Something about a ragu meat sauce just feels comforting to me. Could it be a flashback from eating a school cafeteria lunch or my forever obsession with Olive Garden? Slow and long is the key to this minced meat sauce recipe.
Ragu Meat Sauce
Contrary to what I grew up knowing, an authentic Italian meat sauce is the true meaning of Ragu and not just the pasta sauce company. I am definitely thankful for some amazing neighbors who knew real Italian food and shared their ways with me growing up, because this is a go-to in our home.
Whats the Key?
A very slow simmer! Who would have thought slow cooking ground meat would change the flavor of a sauce? If you are in a hurry to have dinner, then this is definitely not a go-to meal. If you want to hang out and have some drinks, call some friends, or have a dance party with your kids pre-dinner, then this needs to be on the menu pronto!
My Ragu Meat Sauce is spiced with flavors that include pepper flakes, extra garlic, and other spices. You can most definitely add these ingredients based on your tolerance!
Let’s Talk Cheese!
The debate will be never-ending when it comes to parmigiano reggiano vs pecorino romano. One is a bit more tangier than the other and for that reason I would go with parmigiano reggiano for this dish. It has a milder flavor which I think pairs well with the slow cooked meat.
What type of pasta to use
A complete personal preference. We love the taste of regular semolina flour with ragu meat sauce, but opt for brown rice pasta variations for better digestion. Both a high fiber pasta + a high protein sauce means a little goes a long way with portions.
Zucchini noodles is also a great option for Keto or low carb diets. I steam the zucchini noodles for 1 minute and nothing more to keep an al-dente tecture.
SALT YOUR WATER
BIGGEST TIP I can give when cooking pasta is to not add oil when cooking your pasta. Whether it is fresh or dry pasta, it is not advised. Oil will prevent your sauce from sticking to the pasta.
I have made this sauce using soy grounds and let me tell you how amazing the result was. My meat eating husband LOVED IT! I do not recommend using non-soy grounds for this dish since the soy grounds tend to hold up well with slow cooking.
Looking for a vegetarian pasta recipe? Then be sure to try my Mushroom Pasta!
Ragu Meat Sauce
- 1 lb ground meat (beef, turkey, or alternative)
- 12 oz arrabiata pasta sauce (or your favorite)
- 1 12oz can crushed San Marzano tomatoes
- 3 cloves fresh grated garlic
- ¼ cup parmigiano reggiano
- 12 oz package of uncooked spaghetti
- 6 oz water
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- pinch baking soda
- black pepper
- water for boiling
- red pepper flakes
- Heat some oil in a sauce pan and add the ground meat. Sprinkle a pinch of baking soda and continue to break up the meat.
- Season the meat with some salt, oregano, garlic, and black pepper.
- Cook until ¾ done (a few minutes at most) and drain the oil from the pan. (I tilt the pot and use a large spoon to discard)
- Add the pasta sauce and water to the pan with the meat.
- Let it come to a boil.
- Turn the heat down to low and let it cook for about 3 hours while continuing to stir every once in a while.
- At this point you can make the spaghetti.
- Boil salted water in a large pot.
- Once it reaches a boil, add the spaghetti and cook to your texture liking. Strain and set it aside.
- Once the sauce has simmered you can mix the pasta and sauce together or have a "make your own bowl" dinner.
- Don't forget to top the spaghetti with some parmigiano reggiano and red pepper flakes.
- Make it a low carb friendly meal by using zucchini noodles or almond pasta.