What's the Difference Between Ragù and Ragout?

From Left: © David Malosh; © Anne Faber

By F&W Editors Posted March 04, 2016

Do you know what sets them apart?

They’re both saucy, both hearty and both pronounced the same way, but ragù and ragout are not the same thing. Let’s break it down: Ragù is a class of Italian pasta sauces made with ground or minced meat, vegetables and, occasionally, tomatoes. Bolognese, for example, falls under the ragù umbrella. Ragout, on the other hand, is a slow-cooked French-style stew that can be made with meat or fish and vegetables—or even just vegetables. You can eat it on its own, or with a starch like polenta or couscous or pasta.

These very different dishes have one additional, great thing in common: Both are incredibly delicious and satisfying on a cold winter night. Here, our best recipes for both ragù and ragout.

Ragout

1. Root Vegetable, Pear and Chestnut Ragout 

Food & Wine:

This ragout—slightly sweet and not too rich—is a wonderful mix of winter vegetables and fruit.

2. Lamb Ragout with Olives and Peppers 

Food & Wine:

Get your lamb fix while warming up your kitchen with this slow-braised stew.

3. Ragout of Chicken with Potatoes and Chorizo 

Food & Wine: Ragout of Chicken with Potatoes and Chorizo

© AMY NEUNSINGER

Here’s a great way to use a whole chicken—gizzards, hearts and all.

4. Mixed Mushroom Ragout 

Food & Wine:

Stephanie Izard's rich, chunky mushroom ragout is great on everything from seared halibut to sautéed scallops and pasta.

5. Rabbit Ragout with Soppressata and Pappardelle 

Food & Wine:

Tom Colicchio learned how to cook rabbit by reading Jacques Pépin’s La Technique and La Methode. Here, he braises tender rabbit with sweet tomatoes, spicy soppressata and olives.

Ragù

1. Butcher's Ragù with Fusilli 

Food & Wine:

This sauce, an ever-so-slightly creamy ragù made with ground beef, pancetta and ham, is flavored with tomato paste instead of canned tomatoes.

2. Pappardelle with Milk-Roasted Baby Goat Ragù 

Food & Wine:

For the best results, make this sauce a day ahead of time. "When the ragù is allowed to cool overnight, the flavor and texture completely change,” says chef Johnny Monis.

3. Pappardelle with Lamb Ragù 

Food & Wine:

This is an easy version of chef Andrew Carmellini’s wonderful pasta sauce.

4. Spaghetti with Rich Meat Ragù 

Food & Wine:

To create the flavor of a long-simmered meat ragù in a fraction of the usual time, use concentrated tomato paste and pre-seasoned Italian sausage.

5. Chicken Thigh Ragù with Pappardelle 

Food & Wine:

Most ragùs require beef, pork or veal—meats that would overwhelm Justin Smillie's light tomato-and-olive sauce here—so he opts for guinea hen or rabbit. Chicken thighs are also tasty and easier to find.

 


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