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A staple spicy Calabrese ragu with Orazio

A Naples boy born and bred, Orazio has built a stellar reputation over the years in Sydney's hospitality scene. He takes us through a staple spicy Calabrese ragu that is equal to a winter hug.

Born and raised in Naples Italy, it may seem strange that a Napolese (Orazio) would be making a Calabrese dish. More of an ode to one side of my family’s past, after a couple of glasses we decided to go back to our roots.

Orazio’s culinary journey began at the heart of his family. Watching his nonnas cook as a young boy ignited a fire that would see him develop into a talented, hardworking, creative, Italian chef.

Working his way across various Italian restaurants in Sydney, including Icebergs Dining Room and Bar, Da Orazio Pizza + Porchetta and now his own baby Matteo Double Bay and Mateto Downtown.

Orazio puts it simply, “I want people to enjoy the experiences in my restaurants like they’re coming to eat with me and my family”.

Orazio and I have chosen the Cretapaglia ‘Cloco’ (Calabrian dialect essentially meaning ‘Glu Glu’) because it too is from Calabria and is a red with a solid acid line to balance the sweet and spicy side to this dish.


2 onions
4 cloves of garlic
Diced 2kg free range pork belly
3 tablespoons extra virgin (good quality) olive oil
Sprig of bay leaves
Half a salami
Half a cup of red wine
Tablespoon of tomato paste
Two cans or a large can of San Marzano tomatoes
Tablespoon of Nduja – chilli infused spreadable salami
500g fusilli pasta
Sea salt flakes
Freshly ground pepper


Blitz your onion and garlic in a food processor. Dice the pork belly into 2-3cm cubes and half a salami into small pieces.

In a large and deep saucepan with a medium-high heat, heat your olive oil. Add in the blitzed onion and garlic, the salami and sprig of bay leaves. After a few minutes of sweating, add in your pork belly. Season with a bit of salt at this stage.

Once the pork has lost most of it’s pink, add half a cup of red wine. Preferably a good southern Italian one. When that has cooked off a bit and it’s bubbling away, add your table spoon of tomato paste into the mix. Stir through.

Shortly after add in your San Marzano canned tomatoes. Don’t forget to rinse your can.

Cook this on a low-medium simmer for 1.5-2.5 hours.

Add your packet of Nduja and cook for a further hour.

In heavily salted boiling water, cook your fusilli until al dente. Drain and add the pasta to the pot of sauce. Stirring to combine. Serve with a scoop of ricotta.