Makes enough sauce for one pound of pasta
30 minutes prep, 1 1/2 hours stove time, much of it unattended cooking, 2 hours total
This recipe is a component of the Renaissance Lasagne with Hand-Rolled Pasta recipe.

The ragù can be made up to 3 days ahead and refrigerated until ready to use, or freeze it up to 3 months

Cook to Cook: When buying pancetta look for a piece with equal amounts of fat to lean, and try to buy the pancetta in one big piece, which makes it easier to mince; freezing before chopping helps as well. Mincing the meats by hand makes for better browning and gives a silkier texture to the sauce.


  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1/2 large carrot, minced
  • 1/2 large stalk celery, minced
  • 1/2 large onion, minced
  • 3 ounces pancetta, minced
  • 5 ounces mild Italian sausage, ideally without fennel
  • 14 ounces chicken thighs, boned and skinned, and cut into 1/4- to 1/2-inch dice
  • 5 ounces turkey or chicken giblets, (hearts and gizzards), trimmed and finely chopped, or 5 ounces lean ground pork
  • 5 ounces lean beef chuck, finely chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3/4 cup dry red wine
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 cups Master Broth or canned chicken broth
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 2 tablespoons imported Italian tomato paste
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


1. In a 12-inch straight-sided sauté pan, heat the oil and butter over medium heat. Leisurely sauté the carrot, celery, onion and pancetta until the onion and pancetta begin to color, about 8 minutes. Stir often.

2. Add the sausage, chicken thighs, giblets, beef, and bay leaf. Cook over high heat about 8 minutes until they begin to color. Reduce the heat to medium and continue sautéing while stirring frequently with a wooden spatula for 10 minutes, or until the meat is a rich dark brown. It should sizzle leisurely in the pan, not pop and sputter. Slow browning protects the rich brown glaze forming on the bottom of the pan.

3. Drain off as much fat as possible by tipping the browned meat into a large sieve and shaking it to free the fat. Put the meat back into the pan. Place the pan over medium-high heat and add the wine and cloves. Cook it at a lively bubble for 3 minutes, or until the wine is evaporated. As the wine bubbles, use a wooden spatula to scrape up the brown glaze from the bottom of the pan.

4. Increase the heat to medium, add one quarter cup of the stock and cook it down to nothing, about 3 minutes. Stir in the garlic, tomato paste, another one quarter cup of stock, and cook it down to nothing again. Turn into a 2-l/2 to 3-quart saucepan.

5. Add the remaining stock and let it bubble very slowly, uncovered, about 30 to 45 minutes, or until the stock has reduced by about one third and the sauce is moist but not loose. Add the cream and slowly simmer 3 to 5 minutes. Season to taste. Allow the ragù  to cool; cover and refrigerate, or freeze. Warm it before assembling the lasagne.

From The Splendid Table's® How to Eat Weekends: New Recipes, Stories & Opinions from Public Radio's Award-Winning Food Show by Lynne Rossetto Kasper and Sally Swift (Clarkson Potter/Publishers, 2011). Copyright © 2011 by American Public Media. Photographs copyright © 2011 by Ellen Silverman.