Ragù Enriched with Chicken Livers (Ragu di Fegato di Pollo)

  • Serves

    makes 4 cups


This rustic version of ragu calls for several different kinds of meat, each contributing a different dimension to the sauce, but it's the chicken livers in particular that lend a gamy depth.


  • 4 cups beef broth
  • 2 tbsp. Homemade Tomato Paste
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 13 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1 (2-oz.) piece pancetta, finely chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, finely chopped
  • 2 ribs celery, finely chopped
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 34 lb. ground beef chuck
  • 14 lb. ground pork shoulder
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 18 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
  • 2 chicken livers (about 2 oz.)


Step 1

In a small saucepan, bring broth to a simmer over medium heat. Put tomato paste into a small bowl and pour in 1 cup broth; stir to dissolve. Set tomato-infused broth aside. (Keep remaining broth hot.) In another saucepan, bring milk to a simmer over medium heat. Add cloves, remove from heat, and let steep, covered, for 1 hour. Remove cloves; set milk aside.

Step 2

Meanwhile, heat olive oil and butter in a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium-low heat. Add pancetta; cook, stirring occasionally, until its fat has rendered, about 6 minutes. Add carrots, celery, and onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and caramelized, 30-35 minutes. Stir in beef and pork; cook, stirring and breaking meat apart with a wooden spoon, until browned, 10-15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Increase heat to medium-high, add wine, and cook, stirring constantly, until wine is evaporated, about 6 minutes. Lower heat to medium, stir in nutmeg and reserved tomato-infused broth and cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid is absorbed, about 5 minutes. Lower heat to medium-low, add 1⁄2 cup reserved hot broth, and cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid is absorbed. Repeat, 1⁄2 cup at a time, until all the broth has been used (this should take about 1 1⁄2 hours).

Step 3

Add chicken livers to sauce; cook for 8 minutes. Using a fork, remove and mash livers with a tablespoon or two of the milk. Return livers to sauce along with remaining milk; simmer until thick and velvety, 15-20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Toss with tortellini or the pasta of your choice, or use in lasagne. Serve with grated parmigiano-reggiano.

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