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Rigatoni alla Genovese

Rated as 4.64 out of 5 Stars

"I have no idea why this amazingly flavorful Genovese-style meat sauce isn't way more popular than it is. It's quite simply one of the best pasta sauces you'll ever taste, thanks to a very slow cooking process, and massive amounts of onions."
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10 h servings 891
Original recipe yields 8 servings


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  1. Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Cook pancetta until most of fat is rendered out, about 6 minutes. Remove cooked pancetta with a slotted spoon and save.
  2. Raise heat to high and transfer meat to the pot. Season with salt. Cook and stir until liquid releases from beef and begins to evaporate, and meat browns, 10 to 15 minutes.
  3. Reduce heat to medium-high. Add celery, carrots, reserved cooked pancetta, salt and pepper. Cook and stir about 5 minutes. Add a heaping tablespoon of tomato paste, bay leaf, and white wine. Cook and stir, scraping up the brownings from the bottom of the pan, 2 to 3 minutes. Add sliced onions. Reduce heat to medium. Cover pot and cook 30 minutes without stirring. After 30 minutes, stir onions and meat until well mixed. Cover again, and cook another 30 minutes. Stir.
  4. Reduce heat to low and cook uncovered 8 to 10 hours, stirring occasionally. Skim off fat as mixture cooks. If sauce seems to reduce too much, add water or broth as needed to maintain a sauce-like consistency. Cook until beef and onions seem to melt into each other.
  5. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook rigatoni in the boiling water, stirring occasionally until just barely al dente, 10 to 12 minutes. Drain.
  6. Add rigatoni to the sauce and cook until heated through. Serve topped with a pinch of marjoram and freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.


  • Chef's Note:
  • This recipe makes enough sauce for 2 pounds of dry rigatoni. But you can use just the amount you need and refrigerate or freeze the rest.
  • To serve, heat as much sauce as you need in a skillet. Cook rigatoni until barely al dente. Drain. Add to sauce and simmer until pasta is cooked through and hot. Season with fresh marjoram, a pinch of cayenne, and a dusting of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.

Nutrition Facts

Per Serving: 891 calories; 29.5 116.8 38.9 80 1022 Full nutrition

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  1. 67 Ratings

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Most helpful positive review

Chef John, Wow! I made this to your exact specifications, and I must say this was without a doubt one of the most delicious meals I have had the pleasure to enjoy in a while. I've actually made ...

Most helpful critical review

Not feeling the love that other reviewers had for this dish! The onions made my house stink.

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Most positive
Least positive

Chef John, Wow! I made this to your exact specifications, and I must say this was without a doubt one of the most delicious meals I have had the pleasure to enjoy in a while. I've actually made ...

Outstanding! This is so delicious. I was a little concerned when I saw all the onions but they do cook down and provide the most amazing flavor. I didn't have fresh marjoram so added a little dr...

Cooked the basic recipe the day before, then stored in our slow cooker overnight in the beer fridge. The next AM, turned slow cooker on low before leaving for work. Turned out great, thank yo...

First of all, I really like slow cooking. This is probably one of the best pasta recipes that I have ever made. I'm also laughing, because my 13 year old grandson, who says he hates onions, h...

Made this today and didn't get to eat dinner until after 8:00PM because I didn't get started as early as I wanted. However that's my fault, since I knew what I was getting into before I started...

Followed almost exactly (didn't use red onion, just 3lbs white and 3 lbs yellow). Turned out really well. Quite a bit of work that 1st hour, but then transferred it to slow cooker for the 8-10 h...

Tremendous!!! Made it exactly the way Chef John said and it was terrific! I did have to add water/broth a few times to make the sauce to my liking, but it was awesome! Waiting for a special o...

Kind a lot of work but definitely worth it. Also makes for a lot of portions so the time spent pays off itself. I wasn't really sure what to expect in the beginning but the result is really good...

The flavor of the dish was really great in the end. I did run in to time issues so I transferred to my slow cooker using the pressure option to break down the meat chunks a little faster. I did...