Spaghetti/Maccheroni alla Chitarra with 4 meat ragu Abruzzese

Spaghetti alla Chitarra with 4 meat ragu Abruzzese
Prep Time
30 mins
Cook Time
2 hrs
Total Time
2 hrs 30 mins

This rich tasty meat lovers ragu is just the right dish for a special occasion or hearty meal!

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Abruzzo, Central Italy, Italian
Servings: 4
Author: Jacqueline Debono
  • 100 g lamb shoulder or shank or leg chops ( I used large leg chops and cut the meat off the bone and cubed it and then used the bones to make a stock)
  • 100 g veal rump sirloin or hind shank (without bones)
  • 100 g beef rump
  • 4 thick slices of pancetta
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 carrots finely chopped
  • 2 celery stalks finally chopped
  • 2 cloves
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 dried peperoncino or 2 teaspoons of peperoncino flakes (optional)
  • 1-2 cups chicken stock you can use homemade or stock cubes. I made my own lamb stock by boiling the lamb bones with 2 carrots and 2 celery stalks for about 2 hours
  • ½ glass red wine
  • 1-2 690g bottles of tomato passata I use rustica which is thicker
  • salt for pasta and to taste
  • black pepper to taste
  • 360 g spaghetti alla chitarra or normal spaghetti, bucatini, tagliatelle etc
  • Grated pecorino cheese.
  1. Finely chop the onion, carrots and celery and cook them in extra virgin olive oil until they become translucent. Then remove them from the pan and set aside.
  2. Cut all the meat into small cubes and the pancetta into small strips (see photo)
  3. Fry the pancetta until the fat starts to brown but don’t let it get too crispy. Remove from the pan and put it with the vegetables
  4. Brown the beef, lamb and veal one type at a time separately in the same pan as you cooked the pancetta , adding a little oil if necessary. Remove each type of meat once it is browned and add it to the pancetta and vegetables.
  5. When all the meat has been browned return it all with the vegetables to the frying pan.
  6. Add the cloves, nutmeg and peperoncino and cook for 2 minutes
  7. Add the red wine and cook until the wine has reduced.
  8. Add half a cup of stock and cook for a further 2 minutes
  9. Add one bottle of passata and mix everything well together
  10. Add salt and pepper to taste and allow to simmer partly covered for at least 1-1.5 hours stirring occasionally. Don’t allow the sauce to stick.

  11. As the sauce starts to reduce and thicken add a ladle of stock and/or more passata. ( I alternated stock and passata) Continue doing this until the meat is tender and the sauce has a semi-liquid consistency.
  12. Add more peperoncino if required and once the meat is tender add ½ cup of grated pecorino and cook for a further 5 minutes.
  13. Cook the pasta in boiling salted water according to the instructions on the packet. Fresh or homemade pasta will cook very quickly (around 3-4 mins)

  14. Serve the pasta covered in sauce and extra grated pecorino as required
Recipe Notes

If you haven’t got any spaghetti alla chitarra, you can use normal spaghetti (preferably a little thick) tagliolini, bucatini, fettuccini or flat ribbons such as tagliatelle.
For those who may prefer not to eat pork, leave out the pancetta

4 meat ragu from Abruzzo

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