Stanley Tucci’s Trick for the Perfect Ragù Is So Easy You Won’t Believe You Didn’t Think of It
Even Ina Garten was impressed by this Tucci family secret.
There are few things we love more than a Stanley Tucci-approved pasta dish. Whether it’s his five-ingredient pasta with fresh tomatoes or the “life-changing” zucchini spaghetti he fell in love with on "Searching for Italy", anything Tucci makes, we already know is going to be delicious.
So, when he shared his family’s method for making traditional ragù on a recent episode of "Be My Guest With Ina Garten", we knew it was going to be our new go-to.
“Do you only cook Italian,” Garten asks.
“It’s what I’m best at, so I play it safe,” Tucci responds with a chuckle.
Not only do we trust Tucci’s recipes because he’s been cooking his way through Italy for years on his CNN show, but also both his parents are of Italian descent and ragù is the meal that his family would enjoy nearly every weekend.
“The aroma is what I awakened to practically every Sunday morning of my childhood,” he said in an Instagram post.
How to Make Stanley Tucci-Approved Ragù
“A classic ragù, it’s a meat-based dish, which is cuts of beef. You’re basically making a slow-cooked sauce,” Tucci tells Garten.
To make Ragù Tucci (as it’s called in Tucci’s memoir "Taste: My Life Through Food"), you’ll start by searing the meat. Once it’s slightly browned, remove it from the pot, but don’t drain the juices. That’s the first step to the flavorful meat sauce.
The second key part to a good ragù, according to the Tucci family, is whole San Marzano tomatoes. You don’t want to buy tomato purée or chopped tomatoes. Instead, buy canned San Marzanos and puree them yourself in a food processor.
The final step might be the most important. After you add the meat back to the sauce and let it cook for a few hours, you want to remove it and strain out any bones before adding the pasta.
“You take the meat out, you set it aside, [and] you toss the pasta with that sauce,” Tucci says.
“So you have the pasta first and then the meat,” Garten asks.
“And then the meat,” he confirms.
For Tucci’s traditional ragù, you’ll coat your pasta—Tucci likes to use rigatoni or penne rigate—with the sweet, rich red sauce, and serve the tender meat on a separate platter.
“Never are the pasta and the protein served together in this case,” Tucci writes in his book.
But, as previously mentioned, everyone serves their ragù differently, so you can add your meat to the top of the pasta, if you like. The important part is that the pasta holds on to the sauce and the flavors meld into the pasta while the meat is flavorful and tender on its own. If you want to eat them together, we won’t stop you, just don’t let Tucci know you’re doing it.
You can find Tucci’s full ragù recipe on his Instagram or in his memoir "Taste: My Life Through Food."