
  • 2 stalks celery finely chopped
  • 2 bottles passata
  • 2 - 4 cloves
  • 2 tbsp olive oil for cooking
  • Salt & pepper to taste

To serve (optional):

  • Freshly cooked tagliatelle or fettuccine
  • Parmesan cheese for garnish
  • Fresh basil finely chopped (for garnish)
  • Hot buttered bread

Instructions

  1. Alright, grab out your largest, deepest saucepan and get ready to cook. Heat the olive oil over a medium heat and throw in the onions, carrots and celery. Toss them around to coat them nicely in the oil, and cook until the onion becomes translucent (around 3 - 5 minutes).
  2. Now turn add your beef and pork mince and stir stir stir to loosen and cook through. Add the nduja pieces and continue to cook. Don't worry, they'll soften and disappear into the sauce as everything cooks.
  3. Pour in a glass of red wine (reserving one for yourself of course), and stir til mixed through evenly. Now cook (uncovered) until all the liquid has evaporated, stirring frequently so nothing sticks to the bottom and burns. (No thanks!)
  4. It's time to add the passata. Pour in both bottles, then season with salt and pepper and throw in the cloves. Stir once more so everything is nicely mixed.
  5. Lower than heat to a slow simmer and cook uncovered for 2 hours, stirring occasionally and tasting until you're happy with the flavour and consistency. Cook shorter for a saucier texture, or longer for a dryer ragu.
  6. Serve with al dente tagliatelle or fettuccini, and don't forget to sprinkle with freshly grated Parmesan cheese. top with some freshly chopped basil leaves.

Notes

For the BEST FLAVOUR EVER eat this ragu the day after cooking. Serve with your favourite pasta and hot buttered bread.

!Leftovers:

1. Mix some cooked penne with mozzarella, parmesan and/or béchamel, top with ragu and an extra sprinkling of parmesan, then bake in the oven until parmesan is nicely brown.

2. Heat a dash of olive oil in a pan then add the ragu and warm through completely. Crack in a few eggs (1 to 2 per person), then continue to heat until eggs are cooked to your liking.
Martha's Rustic Pork & Beef Ragu - Smoky and spicy flavours from paprika and nduja make this hearty sauce a winner for us. Have it with eggs for breakfast, or pasta with dinner. Winter warmer for sure! | wandercooks.com

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  • Bintu - Recipes From A Pantry
    20/07/2016 at 8:28 pm

    I’ve never seen the salumi paste before, I bet it adds a lovely richness to the recipe

    • Wandercooks
      20/07/2016 at 9:26 pm

      It was definitely the first time we’d heard of it too. Glad we tried it, the flavour is out of this world. We’re already thinking of new recipes we can try!

  • Rebecca @ Strength and Sunshine
    20/07/2016 at 7:40 pm

    Love the deep and rich flavors!

    • Wandercooks
      20/07/2016 at 9:24 pm

      Thanks Rebecca, we couldn’t believe the colour in the finished dish. So vibrant and so delicious haha 😀

  • Sarah
    20/07/2016 at 7:00 pm

    This looks like the DEFINITION of comfort food! Yum!

    • Wandercooks
      20/07/2016 at 9:24 pm

      Mm hmmm!

  • Sally - My Custard Pie
    20/07/2016 at 5:56 pm

    Great explanation about njuda – I never knew that. Looks delicious too

    • Wandercooks
      20/07/2016 at 9:22 pm

      Glad you learnt a bit about ‘nduja, it’s a great ingredient to experiment with if you can get a hold of some! So many good flavours that it just wouldn’t be the same with a substitute. 🙂

  • swayam
    20/07/2016 at 3:09 pm

    Oh wow!! Just look at that. Glorious gorgeous colors. Wish i was eating this now!

    • Wandercooks
      20/07/2016 at 9:21 pm

      Haha thanks Swayam, so do we! Unfortunately the whole batch was gone within two days! 😀

  • Marisa Franca @ All Our Way
    19/07/2016 at 8:47 pm

    Looks delicious!! I’m from Northern Italy and since my friend from Southern Italy mentioned Nduja I’ve wanted to taste. You ladies just reminded me I need to get some. Our family loves spicy. This is right up our alley. Looking forward to making this and if I don’t have a delivery from Amazon they call me and ask if I’m feeling well 😉

    • Wandercooks
      20/07/2016 at 9:17 pm

      Marisa you’re going to love this! The flavour is amazing and the spicy level is juuuust right. 😀 Would love to hear what you think of the flavours ‘Nduja brings to a dish! 🙂