Take your basic meat sauce to the next level with the addition of Italian sausage mince to create an incredible Sausage Ragu Sauce! This pasta is easy, rich and indulgent, and you’d pay serious money for this at posh Italian restaurants.
Like Shredded Beef Ragu, cooking this sausage pasta sauce long and slow gives it time to develop deep, complex flavours. Indulge in a full Italian banquet by adding a side of Garlic Bread and a garden salad with Italian Dressing!
Italian Sausage Ragu Sauce
I know I shared a Salmon Alfredo Pasta last week, but patience has never been my strongest virtue.
Last week I went to an incredible Italian butcher/deli/bistro called Pinos Dolce Vita Fine Foods in Kogarah (Sydney, Australia). My eyes lit up at the sight of the cured meats cool room with rows and rows of hanging prosciuttos, the selection of real-deal-Italian sausages, beautiful handmade pastas, the bowls piled high with buffalo mozzarella, shelves jammed with the best of Italian produce.
It took great restraint not to purchase everything I got overly excited about, but as I pleadingly explained to the shop assistant, I’d just done my weekly grocery shop and my refrigerator was chock-full already!
So I “only” got 4 different types of Italian sausages. Then even though I had a cooking / shooting schedule all mapped out, it went straight out the window so I could make something using those sausages.
Enter: Italian Sausage Ragu Sauce.
This Sausage Ragu gets its incredible flavour from the Italian sausages – and cooking it long and slow
Cooked long and slow, starting with the classic soffritto which might sound fancy but it just refers to sautéing onions, garlic, celery and carrots over low heat to make them beautifully sweet. It’s a secret tip to create an incredible base. 🙂
This ragu is rich with extra flavour owing to the addition of the Italian sausages. And the MUST DO step to serve this up is tossing the pasta with the sauce in some of the pasta cooking water!! It’s an absolute essential, called emulsification, it makes the pasta suck up the flavour and the sauce glossy so it sticks to every strand of pasta. I rant and rave about it in all my pasta recipes so I’ll save you the pain of hearing about it again!
Oh wait, I think I just did. Sorry! 😉
See how the pasta is a bit red? That’s because it sucked up flavour while it was being tossed with the sauce. And you see how the pasta has sauce on it? Especially for thick pastas like pappardelle (which is the pasta pictured), if you don’t do the extra step of tossing the pasta with the sauce, the sauce doesn’t stick to the pasta so you end up with big mouthfuls of pasta with not much meat sauce.
In fact, I got SO excited about this ragu, I made it twice and the 2nd time I filmed it to make a video so you can see how easy this is to make!
Oh – did I explain what ragu is? It’s really spaghetti bolognaise – done right, the real authentic Italian way. 🙂 Cooked long and slow, it’s rich and luscious, a big step up from the midweek spaghetti bolognaise we’re all probably very familiar with. And I am not turning my nose up at midweek bolognaise, not at all!
This is one for the weekend. For lazy Sundays. 🙂
This Sausage Ragu recipe makes a lot. Serves 8, maybe even 10. I just didn’t feel it was worth making less! – Nagi x
More Slow Cooked Italian Goodness
- Shredded Beef Ragu
- Spaghetti Bolognese – slow cook it for the ultimate experience!
- Lasagna – with slow cooked meat sauce
WATCH HOW TO MAKE IT
Italian Sausage & Beef Ragu
- 3 tbsp olive oil , separated
- 1 lb / 500g ground beef (mince) (not lean)
- 0.8 lb / 400g Italian pork sausages , meat removed from casings (Note 1)
- 3 garlic cloves , minced
- 1 large onion , finely chopped (brown or white) (Note 2)
- 1 carrot , finely chopped or shredded (Note 2)
- 1 large stalk of celery , finely chopped (Note 2)
- 1 tsp each dried thyme leaves and dried rosemary
- 1 cup red wine (Note 3)
- 2 cups beef broth / stock
- 3 tbsp tomato paste
- 28 oz / 800 g can crushed tomatoes (Note 4)
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tsp salt
- Black pepper
To serve (serves 3) (Note 5)
- 8 oz / 250 g pasta of choice (I used pappardelle, the wide pasta pictured in the photos)
- Parmigiano-Reggiano , freshly grated
- Heat 1 1/2 tbsp oil over high heat in a large heavy based pot. Add the beef and sausage. Cook, breaking it up as you go, until browned. Use a slotted spoon to remove into a bowl.
- Heat remaining 1 1/2 tbsp oil in the pot and reduce heat to medium low. Add garlic, onion, carrot and celery. Saute gently for 8 to 10 minutes, until the onion is translucent.
- Add cooked meat back into the pot along with the remaining Ragu ingredients. Turn heat up and mix to combine. Bring to simmer, then turn the heat down so it is bubbling gently (refer to the video, at 50 seconds). Cover and cook for 2 1/2 hours, stirring once or twice.
- Remove from heat and remove the lid. The amount of liquid reduces as it cools, you will be surprised, so don't be tempted to return it to the stove without the lid! 🙂
- SLOW COOKER: At step 3, transfer everything into a slow cooker and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours, and cook the last 30 minutes or so with the lid off the reduce.
- Bring a very large pot of salted water to a rapid boil. Add pasta and cook until just al dente - cooked but still quite firm (I usually go for 2 minutes less than cook time per packet).
- Meanwhile, heat a large, deep fry pan over medium high heat. Add about 2 1/2 cups of ragu, bring to simmer.
- Use tongs to transfer pasta straight from the pot to the fry pan PLUS 1/2 cup of pasta cooking water.
- Toss gently (I use 2 wooden spatulas) for 1 minute or until the sauce reduces, by which time the sauce will thicken, be glossy, and stick to the pasta.
- Serve immediately, garnished with Parmigiano-Reggiano if using!