If you were to select the monarch of the vast world of pasta sauce, it would hands down have to be Hearty Beef & Sausage Ragù. A Ragù is Bolognaise done right!
A gorgeous, glossy and rich tomato sauce that is enhanced with bold wine, plenty of onions, sweet garlic, fragrant basil, and a hint of high quality olive oil, Hearty Beef & Sausage Ragù is Italian-American Sunday gravy if ever there was…
In an Italian ragù, ground beef is always supplemented with pork because pork is sweeter and fattier and has a better texture. In this recipe, I use fresh Italian pork sausage.
Is a homemade Beef & Sausage Ragù better than jarred sauce?
This made-from-scratch Ragù is worth getting enthusiastic about. It trounces anything ‘jar.’ Sorry folks, but you cannot argue that point, at least not with me. This method is galaxies beyond the jarred spaghetti sauces we are all familiar with.
This approach is low and slow. I recommend a large, heavy Dutch oven. This recipe involves caramelization. Canned tomatoes and dried pasta are better than fresh in both categories. Pork is the meat of choice.
Cooking every ingredient completely before adding the next lets each one impart its full flavor profile to the finished product.
What are the best ingredients for a Beef & Sausage Ragù?
As for the wine, add only what you would also drink. And because ingredients matter, when it comes to the sausage, I keep it simple yet flavorful and select a quality Italian pork sausage but avoid a product with fillers. Consult your grocer’s butcher about all-natural sausages which use pork and no fillers.
Choose a quality ground beef with at least 20% fat content. Much of this is going to render out anyway. For a little over a year now, I have been ordering from Farm Foods. Their quality is SUPERIOR, their customer service bar none. One shipment fills my chest freezer for months.
Hearty Beef & Sausage Ragù makes a fantastic sauce for homemade pappardelle or penne, and a seriously show-stopping Lasagna, too.
What are San Marzano tomatoes and should I try to use them?
Canned tomato paste and canned San Marzano tomatoes are both cooked during the preservation process, and that gives them a desirable, hyper-intense quality that some food scientists identify as umami.
Try if you can to find REAL San Marzano tomatoes (these are my favorites) with the European Union’s Denominazione d’Origine Protetta seal. They will likely cost a bit extra but are entirely worth the expense. I purchase several cans at once because they are generally a better price in quantity versus just a single can. Given this recipe for example uses two+ of the 28 ounce cans alone, it makes sense.
Having been grown, processed, and canned local to the fields they are grown in, earns the tomatoes that Denominazione d’Origine Protetta seal. They have the advantage of always being fully ripe and packed in a maximum-quality purée.
All images and text ©Jenny DeRemer for Not Entirely Average, LLC
Hearty Beef & Sausage Ragù
Ingredients for Hearty Beef & Sausage Ragù
- 1 large sweet onion, chopped, about 1 cup
- 2 to 3 cloves garlic, rough chopped
- 1/4 cup quality olive oil I am using Thea
- 1 pound high quality 80/20 ground beef
- 2 to 3 links high quality Italian sausage, casings removed and broken into large chunks
- 1/2 cup dry red wine
- (2) 28oz cans whole San Marzano tomatoes in puree, plus I am using Strianese brand
- (1) 14oz can whole San Marzano tomatoes in puree
- (2) 6oz cans tomato paste
- 2 to 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon leaf oregano, crumbled
- 1 tablespoon leaf basil, crumbled
- 1 tablespoon Kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
- 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- Sauté onion and garlic in olive oil over moderate heat until soft. Add both beef and sausage crumbles and brown well, stirring frequently.
- Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the fat from the pot. Return pot to moderate heat and deglaze pan with the red wine. Cook until almost all of the wine is evaporated.
- Return pot with meat mixture to heat. Add the tomato paste and cook over moderate heat until paste begins to brown, about 5 to 8 minutes. Add the tomatoes and their juices, reduce heat to simmer, and cook 10 minutes more.
- To the pot add the sugar, oregano, basil, salt, and pepper. Simmer low, uncovered, stirring frequently to ensure no sticking for 45 minutes or until sauce thickens, about 1 hour. The tomatoes will break down during the cook and stirring will hasten this process.
- Stir in Parmesan cheese before serving.
- Serve with a bright red wine and pass crusty bread with quality olive oil.