Ragù bianco is the white version of the traditional Bolognese sauce, a great classic of Italian cuisine.
It’s a pasta sauce made with ground meat and a soffritto of carrots, celery and onion, flavored with rosemary.
What is the difference between Ragu’ Bianco and Ragu’ alla Bolognese? The name says it all: this version is “white” (“bianco”), that is without tomatoes.
Not only that, but we have chosen to use veal, which is lighter and more tender than beef. Chicken is also very suitable for this recipe.
Ragu bianco is an easy recipe, based on a few simple ingredients, which of course must be of excellent quality.
You have to sauté the minced meat in a pan with a scented soffritto of carrot, celery and onion. Then deglaze and cook with white wine and hot broth.
The broth can be made of meat or even vegetables, for a softer and lighter version.
Ragù bianco is ideal for seasoning fresh egg pasta, especially tagliatelle or fettuccine, or for stuffing delicious meat cannelloni.
As with any traditional Italian recipe, there are numerous regional versions, as we will see below. Versions all linked to the territory, local traditions and typical products.
Find out how to make a very tasty and aromatic Ragù Bianco by following the step-by-step instructions and tips!
- Lasagna Bolognese Recipe
- Tagliatelle Bolognese Recipe | Tagliatelle al Ragù
- Spinach and Ricotta Cannelloni | Cannelloni di Magro
- Fish Ragu Recipe
How to Make Ragu Bianco Recipe
- Prep Time: 15 Min
- Cook Time: 50 Min
- Servings: 6
- 500 g (1 pound) of ground veal or ground chicken
- 1 medium carrot
- 1 celery stalk
- 1 medium onion
- 100 ml (2/5 cup) of dry white wine
- 300 ml (1 1/4 cup) of meat broth or vegetable broth
- 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
- fine salt and ground black pepper to taste
- 2 fresh rosemary sprigs
- 1 tablespoon of all purpose flour or cornstarch
Step 1) – First clean and chop the onion, carrot and celery.
In a saucepan, sauté the vegetables with the extra virgin olive oil for about 2 minutes. Keep the heat on medium, taking care not to burn the soffritto.
Step 2) – Add the ground meat. Stir for a few seconds so that the meat is well combined with the vegetables and oil.
Then add a tablespoon of flour or cornstarch and mix very well. This is a little trick that will allow you to get a creamier meat sauce.
Step 3) – Raise the heat and add the white wine. Allow the alcohol to evaporate over high heat. Then reduce the heat to low.
Add the very hot broth until almost all of the meat is covered.
Step 4) – Also add 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary, which will give the white ragu sauce its characteristic flavor and aroma.
We recommend tying the rosemary sprigs with kitchen twine to prevent the needles from falling into the meat sauce.
Step 5) – Cover and simmer for at least 35 minutes, the time it takes for all the flavors to blend.
Then, for the last 10 minutes, cook over high heat without the lid to evaporate the liquid. Stir frequently, taking care not to let the sauce stick to the bottom of the saucepan.
This white Bolognese sauce should be thick and consistent without too much liquid.
At this point, adjust the salt and pepper and turn off the heat. The Ragù Bianco is ready!
How to Enjoy Ragù Bianco
Ragù Bianco is tasty, easy to make with a few simple ingredients, and perfect as a seasoning for many different recipes.
This recipe is also perfect for baked preparations such as lasagna or for stuffing cannelloni with lots of bechamel sauce.
But the most common use of Ragù Bianco sauce is, of course, as a seasoning for pasta.
Fresh egg pasta, possibly homemade, is great. Tagliatelle or fettuccine are the most common. You can, of course, use any pasta you prefer.
Fettuccine with White Ragu’
Season fantastic homemade fettuccine with freshly made white ragu!
Step 1) – Make handmade fettuccine at home by following our recipe! They are quick and easy to prepare. You can even freeze them if you like!
Step 2) – Cook fresh fettuccine in plenty of salted water for 2 to 3 minutes.
Drain and season with white ragu and a drizzle of oil to taste.
How to Store Ragu Bianco
Ragù Bianco can be kept in the refrigerator in an airtight container for about 2-3 days.
It can also be frozen. Allow the sauce to cool to room temperature, then transfer it to an airtight container.
Be sure to label the container with the freezing date so you can keep track of how long it has been in the freezer.
You can store ragu bianco in the freezer for up to 2 months without significantly affecting the quality or flavor of the sauce.
When you are ready to use this meat sauce, thaw it in the refrigerator overnight and then reheat it on the stove or in the microwave until it is piping hot.
What is the Best Meat to Use for Ragu Bianco?
To make ragu bianco, we used veal, which is very delicate. But you can also use other types of meat.
For example, white meats such as chicken or turkey are very good for this type of ragu. These meats are light but nutritious and, above all, very lean.
Of course, there are many variations that can be made to have a more rich and flavorful ragu bianco.
Many combine veal (or beef) with a little pork or, for an even stronger taste, wild boar.
A white ragu made only with wild boar meat is popular in central Italy, usually served with pappardelle (wider tagliatelle). “Pappardelle al Cinghiale” (pappardelle with wild boar) are very famous in Tuscany!
A tasty white meat sauce can also be prepared with minced rabbit and, especially at Easter, with lamb. Very famous in Piedmont is “Tajarin al Ragù Bianco di Coniglio”.
In addition to using your favorite meat, you can also prepare a mix of meats.
A very special ragu bianco made with mixed meats is the “Ragù dell’Aia”. It’s a pasta sauce made with mostly white meats, prepared with those animals that could not be missed in the farmyards of the peasants (“aia” in Italian means farmyard).
It’s a dish that will surprise you with the complexity of its flavors.
We usually prepare it with chicken and rabbit, but duck, turkey and goose can also be added.
It’s made with all the parts of the animal, even the less noble ones. Offal such as liver is often added.
Ragu Bianco: Some Regional Variants
Almost all versions of ragù bianco are linked to the territory, local traditions and typical regional products. Let’s look at the most popular ones.
Tuscan White Ragu Recipe
The traditional Tuscan recipe for ragu bianco calls for the use of ground Chianina meat.
The Chianina is a typical breed of cattle from the Tuscany region, among the oldest in the world. It owes its name to its region of origin, the Val di Chiana.
To make the ragu creamier, they add a glass of milk at the end of cooking, as in the classic recipe for Bolognese sauce.
Pasta alla Genovese
“La Genovese” (or Genovese sauce) is a typical Neapolitan meat sauce made with onions and beef, without tomatoes.
The meat is cooked long and slowly in the saucepan. It flakes together with the onion and becomes a flavorful and delicate meat sauce.
It’s perfect for seasoning pasta, especially Ziti or Paccheri with which the traditional Neapolitan recipe known as La Genovese or Pasta alla Genovese is made.
But why is it called “La Genovese” if it’s a Neapolitan recipe?
According to historical sources, in Aragonese times, the managers of some inns in the port area of Naples were originally from Genoa, a city in northern Italy (“Genovese” means “from Genoa”)
These cooks prepared a fabulous sauce made with meat and lots of onion, hence the name “genovese.”