Tomato or Ragu Sauce for Lasagna


1 large onion; finely chopped
3 garlic cloves; peeled and crushed
1 stick of celery; finely chopped
1 large carrot; chopped
1/2 cup prosciutto or pancetta, chopped
1 to 2 teaspoons dry oregano
1½ tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped
4 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 pound minced meat (optional)
1½ pounds ripe tomatoes, peeled (or 24-oz can prepared peeled tomatoes)
2 tablespoons concentrated tomato paste
1 cup beef stock or wine (or half and half if you wish)
Salt and pepper to taste 


  • Fry the onion until transparent, but not brown. 
  • Add garlic, celery, carrot, ham or bacon and minced meat. 
  • Fry for a moment until meat stiffens and loses its pink color. 
  • Add peeled and chopped tomatoes, stir in the stock or wine. 
  • Cover and simmer an hour. 
  • Add herbs and adjust the seasoning.

If you want to prepare tomato sauce for lasagna, just omit meet.

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Did You Know?
Italian pancetta is a type of dry cured meat, similar to bacon. It is pork belly that has been salt cured and spiced (nutmeg, pepper, fennel, dried ground hot peppers and garlic are often featured), and dried for about three months (but usually not smoked). There are many varieties, and in Italy each region produces its own type.

The Chinese were eating noodles made of millet as long ago as 2000 BC. This has been suggested by the discovery of a well-preserved bowl of millet noodles over 4000 years old. However, durum wheat was not known in China until later times. The familiar legend of Marco Polo importing pasta from China originated with the Macaroni Journal, published by an association of food industries with the goal of promoting the use of pasta in the United States. Marco Polo describes a food similar to "lagana" in his Travels, but he uses a term with which he was already familiar.

Durum wheat, and thus pasta as it is known today, was introduced by Arabs during their conquest of Sicily in the late 7th century, according to the newsletter of the National Macaroni Manufacturers Association,thus predating Marco Polo's travels to China by about six centuries.