This is the authentic Italian beef ragu recipe from Modena – Italy has dozens of ragu recipes! It is made with braised beef and tomato.

Modenese people use this ground beef ragu to make lasagna, season pasta – tagliatelle – or polenta, or top bread crostini.

Italian ragus may be done with pork, chicken, rooster, sausages, or beef. Sometimes we mix these meats in different proportions and mixtures and with or without tomato paste. Recipes differ from region to region, city to city, and even family to family!

As said, Modena’s authentic ragu is made with only ground beef and tomato paste.

authentic Italian beef ragu recipe
Modena's authentic Italian beef ragu recipe

authentic Italian beef ragu from Modena

Italian ground beef ragu recipe with tomato paste.

Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 35 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 45 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 654 kcal
Author Claudia Rinaldi


  • 17,6 oz ground lean beef 500 gr - 2 + 1/4 cups
  • 1 white onion
  • 1 medium carrot
  • 1/2 garlic clove
  • 1/2 celery stalk
  • 3-4 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 17,6 oz tomato paste (passata) 500 gr - 2 + 1/4 cups
  • salt and pepper


  1. Peel and finely chop the onion, the carrot, and the garlic clove. Finely chop the celery. (I put everything in the food processor and pulse until finely chopped.)
  2. Heat the olive oil in a medium-size pot and add in the chopped veggies. Cook, covered and at the minimum heat until the "soffritto" changes color (about 15 minutes). 

  3. Every now and then stir with a wooden spoon and cover again.

  4. Add the meat, stir well, cover and cook, lid on, 20 minutes. 

  5. Add a teaspoon of salt and about 10 grinds of pepper, mix, cover and cook 40 more minutes, always at the minimum heat.

  6. Pour in the passata, mix, and cook, lid on, 40-60 minutes. 

  7. Unlid, stir and check every now and then. When you get a thick sauce, your ragù is ready. Check it for salt and pepper and season your tagliatelle.


The city of Sassi.


The city of Opulence.


The city of Renaissance.

ragu recipe from Modena a spoonful
ragu recipe for pasta

Enjoy your pasta nights!