Traditional Italian Ragù
I have the perfect low fodmap spaghetti sauce for you today folks. I know a low fodmap spaghetti sauce that promises flavor without wine, onions, garlic, celery, and tomato seems impossible to create but let me tell you that I’ve done just that.
No longer will you need to sacrifice flavor and pasta while following a low FODMAP diet. Stick around while we cover these topics:
If that sounds appealing to you, then sit back, relax and let’s learn how to make this low fodmap spaghetti sauce or spaghetti al ragù.
What Is Ragù?
Ragù is simply a meat-based Italian sauce that is often served with pasta. This meat sauce uses variations of minced meats but it is very common to mix them. For example, our ragù sauce is a beef and pork ragu, one of the more traditional and regular combinations.
It should be noted that the Italian ragù is very different from the French Ragout. The only thing these two have in common is that they both originate from the verb ‘ragouter.’ This means to stimulate the appetite. Very aptly named if I can say so myself.
Ragù’s are great low FODMAP sauces when done correctly. And maybe you’re wondering how on earth a pasta sauce can be considered low FODMAP when it’s swimming in tomatoes?
Monash’s FODMAP App reports that ½ cup or 120 ml (92 grams) of canned tomatoes is a low FODMAP serving. That’s not bad but if you love pasta, you’re probably going to want a larger serving size. I get it.
To understand why this is a low FODMAP meat sauce, we must first uncover the differences between a ragù and a bolognese. And yes, they are different.
The Difference Between Ragù and Bolognese?
The difference between a ragù and a bolognese boils down to the ratio of ingredients. Bolognese is a type of ragù sauce, a variation if you will. Both sauces are made from minced meats, a soffritto (more on this in the next section), include wine, and tomatoes.
A ragù uses the same ingredients but it is a meat-based sauce, meaning that there is a smaller amount of tomatoes added into it. A ragù is flavored with stock and wine. A bolognese is tomato heavy and requires little to no stock.
Ragù alla bolognese is most commonly referred to as bolognese and is actually a type of ragù sauce. It dates back to the 15th century and originates from Bologna, hence the name bolognese. It is very tomato heavy.
I am a traditionalist when it comes to pasta and there have been plenty of times where I’ve had to explain the differences between a ragù and a bolognese sauce. Today, I will do just that.
So, let’s get this straight. Ragù is a meat-based sauce with small amounts of tomato in it and bolognese is a variation of ragù that is very tomato heavy. Therefore, this is not a recipe for low FODMAP spaghetti bolognese, this is a low FODMAP pasta sauce for spaghetti or other types of pasta. If you’re looking for a low FODMAP bolognese, I apologize but you are in the wrong blog post.
Now that we know the difference between ragù and bolognese, let’s talk about ingredients.
How This Low FODMAP Spaghetti Sauce Is Different
A traditional ragù recipe has minced meat, wine, beef broth, a soffritto, and occasionally, a splash of cream or milk to add richness and lighten the color.
A soffritto is an array of minced or chopped vegetables that include garlic, onion, and celery. Not every bowel is the same and I know a few people with IBS that can tolerate onions, for instance. Some can’t handle wine. So, it really depends.
For reference, we know that onions and garlic are high FODMAPs. Celery is low FODMAP at 10g servings (which personally is such a small serving, it might as well not be eaten) and according to Monash University, sparkling, red, and white wines are low FODMAP in 150ml or 1 glass servings.
Other dessert wines like sherry or port should be avoided as they have a high amount of fructose.
This low FODMAP spaghetti sauce is different from other low FODMAP sauce recipes because we’ve removed any ingredients that could cause any irritation. That means no wine, onion, garlic, or celery. Nada, zero, zilch.
When it comes to low FODMAP pasta recipes, I think that portion control is healthy but sometimes you want a large bowl of pasta without worrying about pesky FODMAPs. So, this sauce is made out of minced meat, a homemade low FODMAP bone broth, carrots, bay leaves, and a hint of tomato puree.
Flavor-wise this low FODMAP ragù sauce is the closest thing you’ll get to a traditional Italian ragù without flying to Italy or having bowel issues. Without further adieu, it’s time for the main event: making the low FODMAP spaghetti sauce.
How To Make Low FODMAP Spaghetti Sauce alla Ragù
Finally, we’re going to actually make this ragù sauce. Gather your ingredients and do the necessary prep work. As you can see here, I’ve taken our low FODMAP bone broth out of the freezer, made some homemade garlic oil (optional), peeled the carrots (not optional) and mixed my pork and beef mince.
We’ll work in this order:
- Oil, carrots, and bay leaves
- Liquids (bone broth, water, and tomato puree)
In a large pot, add your garlic oil carrots. I’m using my favorite thick-bottomed Dutch oven because this low fodmap sauce will be cooking for roughly 2 hours and I want to avoid any burning. Saute the carrots until they’re soft. This took about 5 minutes. Here’s the difference:
As you can see, I did not dice them finely or bothered to chop them into smaller pieces. The sauce will cook for a few hours and they’ll break down naturally in that time, so why bother with finicky fancy chopping styles?
Once the carrots have softened, add your minced meats and saute for about 5 minutes. You can saute this mixture for longer to get a deeper color and more caramelization. I would highly recommend going darker than I did.
After you’re happy with the caramelization of your meat, mix the tomato puree into the beef stock and water. Add the tomato puree, beef stock and water mixture into the pot and stir.
Traditionally, this is made with any kind of meat stock but I really wanted to use the homemade bone broth that was in the freezer. It’s a great way to get all the benefits of a bone broth without actually slurping on it like a smoothie. If you want to learn how to make this low FODMAP bone broth, check out this post:
Low FODMAP Bone Broth with 4 Ingredients
Back to the recipe, after adding the liquids, it is just a waiting game. Turn the heat down to low and let the low FODMAP pasta sauce simmer and reduce. Here’s a comparison of what the ragù looks like after adding the liquids and how it develops over time:
As you can see, the final result is a meaty sauce that is not very thick or tomato-ey but believe me when I tell you that this sauce is loaded with flavor. It is so unassuming but imagine, the meat has essentially absorbed the bone broth, tomato sauce, and is very much concentrated with a deep rich flavor. All without any onions, garlic, or wine!
Now that you’ve successfully made this low FODMAP spaghetti sauce al ragù, how about we talk about serving options? Or more specifically the types of pasta commonly used for this sauce.
What Kind Of Pasta To Use
The kind of pasta sauce you make almost always dictates what kind of pasta you use. You’re not going to make fried rice with risotto rice or mac and cheese with spaghetti are you? The same principle applies to pasta and pasta sauces.
The rule goes as such: the wider the noodle, the heavier the sauce. Also, do as I say but not as I do. You’ll get why I’m saying that in a moment.
If this were a low FODMAP bolognese sauce, I’d recommend wide and flat pasta noodles like tagliatelle or fettuccine. I used tagliatelle pasta for this low FODMAP ragù because it’s all we had in the pantry that evening and the store was closed (I did say to do as I say and not as I do, right?).
Ragù sauces are not very liquidy and benefit from noodles that are tubular like ziti or penne. Pasta’s with ridges or rigate are perfect for capturing sauces like ragù too. But honestly, the type of pasta you use won’t matter because all the focus is on the meaty goodness of this sauce. Sprinkle on your favorite cheese and dig into a big bowl of low FODMAP ragù.
What kind of pasta are you going to use for this low FODMAP spaghetti sauce? Did you know the difference between a ragù sauce and a bolognese? Let me know in the comments below what your favorite pasta sauces are and maybe (strong emphasis on the ‘maybe’ here) I can come up with a low FODMAP version that is just as good as the traditional classic Italian dish.
Looking for more delicious and hearty low FODMAP meals?
In case you missed it, here’s two low FODMAP stocks to choose from!
Interested in buying ready made low FODMAP pasta sauces instead?
9 Low FODMAP Store Bought Pasta Sauce Options
Low FODMAP Spaghetti Sauce or Spaghetti alla Ragu
This low FODMAP spaghetti sauce is our take on the original and beloved Italian classic, spaghetti al ragu. This sauce is made without high FODMAP ingredients like red wine or onions and promises an authentic and equally delicious sauce that isn't missing a thing.
- 3 tbsp garlic oil
- 2 carrots (peeled and chopped)
- 3 bay leaves
- 2 tsp tomato paste
- 250g pork mince
- 250g beef mince
- 400ml of stock (we used our bone broth for this recipe) or you can use our low FODMAP beef stock
- 400ml of water
Peel and chop your carrots.
Add 3 tablespoons of garlic oil to a large pot on medium-high heat.
Add the carrots to the pot and saute for 5 minutes until softened.
Add in the minced pork and beef. Be sure to break them up into small pieces. Saute the minced meat for 5 minutes until brown.
Dissolve some tomato paste into your stock and add that liquid to the pot along with 3 bay leaves.
Stir everything together to give it a mix and cook on medium-low heat for 2 hours.
After 2 hours of simmering, the stock will have reduced, leaving you a concentrated sauce.
Serve on top of any pasta of your choice! We favor tagliatelli and that's what we used for this recipe. Dust with a healthy serving of cheese if you can tolerate it but personally, we don't think this sauce needs it. Bon appetito!