John Torode's meat ragu

(13 ratings)
John Torode's meat ragu
John Torode's meat ragu
  • Serves: 4

  • Prep time:

  • Cooking time:

  • Total time:

  • Skill level: Easy peasy

  • Costs: Mid-price

You can't go wrong with this easy, hearty ragu recipe which John Torode learned he was eight - from an Italian!


  • 1kg mince
  • 200ml red wine
  • 60ml vegetable or olive oil
  • 2 large onions, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3 bay leaves
  • A good shake of dried herbs, but not a lot
  • 3 x 400g cans plum tomatoes
  • 20g tomato paste

Try to avoid supermarket mince as it’s frozen to mince it in huge quantities and cooks like chicken pellets - instead buy mince from a good butcher. A good ragu needs fat to keep it moist and full flavoured. Make lots and store it in the freezer for a rainy day.


  1. Take the meat and massage the red wine into it so that the mince absorbs it.
  2. Heat a big, heavy pan. Add the oil and onions and cook gently (or sweat) until translucent. Add the garlic, a good amount of ground pepper and a teaspoon of salt. Stir and stir until the garlic starts to give off a fragrant aroma.
  3. Add the meat and herbs and continue cooking and stirring for a few minutes, until the meat starts to get a little colour.
  4. Add the canned tomatoes and tomato paste and bring to the boil. Turn the heat down to a simmer and cook for 2 hours, stirring every half an hour or so. Taste and adjust the seasoning as necessary.
  5. Serve with any pasta or gnocchi.

This recipe is taken from John Torode's Beef, available from Amazon, priced 12.

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  • 3
(13 ratings)

Your comments

Tried this twice now; really liked the idea of the string tied Bouquet Garni although it is beyond my capabilities to taste sage in the final dish. After twice; went back to using tomato puree, which adds a vecocity to the sauce. As to the 'beef cheeks'? I used 'shin' cos I could get it. When shreaded it creates a 'hash' that is dry on the palale although was good in the raviolli I followed it with.

peter simpson

this is barely a recipe at all and does not resemble any decent ragu Ii have ever cooked or tasted.

sandra carter

This bears no resemble whatsoever to the ragu John Torode cooked on Masterchef! For a start he didn't use minced meat!


I was looking for this recipe all week and now i've found it!!!


But what are the "dried herbs"???


Looking for the beef check recipe I saw on celebrity masterchef! Any one know it???

mrs m mayes

Yes, please could we have the recipe using beef cheek, as on the celeb masterchef last week? Thanks.


Tried this wonderful ragu recipe and was very nice,also from the same john torode book comes a great beef rendang recipe.

Mrs Gill Kedgley

John made a beautiful ragout with celebrities last week, it would be nice if it was on your web site please RUFO

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