What is Ragù Sauce?

Kidney beans, which are sometimes included in ragu sauce.
Ragù sauce originated in Bologna, Italy.
Spaghetti with ragu sauce.
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  • Written By: Ann Casano
  • Edited By: Lucy Oppenheimer
  • Last Modified Date: 26 August 2015
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A ragù sauce is an Italian culinary staple that refers to any sauce to which meat is added. The meat, typically ground beef, is cooked slowly by simmering until tender. There are many different ragù sauce recipes but they usually include the garlic, onions, tomatoes, celery, carrots and spices. Ragù sauce is typically a thicker meat sauce that is usually served over pasta.

The actual word ragù is derived from the French word ragout which translates to stew. The French verb ragouter literally means to stimulate the appetite.

The origin of ragù sauce can be traced back to Bologna, Italy. Often times a ragù sauce is prepared in a Bolognese style which simply means that the ragù is served over pasta. Milk may also be added in the later stages of cooking to give the sauce a creamy texture.

Cooks from all over the world have invented their own versions of ragù sauce. Instead of the traditional ground beef, lamb, fish, pork (including pancetta or Italian ham) or veal may be used. To add spice to the sauce, red chillies, bell peppers and cumin can be added. There are recipes that also include the addition of kidney beans, Worcester sauce and tarragon.


In 1937, Unilever launched a jarred Italian sauce named Ragú®. It was America's first national pasta sauce. Ragú® sauces have become the some of the best selling pasta sauces in the United States. Their line of sauces come in 30 different varieties including: cheesy, chunky, organic and light. Ragú® also boasts that their product contains no additives or preservatives and is all natural.

Ragú® recently discarded the pasta sauce jar. The company launched a ready-made spaghetti sauce microwavable pouch with a cooking time of 90 seconds. It comes in three different flavors: Tomato, Garlic and Onion. The pouch contains less than 3 grams of fat per serving and contains no trans-fats. All Ragú® products contain a full serving of vegetables in every half cup of sauce.


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What country is ragu sauce sold in?

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