Sometimes there's nothing more comforting than a big bowl of hearty pasta when you've had a long day of whatever it is you do. Something simple, easy and delicious.
There are plenty of times when I take the time to roast, let my dough rise, or cook a soup with slow developing flavors. A Wednesday night is not a night to let a 3lb. roast slow cook in the oven. You'll see a slow cooked ragu recipe on the blog after this weekend, but for now, I wanted to share my weeknight ragu recipe. Using ground meat speeds up the process. A warming recipe both adults and kids will enjoy.
Weeknight Pork Ragu
1/2lb ground pork
1/2lb ground beef
1 celery stalk (diced)
1 large carrot (diced)
1 large shallot (diced)
1 large clove garlic (minced)
1 can whole tomatoes
1 cup dry red wine
1/4 cup beef broth (optional)
1 handful fresh herbs (rosemary, thyme, sage)
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
3/4lb pasta (take your pick)
Heat a large saute pan over medium high heat and add ground pork and beef. Break it up with a spoon. Let the beef brown up, so don't move it around too often.
Once the beef is browning, add the celery, carrots and shallot. Lower heat to medium. Add salt, pepper and crushed red pepper flakes. You may also want to add a little olive oil if there isn't enough fat from the meat. Let the veggies cook for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another 3 minutes.
Pour in the wine and beef broth (optional), add the fresh herbs, and bring to a simmer. Let reduce by half.
Add the tomatoes and the liquid, crushing each tomato with your hand as you add it to the pan. Add some s&p, cover and let simmer for an hour. You can let simmer for as long as you want, depending on how much time you have. The longer it simmers, the more flavor it develops. If you only have 20 minutes, it will still be tasty! Remove large pieces of herbs before serving. No one wants to eat a whole sage leaf.
As the sauce simmers, cook the pasta in super salty water to al dente. Before draining, add 2 ladles of pasta water to the sauce. Drain and add the pasta directly to the sauce. Toss to combine and add freshly grated Parmesan to serve.