Genovese Red Sauce

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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 3 hr 35 min
  • Prep: 10 min
  • Inactive: 10 min
  • Cook: 3 hr 15 min
  • Yield: 4 servings
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3 tablespoons EVOO

4 ounce chunk pancetta or guanciale, 1/4-inch dice

4 ounces prosciutto cotto or mild ham, fine dice

1 1/4 pounds ground veal

3 to 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 large fresh bay leaf

1 medium onion, finely chopped

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

A few grates of fresh nutmeg 

1/4 cup tomato paste

1 1/2 cups dry white wine

1 1/2 cups milk

1 to 2 cups chicken stock or water

1 pound egg tagliatelle, such as Delverde brand

Freshly grated grana padano cheese or Parmigiano-Reggiano


  1. Heat the EVOO in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the pancetta and render until it begins to crisp, then add the ham and stir a minute or 2 more. Add the veal and break it up into fine crumbles, until lightly brown. Then add the garlic, bay leaf and onions, and season with salt and pepper and a little nutmeg. Let the onions cook, partially covered, for a few minutes, then stir in the tomato paste until fragrant. Add the wine and heat. Then add the milk, reduce the heat to low and simmer gently 3 hours. Add a little stock or water whenever the sauce gets too thick, up to 2 cups over the course of the cooking time. Cool and refrigerate or freeze for make-ahead meal. 
  2. To serve, boil the pasta in salted water to al dente; reserve 1 cup starchy cooking water just before draining. Add to the sauce, toss with the pasta and some cheese and serve in shallow bowls.