Do you know what sets them apart?
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Ragout vs. Ragu
Credit: From Left: © David Malosh; © Anne Faber

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, 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

Root Vegetable, Pear and Chestnut Ragout
Credit: © Quentin Bacon

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

Get the Recipe: Root Vegetable, Pear, and Chestnut Ragout

2. Very Soft Polenta with Rock Shrimp Ragout

Very Soft Polenta with Tangy Rock Shrimp Ragout
Credit: © Quentin Bacon

This is Mario Batali's variation on a classic dish from the coastal villages outside of Trieste, where the fresh seafood is among the most prized in the world.

Get the Recipe: Very Soft Polenta with Rock Shrimp Ragout

3. Ragout of Chicken with Potatoes and Chorizo

Ragout of Chicken with Potatoes and Chorizo
Credit: © AMY NEUNSINGER

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

Get the Recipe: Ragout of Chicken with Potatoes and Chorizo

4. Mixed Mushroom Ragout

Mixed Mushroom Ragout
Credit: © David Malosh

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

Get the Recipe: Mixed Mushroom Ragout

5. Rabbit Ragout with Soppressata and Pappardelle

Rabbit Ragout with Soppressata and Pappardelle

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.

Get the Recipe: Rabbit Ragout with Soppressata and Pappardelle

Ragù

1. Butcher's Ragù with Fusilli

Butcher's Ragu with Fusilli
Credit: © Con Poulos

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

Get the Recipe: Butcher's Ragù with Fusilli

2. Pappardelle with Milk-Roasted Baby Goat Ragù

Pappardelle with Milk-Roasted Baby Goat Ragù
Credit: © April Williams

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.

Get the Recipe: Pappardelle with Milk-Roasted Baby Goat Ragù

3. Pappardelle with Lamb Ragù

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

Get the Recipe: Pappardelle with Lamb Ragù

4. Spaghetti with Rich Meat Ragù

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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.

Get the Recipe: Spaghetti with Rich Meat Ragù

5. Chicken Thigh Ragù with Pappardelle

Chicken Thigh Ragù with Pappardelle

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.

Get the Recipe: Chicken Thigh Ragù with Pappardelle