by Giulia


(8 servings)


  • 4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 stalk of celery
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 4 juniper berries
  • 1 sprig of rosemary
  • A dozen sage leaves
  • 400 g of ground beef and pork meat
  • 2 fresh sausages
  • 1 glass of red wine
  • 80 g of tomato paste
  • 1,5 l of hot water
  • 200 g of green lentils


  • 200 g of plain flour
  • 200 g of semolina flour
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil


  1. Pour the flour on a wooden work surface and make a well in centre. There, break the eggs, add the olive oil and salt and knead until you get a smooth dough. Wrap in cling film and let it rest for 30 minutes at room temperature, then roll it out into a very thin sheet, wide and smooth.
    Let it dry for about ten minutes lying on the table dusted with flour, then wrap the sheets of pasta on themselves and cut with a sharp knife into pappardelle.
  2. Finely chop carrot, celery, onion, garlic, juniper berries, rosemary and sage, then place all the chopped vegetables in a pot with extra virgin olive oil. Cook over low heat, sizzling gently, until the vegetables are soft. Add the ground beef and the crumbled sausages. Stir well to evenly distribute meat and sausages.
    Cook over medium heat, let it sizzle until the meat has absorbed all the liquid it will produce. It will take at least 20 minutes to get that point.
    Now pour in the red wine: add it in batches and stir often to make sure that it is absorbed evenly by the meat. You will need about 10 minutes.
    Dissolve the tomato paste in warm water, pour it into the pan and stir thoroughly. Simmer slowly, lower the heat and cover the pot with a lid, leaving it ajar for a perfect cooking. Stir occasionally, and cook for 45 minutes.
  3. Now rinse the lentil under cold running water and add them into the pot. Cook for 45 more minutes. The ragout will be ready when the lentils will be soft and the sauce thick, tasty and full-bodied.
    Boil the pasta in salted water for a few minutes and season with the pork and lentil ragout.

It is hard to imagine a more traditional dish than ragout, the Italian meat sauce. It might be for that slow muttering on the stove, it might be because grandmothers always make it better, it might be because since childhood it was associated to Sunday meals with a pristine white tablecloth and the good plates.

There are endless variations to menu: from the Tuscan sugo finto, where the meat disappears, leaving in its place only vegetables and herbs, to the full-bodied sausage and mushroom ragout, which demands to be served in winter with a dish of piping hot polenta.

In this version, along with ground pork and fresh Tuscan sausages, I added green lentils, which give more body to the sauce and make it creamy and wintery. Serve with rustic pappardelle for a whole satisfying meal.

Born and bred in Tuscany, I am a food writer and a food photographer. I live in the countryside between Siena and Florence, where I also teach Tuscan cooking classes for locals and tourists. In 2017 my fifth cookery book will be published. As for every Tuscan home cook, legumes, especially beans and chickpeas, are part of my daily life and my culinary traditions.

Find me on my blog www.julskitchen.com