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A Cooking Adventure with Thom

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Risotto with Tomato Sauce

You will find this recipe and many more at Anna Maria Volpi's, A Passion For Cooking,
Serves: 4




The traditional ragu’ is a very thick, rich, and tasty sauce that requires about 3 – 4 hours of preparation. The meat-tomato sauce of this recipe is full in taste, but takes less time to prepare, which makes it practical for everyday, faster cooking.

This sauce, besides being the perfect complement for lasagna, is also excellent as a dressing for pasta (e.g., spaghetti or fettuccine). Add the sauce to the freshly drained pasta, top with grated parmigiano cheese, toss, and serve at once.

To add taste to the sauce, a mixture of different ground meats can be used, such as half beef and half pork. The addition of milk helps reduce the acidity of the tomatoes if they are not ripe enough.



Meat Sauce:
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons (45 gr) butter
1 medium onion, finely diced
1 carrot, finely diced
½ stick celery, finely diced
1 garlic clove, diced
½ lb (225 gr) ground meat
¼ cup (60 cc) dry white wine
salt and pepper
2½ cups (550 gr) tomatoes, puréed in a blender
pinch of nutmeg
2 tablespoons milk or heavy cream

For the Risotto :
¾ lb (300 gr) arborio rice
5 cups (approximately 1 liter) broth
salt and pepper
2 eggs
3 oz (100 gr) freshly grated parmigiano cheese
2 oz (60 gr) butter


Cooking Method

Meat Sauce:

  1. Place oil and butter in a saucepan, and turn the heat to medium.

  2. When the butter starts foaming, add the diced onion, carrot, celery, and garlic

  3. Sauté and stir until the onion is soft and translucent.

  4. Add the ground meat.

  5. Stir with a wooden spoon, and break the meat into small bits.  

  6. Cook until the meat is fully browned.

  7. Add the wine, salt, and pepper. 

  8. Turn the heat to high, and let the wine evaporate.

  9. Add the tomato, nutmeg, and milk.

  10. When the sauce starts boiling, turn the heat to low. 

  11. Cover the saucepan and simmer slowly for about 1 hour, stirring occasionally.


  1. Stir the rice into the tomato sauce and turn the heat to medium.

  2. When the rice starts absorbing the sauce and appears thicker, add a ladle of broth.

  3. Stir frequently to prevent the rice from sticking to the pan.

  4. When the broth is absorbed and rice becomes ticker, add more broth. 

  5. Continue stirring and adding broth, a ladle at a time, keeping the rice to the consistency of a dense paste. 

  6. Add salt and pepper. 

  7. The rice is ready in about 22 minutes, when “al dente”:   firm, but not too soft and overcooked.

  8. Beat the egg with a pinch of salt.

  9. When the rice is ready add the egg and mix vigorously.

  10. Stir in the parmigiano cheese and butter. 

  11. Transfer to warm serving dishes and serve at once.

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