Veal Ragu Catucci Style

Cut:  | Servings: 10 | Prep Time: 15 minutes | Cook Time: 3 hours braising

I thought I’d share a family recipe with you all. Its my Dad’s ragu with veal shoulder. He used to make this for big family gatherings. My Dad’s love language was food and you could feel the love in everything he made but there was something extra special about his ragu. I think it was because it took hours to make and he took so much pride in it. He’d start it early in the morning and the aroma of the sauce was mouth watering. He’d come into my room and bring me a bowl of sauce and a panino and whisper “Shhhh…don’t tell anyone” and then he’d smile and wink and walk out of the room. It was magical.
I miss you Pa.

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3 lbs of Ontario veal shoulder
Salt & pepper to taste
2 glugs of good olive oil (about 1⁄4 cup) 2 medium onions, diced
3 medium carrots, diced
3 stalks of celery, diced
2 tbsp tomato paste
1/2 cup of red wine
3 quarts (12 cups) of tomato sauce
2 bay leaves



Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large pot or Dutch oven. Season your veal shoulder with salt and pepper. Place veal in the heated oil in one single batch – be careful not to overcrowd your pot – and then keep turning to brown on all sides. Remove from the oil when browned and set aside. Repeat with remaining veal.

Add onions, carrots and celery to the pot and cook until softened, stirring frequently. Add tomato paste and stir to thoroughly mix with the diced vegetables. Add red wine and stir, scraping up all the delicious bits and deglazing the pan while cooking down the red wine.

Add the browned veal back into the pot and stir it into the vegetable mixture. Add a dash more of red wine if you’d like and let it cook down a bit.

Add the tomato sauce, 2 bay leaves and season with salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for a minimum of 2 hours (simmer longer if you can. I simmer mine for 3 hours).

Serve the sauce mixed in with your favourite cooked pasta and top with the tender, fall off the bone pieces of veal.

Recipe courtesy of John Catucci