A popular brand of spaghetti sauce. Ragú makes many different varieties, of course including a traditional tomato sauce, but also including many cheese-based sauces and other types.

The name is based on the word ragout, a hearty stew, and while some of Ragú's sauces contain meat and/or vegetables, none of them do so to the point of being a ragout. I suppose the name is meant to make you think they offer a thick, hearty sauce.

A ragù is often thought of as a heavy meat sauce but meat should not be the central ingredient or the focus of a good ragù. The point is to make a sauce that makes the pasta shine rather than focusing on the meat or the sauce itself.

To make a ragù there are three basic steps:

  1. Brown the vegetables and a small bit of meat in olive oil or butter. Vegetables might include onions, celery, bell peppers, garlic or carrots, and dried porcini mushrooms can be used along with or in place of meat.
  2. Add good liquids like wine or stock and reduce, then add more liquid and reduce again. If tomato is going to be used, it should be added during this step. Each reduction adds depth and complexity to the ragù.
  3. Lower the heat, cover again with liquid, and simmer for an hour or more.

The recipe for Ragù alla bolognese provided by achan is an excellent example of a good ragù.

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