Pasta with Beef Ragu

Pasta with beef ragu tastes like it took all day but fortunately, you can have it on the table in less than 2 hours. Made with ground beef, tomatoes, red wine, carrots, celery, rosemary, garlic, and onions, it‘s hearty, filling, and oh-so-satisfying.

A light blue plate with a serving of rigatoni pasta covered with beef ragu, garnished with green herbs.

Adapted from Brigit Binns | The Weeknight Cook | Weldon Owen, 2012

We should all be able to create mouth-watering dishes using fresh, healthy ingredients while spending less time in the kitchen. This quick and easy recipe for pasta with beef ragu provides a truly satisfying dinner made with everyday pantry ingredients.–Brigit Binns

WHAT IS LC HUMP DAY PASTA?

We’re glad you asked. LC Hump Day Pasta (#LCHumpDayPasta) is a little something we cooked up to help you on the night of the week that you feel least like cooking. Wednesday was traditionally Prince Spaghetti Day (for those of you old enough to remember). We’ve revamped and updated that to Hump Day and included every type of pasta there is.

IS BOLOGNESE THE SAME AS RAGU?

Ragu is a class of sauces and Bolognese is a specific sauce (that also happens to be a ragu). Confusing? We promise…it’s not. Anything considered a ragu is made with ground or minced meat, vegetables, tomatoes, and some form of liquid–broth, stock, wine, cream. The amount of liquid and tomatoes will vary greatly depending on the region of Italy that the sauce comes from and the kind of ragu being made.

Bolognese is a type of ragu, typical of the region of Bologna where it’s customarily used on flat pasta like tagliatelle and to prepare lasagna. A slow-cooked, meat-based sauce that uses soffritto (minced onion, carrot, and celery) and minced beef. White wine, milk, and tomatoes are added to make a thick, rich sauce. Outside of Italy, it’s become a standard sauce for spaghetti and occasionally lasagna.

Pasta with Beef Ragu

A light blue plate with a serving of rigatoni pasta covered with beef ragu, garnished with green herbs.
Pasta with beef ragu tastes like it took all day but you can have it on the table in less than 2 hours. Made with ground beef, tomatoes, red wine, carrots, celery, rosemary, garlic, and onions, it's hearty, filling, and oh-so satisfying.
Brigit Binns

Prep 15 mins
Cook 1 hr 15 mins
Total 1 hr 30 mins
Entree
Italian
4 servings
887 kcal
No ratings yet
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Ingredients 

  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small (4 oz) yellow onion finely chopped
  • 3 large garlic cloves minced
  • 1 (3 oz) carrot finely chopped
  • 1 celery stalk finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary minced
  • 3/4 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 3 tablespoons store-bought or homemade tomato paste
  • 2 1/2 cups canned whole plum tomatoes chopped, juice reserved
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 pound penne or rigatoni

Directions
 

Make the ragu

  • In a large, deep skillet or Dutch oven over medium-low heat, warm oil. Add onion, garlic, carrot, celery, and rosemary and cook, stirring frequently, until vegetables are softened, about 8 minutes. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons water if necessary to keep vegetables from browning.
  • Add beef and cook, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, until browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Add wine and tomato paste. Cook, stirring occasionally, until wine evaporates slightly, 3 to 8 minutes. Add tomatoes, tomato juice, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and stir.
  • Reduce heat to low, cover partially, and cook, stirring occasionally, until ragu is thick and aromatic, about 1 hour.

Cook the pasta

  • Just before the sauce is done, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add 2 tablespoons salt and pasta. Cook, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking, until al dente, according to the package directions.
  • Drain and add to sauce, stirring to combine. Warm briefly over low heat to blend flavors. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve.
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Show Nutrition

Serving: 1servingCalories: 887kcal (44%)Carbohydrates: 94g (31%)Protein: 31g (62%)Fat: 40g (62%)Saturated Fat: 10g (63%)Polyunsaturated Fat: 3gMonounsaturated Fat: 23gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 60mg (20%)Sodium: 168mg (7%)Potassium: 968mg (28%)Fiber: 6g (25%)Sugar: 8g (9%)Vitamin A: 1462IU (29%)Vitamin C: 24mg (29%)Calcium: 63mg (6%)Iron: 4mg (22%)

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

This pasta with beef ragu recipe comes together easily. After a minimum of chopping & prep, it is great to be able to set it on low and the sauce will take care of itself; cooking the ingredients and allowing the flavors & aroma to build.

We enjoy a hearty, beefy, thick red sauce with pasta. This recipe delivers a big sauce. I firmly believe that a big sauce demands a big pasta, so select your noodle accordingly.

We don’t eat pasta in my house (well, I don’t, and everyone else must suffer) so I served this ragu over cauliflower gnocchi with lots of freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano and it was perfectly lovely. The richness in the flavor after only an hour of cooking was impressive, and the next time I need a “simmered all day” sauce in a pinch, I’ll be reaching for this!

I love pasta with a meat sauce that has that “cooked all day” flavor. This pasta with beef ragu delivers that flavor in less than 2 hours. The vegetables cook down and add to the richness and sweetness of the sauce.

I don’t usually stray from the original recipe when I make it for the first time but on this one, I did substitute chicken stock for the red wine because I didn’t have any on hand. I also used crushed tomatoes instead of whole just as a personal preference. The red wine would definitely add another level of flavor so I plan to make this ragu again when I have a bottle. If you’re looking for a good standby ragu recipe, I think this might be the one for you.

Originally published September 8, 2021

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