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Sugo (Italian Meat Sauce)

Makes about 4 cups


1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter

2 cups minced yellow onions

1 garlic clove

2 pounds lamb, coarsely ground

1/2 cup white wine

4 cups canned diced tomatoes, with juice

2 cups chicken stock, add more as needed

2 bay leaves

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, as needed

1 red bell pepper, quartered and seeded

1 red chile


  1. Heat the butter in a 5-quart pot (a Dutch oven is a good choice) over medium-low heat.
  2. Add the onions and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are tender, about 10 minutes.
  3. Add the lamb and cook, stirring to break up any large clumps, until the meat loses its raw color, 6 to 7 minutes.
  4. Add the wine and let it cook down until it has nearly evaporated, about 2 minutes.
  5. Add the tomatoes, stock and bay leaves. Bring the liquid to a gentle simmer over low heat, season with salt and pepper, partially cover the pot, and continue to cook very slowly until the sauce is half done, about 2 hours.
  6. At this point, add the bell pepper and the chile. Continue to cook until the sauce has thickened and reduced and has a rich flavor, another 2 hours. As the sugo cooks, stir it from time to time and add a bit more stock or water if it starts to stick to the bottom of the pan.
  7. Remove and discard the peppers.

From The Culinary Institute of America, Gianni Scappin and Alberto Vanoli, Italian Cooking at Home with The Culinary Institute of America, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2011; $34.95 hardcover.

Hudson Valley Restaurant Week is back this April 8-21!