Pasta Alla Genovese (Neapolitan Beef and Onion Pasta Sauce)
Pasta Alla Genovese (Neapolitan Beef and Onion Pasta Sauce)
Genovese sauce, known in Italian as sugo alla genovese or "la Genovese", is a slow-cooked onion and meat sauce associated with Italy's Campania region, especially Naples—typically served with paccheri, ziti or candele pasta—and sprinkled with grated cheese.


  • 1 pound penne or ziti
  • 2 pounds chuck roast
  • 5 pounds onion diced
  • 1 medium carrot diced
  • 1 rib celery diced
  • 1/4 pound pancetta diced
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper


  1. Heat a dutch oven or heavy pot on medium-high heat. Cut chuck roast into large chunks, pat dry, and season on all sides with the salt and pepper. Coat the bottom of the pot with olive oil (about a 1/4 cup) and sear the beef on all sides. Work in batches so as to not crowd the beef.
  2. Set seared beef aside on a plate. Turn heat to medium-low, then add the diced pancetta to the pot and give it a stir. Saute for 5 minutes, then add the carrots and celery and cook for 5 minutes more.
  3. Pour 1 cup of dry white wine into the pot and scrape the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon to dislodge all the flavor bits. Add in all the onions and 1 cup of water. Give it a stir.
  4. Place the seared beef in the pot and cover with a lid. Turn heat to low and cook for 3 hours. Every 20-30 minutes give the onions a stir and if needed add a bit more water (approximately a 1/2 cup) to keep moist and prevent burning.
  5. After 3 hours of cooking remove beef pieces, shred, and tent with foil. Turn heat to medium and cook the onions down until they are creamy and soft, but not burned (about 20 minutes).
  6. Add the beef back to the pot and stir it all together. Taste test and make any final adjustments. Serve La Genovese over penne or ziti. If needed add a touch of reserved pasta water to the sauce and pasta to get a perfect consistency. Serve with grated Parmigiano Reggiano. Enjoy!


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