Pasta alla genovese

Pasta Alla Genovese

Pasta tossed with an unctuous stewed beef & onion ragu.

4-6 servings

Time: 3 hrs 30 mins

Keith McBrayerBy Keith McBrayer

If you’re tired of making yet another pasta night with marinara sauce, consider leveling up your Italian game with this dish. The recipe breakdown originally appeared in The Mouthful, our weekly food newsletter for the curious home cook.

Keith McBrayer

Keith McBrayer



  • 1 part braising meat

    • beef chuck
      1 part800 g
    • salt
      a sprinkle
  • 1 part aromatics

    • onions
      , thinly sliced
      1/2 part400 g
    • carrots
      , diced
      1/8 part100 g
    • celery
      , diced
      1/8 part100 g
    • cherry tomatoes
      1/8 part100 g
    • olive oil
      1/8 part100 g
    • salt
      a sprinkle
  • Braising liquid (enough to submerge)

    • chicken broth
    • white wine
    • bay leaves
  • Pasta & garnishes

    • rigatoni
      , or ziti
      1 package450 g
    • parmesan
      to taste
    • black pepper
      to taste


Step 1: Sauté the aromatics

First, prep the meat by cutting it into large chunks and seasoning it with an even sprinkling of salt on all sides.

  • Some people off the meat chunks at this point for extra browning and flavor, but it’s not necessary in this recipe since you’re building flavor with so many other aromatics.

Set a large pot or dutch oven over medium heat and coat the bottom with a layer of olive oil. Add the onions, carrots, celery, and tomatoes, along with a pinch of salt. until fragrant and the aromatics are starting to soften.

Step 2: Add the meat & braising liquid

Add the meat chunks to the pot. Add in a bit of white wine to the bottom of the pan. Add in the broth until everything is barely submerged. Add 2-3 bay leaves.

  • The exact ratios don’t matter here a ton, but ~20% wine is a great starting point. More wine makes for a brighter flavor. You could use just broth too.

Bring the pot to a , then reduce the heat to low and partially cover, which should keep the pot at a very gentle .

Step 3: Braise until tender

Allow the pot to over this low heat for 2-3 hours or until the beef is completely tender and shreds easily.

  • Alternatively, you could pop the covered pot in a 300°F/150°C oven to braise without having to monitor a stove.

When the meat is done, remove the bay leaves, and shred with tongs or a fork. It should mix in with the onions and remaining liquid (which should be slightly and thickened).

  • Either store in the fridge or proceed to combine with cooked pasta to finish the dish.

Step 4: Cook the pasta & serve

In salted water, however many servings of pasta you want according to the package directions or until al dente. Reserve some pasta water before draining.

In a large pot or pan, combine cooked pasta with enough braised beef mixture to completely coat the noodles. Over low heat, toss with grated pecorino or parmesan until everything is warm and homogenous. If the mixture is too tight, add a bit of pasta water. If you want it creamier, add a bit more grated cheese.

Serve & garnish with black pepper and extra grated cheese.



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