Easy Weeknight Meal – Italian Ragu

Hello everyone! It’s Tiffany visiting again from The Nesting Project to share an easy weeknight meal, Italian Ragu.

As we head into fall and I start to get a taste of this beautiful crisp cooler weather I start to think about comfort food. However not all comfort food is easy to make when you’re a working girl or a mother to a 5 month old. So I always go to the experts in easy meals: The Italians. There are so many great Italian recipes that have simple ingredients that you can throw into a pan and end of up with something truly delicious. The other great thing about the Italians is their recipes use alot of inexpensive ingredients. I still remember my Italian grandmother saying they added grated cheese and the rind of a wedge of cheese instead of meat with they didn’t have the money for it. It added the missing flavor to make it delicious.

I am someone who always makes a huge pot of marinara and freezes it but this recipe you only need tomato paste. one little 6 oz can of tomato paste yields a delicious ingredient to this dish. The sweetness of the carrots also compliments it as well as a dusting of fennel powder. If you don’t have it then just add a couple of tablespoons of Italian seasoning. I adapted this recipe from Mario Batali’s recipe because as much as I wish it was the case, we don’t always have ham or prosciutto on hand to add to this dish. So I substituted for 2 links of Italian sausage. It makes it a cheaper dish but just as delicious.  A shell or other type of macaroni that can cup the sauce makes it ideal for this dish.

Bring on fall I say!

Italian Ragu

1/2 pound ground beef chuck

2 links Italian Sausage (sweet or spicy but out of the casings)

6 oz of tomato paste

1 cup of milk (I used whole milk but a 2% would work well too)

1 cup of beef or chicken broth

1/2 medium onion diced

2 large carrots diced

2 cloves of garlic chopped

1/4 tsp salt

1 tbsp fennel powder

1 box of shell pasta

Pecorino Romano or Parmesan Cheese for grating on the top of the dish

In a Dutch oven style pan add a tbsp olive oil to medium heat. Add your onion, carrot and garlic and cook until softened. Add your ground meat and sausage and cook until browned almost completely. Add your tomato paste and stir into and let cook about 5 minutes.  Let it get incorporated into the mixture completely (it will look really thick and clumpy and almost bind everything together). Then add your milk and then your stock. Add your salt and your fennel powder. Stir and cook for about 20 minutes. Your mixture will start to get thick from the tomato paste. I add about 1/2 cup of grated cheese but you can wait and garnish with it as well. Cook your pasta according to the box and then add to your sauce. Enjoy!


  1. Melanie says:

    Sounds great! Can’t wait to try it!

  2. Lisa says:

    Looks delicious! AND soy free which is HUGE for me…

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