Favorite Pasta Sauce With Ground Beef (Recipe)
Ten years ago this Valentine’s Day, Farmer Martin cooked for me for the first time. He made lasagna from scratch with a ragu sauce that he’d simmered all day.
I’d known him for exactly two weeks at that time and, even at that early stage, I knew the amazing dinner was a sign of other good things to come. I sure do love good, homecooked food!
And while I’d love to share the secrets to Martin’s fall-in-love-with-me ragu, that’s his specialty and he’s out on the farm somewhere, busily raising the BEST beef to make all your recipes shine :)
Instead, I’m sharing my also-delicious recipe for our family’s Favorite Pasta Sauce with Ground Beef!
It may not have the panache of the all-day ragu, but it sure gets made more often and is a reliable standout for weeknight eating and special gatherings alike.
As the 2nd in our short series of recipes celebrating Ground Beef Awareness Month, this is one that really applauds the amazing flavor and versatility of ground beef.
You’ll notice the 30 minute final simmer time – this recipe comes together fairly quickly! But that is just a suggested minimum that I’ve determined after years of starting dinner just a little bit later than I’d planned…feel free to simmer longer.
This is also one of my go-to recipes for feeding company! It easily doubles or triples to suit your crowd. And they’re going to come back for seconds, so make plenty!
If you’re operating on a less last-minute schedule, it can be made earlier in the day and left on a low simmer to be ready when everything else is. Or, my favorite method, make it a day or two ahead of time and simply reheat when needed.
When I make this it’s always a big pot that becomes lunch over the next week. It also freezes nicely for an emergency meal or to give as a gift.
And while it’s called “pasta” sauce, it is equally delicious over spaghetti squash (as in the photo) or other noodle alternative.
In fact, because it’s so meaty and satisfying, I often enjoy it “neat” for lunch (all by itself in a bowl).
And finally, this meaty sauce works wonders in any lasagna recipe. Enjoy!
Favorite Pasta Sauce with Ground Beef
1 lb OSR Ground Beef
2 T olive oil
1 large carrot, diced
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
28 oz can crushed tomatoes
¾ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
1 ½ tsp dried basil
¾ tsp dried oregano
½ tsp dried thyme
1/8 tsp dried rosemary
1/8 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 T parsley
¼ tsp sugar, optional
Additional chopped seasonal veggies, optional, see note
Freshly grated parmesan for serving
Heat olive oil in a sauce pan over medium heat.
Add diced carrot and onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to soften.
Add minced garlic, stir, and cook for 1-2 minutes.
Add ground beef, breaking it up with a wooden spoon as it cooks.
Add all seasonings except sugar, stir, and cook until ground beef is cooked through.
Add crushed tomatoes and bring to a simmer. Turn heat down to keep at a low simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Taste and adjust salt and pepper as necessary.
If the tomatoes are a bit sharp, a small sprinkling of sugar or other sweetener can finish the sauce to perfection.
If making seasoning adjustments, allow to simmer a few minutes more to meld the flavors.
Garnish with freshly grated parmesan and serve on your favorite pasta or pasta substitute.
Note: I often add seasonal veggies that I have on hand, like zucchini or Swiss chard. Stir them in with the crushed tomatoes. For a more delicate veggie, like spinach, stir it in towards the end of the cooking time.