Spaghetti with Beef Ragu
and caesar salad
Meaty pasta sauce known as ragu gets its flavor from a long, slow simmer. To get those rich flavors in a weeknight friendly dish, we offer an option to finish the sauce in a slow cooker so the flavors develop while you go on about your day. Caesar salad makes a classic accompaniment to this Italian dinner.
Smarts: We double the ragu to use in tomorrow's tamale pie!
- Onions, small - 1, chopped
- Garlic - 4 cloves, chopped
- Oil, cooking - 1 Tbsp
- Oregano, dried - 1 tsp
- Beef, ground and lean (sub ground pork or turkey) - 1 lb
- Sausage, Italian mild or spicy - 1 lb
- Tomato sauce (28 oz / 794 g can) - 1 can
- Stock, any type - 1/2 cup
- Vinegar, red or white wine - 1 tsp
- Sugar - 1/2 tsp
- Cheese, parmesan - 2 oz, grated
- Pasta, spaghetti or linguini - 8 oz
- Beef ragu (ingredients listed separately) - ~3 cups
- Garlic - 1 clove, chopped
- Bread, sandwich, preferably a day or two old (sub store bought croutons) - 2 slices, cubed
- Anchovy filets (opt) - 1/2, mashed
- Oil, olive - 1 Tbsp + 3 Tbsp
- Mayonnaise - 2 Tbsp
- Mustard, Dijon - 2 tsp
- Lemons - 1/2, juice of
- Worcestershire sauce (opt) - 1 tsp
- Lettuce, romaine - 1 head, chopped
- Onions / Garlic (for ragu and salad) - Prep as directed. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)
- Cheese - Grate. (Can be done up to 3 days ahead)
- Make croutons - Slice bread into even cubes. Heat a skillet over medium heat. Add first part of olive oil and bread cubes to the hot pan. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until cubes are golden brown on all sides. (If bread is toasting too slowly, turn up the heat, but stay close to the skillet to be sure the cubes don’t burn.) (Can be done up to 3 days ahead)
- Caesar dressing - Mash anchovy filets with a fork. Combine with garlic (the portion for the salad), mayonnaise, mustard, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce and second part of olive oil. If you prefer a smooth dressing, you can blend it with an immersion blender. Season with salt and pepper. (Can be done 1 day ahead)
- If making ragu in slow cooker: - Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Add cooking oil and then onions to heated oil. Saute until onions are soft, ~4 minutes. Add garlic and oregano and cook until fragrant, ~1 minute. Add beef and sausage and season with some salt and pepper. Cook until meat is browned, ~5 minutes. Transfer to the bowl of a slow cooker. Add tomato sauce, stock, vinegar and sugar. Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours.
- Lettuce - Chop.
- If making ragu on stovetop: - Heat a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add cooking oil and then onions to heated oil. Saute until onions are soft, ~4 minutes. Add garlic and oregano and cook until fragrant, ~1 minute. Add beef and sausage and season with some salt and pepper. Cook until meat is browned, ~5 minutes. Add tomato sauce, stock, vinegar and sugar. Bring to a simmer and allow sauce to simmer for at least 15 minutes but as long as an hour. (The longer the sauce simmers, the more the flavors will develop.)
- Bring a saucepan of water to boil. Salt generously and add pasta. Cook until al dente, tender but not soggy.
- Taste ragu and season with salt and pepper if needed. You can also add additional sugar or vinegar to suit your taste.
- Toss lettuce with caesar dressing. Top with croutons.
- Drain noodles and top with half the ragu (remember to save the other half for Tuesday). Serve with caesar salad on the side and top everything with grated cheese. Enjoy!
We really liked this. I think I liked it more than the meat version.0 Helpful
The rating has more to do with this being my "pantry" recipe. Only had ground beef so used 2 pounds of that. Didnt have tomato sauce but had equal part crushed tomato. Next time would try 14oz of each! Would def drain the fat after browning the beef because i had a large bowls worth of fat to skim off the top after it was done...0 Helpful
Really nice, heaps of flavour. I used 3 regular Italian sausages and 3 chilli Italian sausages. Simmered very slowly on the stove for 6 hours. Easy to make, just need to plan ahead.0 Helpful
This was excellent. We recently made the Spaghetti with Meat Sauce, but we liked this recipe better! I did notice quite a bit of grease after browning the meat, so I took some of it off before adding the rest of the ingredients. Salad was good, too. Another tasty cook smarts dressing.0 Helpful
We also cooked a spaghetti squash and offered it as an alternative to the pasta.0 Helpful
We both really liked this spagetti with ragu! Because it was an add-on meal, I didn't realize when buying the ingredients that half the ragu was for another meal but it ended up being eaten anyway as leftovers.0 Helpful