One of the fundamentals of Italian cooking is knowing how to make a good pasta sauce. I’ve already covered tomato sauce and pesto, so the next up is ragù alla bolognese, or simply, tomato sauce with ground meat. There are many variations – a healthier option uses ground turkey, while the truly sumptuous includes a trio of ground meats – beef, veal and pork. The husband doesn’t eat pork, so these days, I’m making my ragù alla bolognese with ground beef but feel free to substitute as you wish. This sauce is perfect with a larger pasta like penne, or as a component of lasagna or baked ziti. I made the recipe below and for 2 people, you’ll get about 4 servings out of it. It freezes well and makes for a great quick dinner. Read the full story for the recipe, tips and photos.
Ragù alla Bolognese Ingredients:
Between 1lb – 1.5 lbs of Ground Beef
1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Large Spanish onion – finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic – minced in a garlic press
5 – 10 Basil Leaves
1 Carrot or a handful of precut carrots – finely chopped
1 Container of Tomato Puree (Please be sure to get something with just tomatoes. Don’t buy something already flavored with basil, etc. You want pure tomatoes – you are going to add the flavor! I prefer Pomi but the store ran out)
Sugar, Salt & Pepper
1. Bring a large pot of water to boil. (This is for the pasta not the sauce but this is always the first step. You want your water ready & waiting for you not the other way around).
2. Heat a saute pan and brown the ground beef. You don’t need to add oil or anything. As the beef is browning add salt & pepper. You want to make sure to chip away at the beef as it’s cooking – you want it to be in very small pieces. When it’s ready, set it aside.
3. In a separate large sauce pot, heat the extra virgin olive oil over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the onions. Saute the onions until golden and transparent about 5 minutes.
4. When the onions are golden, add the carrots and garlic. Saute until golden, about 3 minutes.
5. Add tomato puree and stir. Season with basil, salt, pepper and a dash of sugar (to taste). Add the ground beef, stir, cover and bring to a boil.
6. When the sauce comes to a boil (not very long) bring the heat down to medium and simmer for 20 minutes. Stir frequently.
7. Add to pasta of choice and enjoy!
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