In May 2021, Eatsperience Madrid had the pleasure to start a collaboration with The Expat Magazine: #onerecipeoneculture. The project aims to discover every month a different country and learn a traditional recipe.

The past month we discovered Finland, and its traditional dish Lohikeitto (Salmon soup).

finland arctic guesthouse igloos


Learn more about Finland on The Expat Magazine Travel Tips Blog

This month we visit my country: Italy!

Italy is renowned for its history, art, but most of all, for its food! And even if we’re talking about a very little country, the Italian people are very different, and their cultural and culinary habits diverse.

That’s because, until the second half of the XIX century, there was no Italy but a lot of different kingdoms always fighting against each other to conquer a bigger part of the “Italian” territory, and grow their domain over the enemy empires: Spain, Austria, French, the Papal States, and internal noble families.

Local people had cultivated their own traditions, and many survived to the different dominations they suffered. Following these evolutions, we now have plenty of different “traditional” Italian dishes that change from region to region, and in many cases, from town to town. One of my favorites, since I was a child, is Pasta al Ragù, and every family has its own recipe.

The recipe I want to share today comes from the Neapolitan culinary culture, I learned it the past year from a local friend’s mom, Mamma Milena, and it’s perfect if you love pasta and meat: Ragù Napoletano. It’s a pasta sauce that needs very long cooking over low heat to reach the perfect flavor. With Mamma Milena, we started cooking at noon, and the ragù was ready in time for dinner, 7 hours later!

Of course, if you don’t have so much time, you can turn the heat up and reduce the timings, but if you do have the time, my advice is to respect the low cooking, the result will be incredible! Let’s see how to make the perfect Ragù Napoletano.


Disclaimer: it’s very hard to share precise quantities for this recipe because it all depends on how long it will be the cooking process, and how many pieces of meat each person will receive. Ideally, you want to give at least a little bit of different meat to each plate of pasta, and then you need meat leftovers because the meat should be the second course. So, we are going to list the ingredient we used, but not the specific quantities.

Please remember that if you don’t like a type of meat, you can always substitute it with another type, as long as it is still beef, pork, or sausage.


  • Oil (preferably EVO)
  • Ribs
  • Beef (shoulder, cut into cubes)
  • Beef fillet rolls filled with Parmesan
  • 1 White onion
  • Fresh sausage
  • Lard rolls
  • Meatballs (made with ground beef, breadcrumbs, parmesan, egg, salt)
  • Red wine
  • Tomato purée
  • Salt and to taste⁠


1. First, with a little oil in a pot of terra cotta, without spices, add the ribs.
2. Then, we add beef cut into pieces, soft but thick, usually the shoulder.
3. While cooking, make rolls with thin beef fillets: cut some pieces of Parmesan cheese and wrap them in the fillet, close with a toothpick.
4. Peel a small white onion and place it whole in the center of the pot
5. Add the fresh sausages
6. Add the rolls of lard
7. While everything is cooking over low heat, with the medium pot covered, prepare the meatballs: minced beef, breadcrumbs, parmesan, egg. We cook them in a separate pan, without oil.
8. Add the still red wine to the pot.
9. When the alcohol has evaporated, add the tomato puree. (The tomato puree must cover all the ingredients abundantly because it’s going to reduce)
10. We also added cured sausages at this point, but only because we had them on hand.
11. Once we add the tomato puree, let it simmer for at least 3/4 hours.
12. Half an hour before serving, add the cooked meatballs
13. Serve both the ragù and the pieces of meat with pasta as a first course, and then eat other pieces of meat as a second course (or the day after). We ate it with Paccheri pasta.
A recent made dish of Lohikeitto Finnish Salmon Soup
Il Bel Paese


Learn more about Italy: read The Expat Magazine’s article “Everything about The ‘Il Bel Paese'”!

Make sure you follow Eatsperience Madrid and The Expat Magazine on Instagram, so you can play with us and take the quiz about Italy and Italian traditional dishes!

Stay tuned and prepare your passport, next month we are going to… India!

Ragu napoletano Neapolitan meat sauce

Check out the video recipe on IG: Ragù Napoletano!