Rigatoni alla Genovese

Rigatoni alla Genovese

Peter Penguin says...

Sounds like a bit of a faff to me.

This Rigatoni alla Genovese takes an age to simmer but it’s the shit. So do it!

Rigatoni alla Genovese facts:

  • Genovese sauce is a rich, onion-based pasta sauce from the region of Campania, Italy. Likely introduced to Naples from the northern Italian city of Genoa during the Renaissance, it has since become famous in Campania and forgotten elsewhere.
  • The sauce is unusual for the long preparation time used to soften and flavor the onions.
  • More facts here


(8 servings)

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 6 ounces pancetta or salt pork, diced
  • 1.3 kg beef shin, seasoned with 2 teaspoons salt
  • 75 g diced celery
  • 75 g diced carrot
  • 1 tablespoon tomato puree
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 160 ml white wine
  • 1.8 kg brown onions, sliced
  • 900 g red onions, sliced
  • water or broth as needed to adjust liquid level during simmering
  • salt to taste
  • parmesan
  • marjoram


  1. Add oil to pan, set heat to medium high and fry the pancetta until the fat renders down and the pancetta is golden. Remove with a slotted spoon (leaving the pork fat in the pan) and set aside for later.
  2. Raise heat to high and add the beef. Season well and cook until beef juices evaporate and the beef is browned.
  3. Reduce meat to medium high, add celery, carrot and cooked pancetta. Plus some ground black pepper. Cook for about five minutes until veg has softened slightly.
  4. Add tomato puree, bay leaf and white wine. Stir and cook until the pan has deglazed, then add the sliced onions.
  5. Cover the pan and cook down the onions for 30 minutes. Give it a stir and then cover and cook for another 30 minutes.
  6. Reduce heat and simmer for 8-10 hours, occasionally skimming fat from surface and topping up liquid levels if needed.
  7. Season the meat sauce and cook the rigatoni.
  8. Serve the meat sauce with the rigatoni and top with parmesan and finely chopped marjoram (or basil would be good!).