Neapolitan beef olive stew

Neapolitan beef olive stew

Ragù napoletano con braciola

Simple Cooking
Alastair Hendy

This classic Sunday dish of the Neapolitans is a piatto unico – an all-in-one dish that is served as a main course. The braciola is a sort of beef olive with a special filling, reminiscent of Arab cooking. These are relatively complicated to produce, but on Sundays everybody has time to prepare something so delicious.

Neapolitans make homemade fusilli to accompany their beef olives, and I think my old nanny Lina used to make the best.


Quantity Ingredient
6 beef escalopes, quite thinly cut
3 tablespoons fresh white breadcrumbs
40g raisins, soaked in water and drained
80g pine kernels
1 garlic clove, peeled and puréed
100g parmesan, freshly grated
4 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley, coarsely chopped
salt and pepper


Quantity Ingredient
500g durum wheat flour, plus extra to dust
1 egg, beaten


Quantity Ingredient
2 large onions, peeled and sliced
6 tablespoons olive oil
100ml dry white wine
800g tomato passata or tomato pulp
2 tablespoons tomato puree, diluted with 2 tablespoons water
basil leaves, shredded


  1. To make the beef olives, line up the escalopes side by side on your work surface. Make a stuffing mixture by combining the breadcrumbs, drained raisins, pine kernels, garlic, half the Parmesan and parsley, seasoning to taste. Divide the mixture evenly between the centres of the escalopes. Roll up each of the escalopes to enclose the stuffing and secure with a couple of wooden toothpicks.
  2. Meanwhile, start to prepare the sauce by frying the onions in the olive oil in a large pan. When the onions are soft, after about 6–7 minutes, add the beef olives, and brown on each side. Add the wine and boil to allow the alcohol to evaporate. Add the tomato passata and the diluted tomato pureé and bring to the boil.
  3. Reduce the heat, cover and let it bubble gently for 2 hours, turning the beef olives occasionally. When ready, add salt and pepper to taste and stir in the basil. Keep the beef olives separate from the sauce.
  4. To make the pasta, pile the flour into a mound on a work surface and make a well in the middle. Add the egg and a splash of water. Gradually mix into the flour, adding enough water to bind the dough. Knead until smooth, then cover with a cloth and leave to rest for about 30 minutes.
  5. Dust your work surface with a little flour and shape the dough a little at a time. Take a little piece of dough and roll it under the palm of your hand to make a baton, about 10 cm long and 3 mm in diameter. With a thin skewer, press the little baton around the skewer to make a spiral shape. Let the pasta spiral run down and off the skewer, then put on a cloth. Repeat to shape the rest of the dough.
  6. Cook the pasta in plenty of boiling salted water until al dente, about 3–4 minutes. Drain and dress with the sauce.
  7. Cut the beef olives into slices and arrange on top of the pasta. Scatter the remaining Parmesan over the pasta to serve.
Simple Cooking
Back to top
    No results found
    No more results
      No results found
      No more results
        No results found
        No more results
          No results found
          No more results
            No results found
            No more results
              No results found
              No more results
              Please start typing to begin your search
              We're sorry but we had trouble running your search. Please try again