John Torode’s meat ragu Recipe

(35 ratings)
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15 min


2 hr 30 min

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


  • Take the meat and massage the red wine into it so that the mince absorbs it.

  • 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.

  • Add the meat and herbs and continue cooking and stirring for a few minutes, until the meat starts to get a little colour.

  • 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.

  • Serve with any pasta or gnocchi.

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Top Tip

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.