An easy to prepare Italian pasta sauce, Calabrese-Style meat sauce is deliciously packed with flavor! A rich meat sauce that’s normally served as a type of primi and secondi in the southern part of Italy.
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Nearly every region in Italy has their own way of making their meat sauce.
While Bolognese sauce is the most popular one, this is the first Italian meat sauce I came across that ONLY uses pork.
This ragù is from a region in Southwest Italy called Calabria.
Everything about Calabria is unforgettable – the coastline, the people, the food … you just have to see it for yourself to really appreciate it.
After our trip last summer, this pasta sauce is one of the Calabrese dishes that I now make at home regularly. I’m quite certain it will end up as one of your favorites as well. 🙂
HOW TO MAKE CALABRESE-STYLE MEAT SAUCE (RAGÙ ALLA CALABRESE)
CAN I USE ANY TYPE OF SAUSAGE FOR THIS ITALIAN MEAT SAUCE?
I have used almost all types of sausage EXCEPT the spicy ones.
I do this because I do not want to make the sauce too spicy, and I feel that I can control that better when I just add the peperoncino, instead of having it in the sausage.
However, when I am using a different kind of sausage, I make sure I add some fennel seeds to inject the flavor of fennel in the meat sauce.
CAN I USE A MIX OF GROUND BEEF AND GROUND PORK FOR THIS ITALIAN PASTA SAUCE?
I’ve honestly have not had that combo with any Calabrese meat sauce that I have tried.
If you want to add more meat, stick to pork with bones. I’ve even had some with pork ribs added. Yum.
HELPFUL TIPS ON MAKING ITALIAN MEAT SAUCE –
- The longer you cook the sauce, the better it tastes. But don’t forget to mix it occasionally to make sure it does not stick in the bottom of the pot.
- If you are using full tomatoes, crush them (by hand or by machine) before adding them to the meat.
- Despite being from Calabria, this Italian meat sauce is not spicy. So, go easy on the pepperoncino (unless that’s what you preferred, of course).
HOW TO SERVE RAGÙ ALLA CALABRESE
Here in Stockholm, I always serve them the exact same way I had them in Calabria.
First, as primo (singular of ‘primi’). I use it as sauce for any kind of pasta – but mostly for ‘tubular’ ones. I especially like it when bits and pieces of the ground pork gets stuck inside the hole; makes every bite better. 🙂
Then, as secondo (singular of ‘secondi’). I scoop the sausage (and any other chunk of pork that I added), add a bit of sauce and serve it after the pasta. Believe it or not, we normally eat this course with a chunk of bread. 😉
Oh! All these with a glass of wine, of course!
FOR OTHER PASTA RECIPES, CHECK OUT THESE POSTS –
OR IF YOU’RE LOOKING FOR MORE SOUTH ITALIAN RECIPES, SEE MY OTHER POSTS –
- Italian Cream Filled Pastry (Pasticciotto)
- Tomato and Mozzarella Pastry (Rustico Leccese)
- Sicilian Sesame Seed Cookies
- Neapolitan Meatloaf
Calabrese-Style Meat Sauce (Ragù alla Calabrese)
- 1/2 kg ground pork
- 1/2 kg Italian sausage, fennel (or other types)
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped finely
- 1 medium onion, chopped finely
- 1 medium carrot, chopped into small bits
- 1 stalk celery, chopped finely
- 3 cups tomato sauce
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- salt and pepper, to season
- pinch peperoncino (chili flakes)
- Using a medium to large pot, heat up olive oil, over medium-high heat.
- Once oil is ready, sauté garlic and onion, until onions are slightly soft.
- Add ground pork. Mix. Let meat cook a bit (until most of the ground pork has changed color).
- Add fennel sausage. Mix.
- Add carrots and celery. Mix and let cook for a couple of minutes.
- Add tomato sauce, salt, pepper and peperoncino. Mix to combine. Cover and bring to a boil.
- Add bay leaves. Mix and simmer for at least an hour and a half.
- After an hour of simmering, taste and adjust seasoning as desired.
- The longer you cook this sauce, the deeper the flavour would be.
- Whole tomatoes can be used, but make sure you crush them first.