Grandma’s favourite meat sauce with rosemary

They always say that best recipes come from our grandmothers, or “nonne” and indeed, it is often true. They seem to know some little tricks that no modern chef with its fancy and complicated dishes will know.

My own grandmother, I cannot say she is the best at baking and neither is she good at presentation, but one single thing she has always been excellent at, is cooking meat.

She used to be a farmer and a very busy one too, so there was not time to hang about making fancy, pretty dishes; she had the cows to milk, the fields and the animals to attend to and the vegetables to grow and sell; in other words she was a lady of the land so she definitely knew how to cook her meat.

There is one very simple pasta sauce I inherited from her. It was her version of Bolognaise but I would call it more a meat sauce, very tasty though. Her little trick was to bring to the boil some water with rosemary and use it to flavour the mince.

When I do this the whole house smells of rosemary and it is quite nice though; the meat taste delicious, you do not need to use any stock at all. Cook it for at least one hour but best 90 minutes at gentle heat.

My grandma says: “the pot has to boil to get a decent meal” meaning food has to be slow cooked and effort needs to be made if you want something tasty. I do agree with that indeed.

  • Prep Time : 20 minutes
  • Cook Time : 1h 30 min


  • beef mince – 600 g
  • olive oil – 2 tbsp
  • onion – 1
  • rosemary – 2 sticks
  • nutmeg
  • salt and pepper
  • tomato puree – 2 tbsp
  • hot water


In a pan bring to the boil 1/2 liter of water with the rosemary then turn off the heat, put the top on and leave it to rest.

Stir fry the onion with the olive oil until translucent.

Add the mince and seal it well on a high heat until it turns a brownish colour.

Grate some nutmeg over the meat, add the tomato paste, salt and pepper and some rosemary water. Turn the heat down, put the top on and slow cook the meat for about 90 minutes.

Add some more rosemary water when needed.

Enjoy this sauce with pasta and sprinkle some Parmesan on top.


21 thoughts on “Grandma’s favourite meat sauce with rosemary

  1. First let me say, just in case I haven’t, your new “home” looks wonderful!!! I too have joined WordPress but I haven’t decided what I’m doing yet, lol…(maybe blogging again, sh….don’t tell, lol)

    And, your Grandma’s recipe looks heavenly Alida. The say “Rosemary is for Remembrance” I do think this is a memorable meal:)

    Thank you so much for sharing…


  2. My grandmother, whom I loved dearly, actually used the microwave in her later years to cook ground beef….oh my…it was so gray! I won’t be posting her recipes. (She had many other wonderful gifts) But I will be trying this recipe from your grandmother…thanks.


  3. This looks amazing. So simple to cook and delicious. I have a pot of rosemary and will do this the next time for meat sauce.


  4. In effetti le ricette migliori vengono dalle nostre nonne! La mia mi ha insegnato che per fare un buon ragù la cottura deve essere lunga e a fuoco lento, di almeno due ore! Bravissima tua nonna e tu che hai realizzato un ottimo sugo di carne! Ciao e buon fine settimana!


  5. Grande la nonna!!!!!
    Non conoscevo questo trucchetto profumatissimo, la prossima volta che preparerò il sugo di carne, mi ricorderò del consiglio!!!!
    Un abbraccio stretto e felice fine settimana!!!


  6. i consigli delle nonne sono sempre i migliori….ottima quest’idea….la provo sicuramente anch’io…..


  7. Been gone for two days at meetings and starving… look at this perfect meal Grandmas got great taste and this meat sauce looks fabulous!


  8. No matter how much we try and recreate recipes but the ones that we inherited are the best. That’s why we love it. this looks absolutely delicious!


  9. This sounds like a really good trick with the Rosemary…I’ll definitely try it next time I make Bolognaise! 🙂


  10. i made this early today and though i rarely overeat, i stuffed myself. this was outstanding. i altered it a bit and will post my version but i will be making this recipe many more times. thank you so much!


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