Fire-Roasted Tomato-and-Beef Ragù

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This fix-and-freeze pasta sauce is perfect for weeknight meals.

Fire-Roasted Tomato-and-Beef Ragù
Photo: Victor Protasio; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall; Prop Styling: Audrey Davis
Active Time:
40 mins
Total Time:
40 mins
Servings:
6

When you have a full house, cooking a nice family dinner where everyone is sure to be satisfied might feel like mission impossible. But with this simple sauce recipe, we've finally cracked the code.

Our Fire-Roasted Tomato-and-Beef Ragù tastes like an elevated version of mom's spaghetti. This classic beef ragu has multiple levels of flavor that keep you coming back for more. Ground beef forms the meaty, hearty foundation for the sauce (if you prefer a lighter sauce, feel free to cut back on the amount of meat), while onion and garlic bring the signature warm Italian aroma. We love using fire-roasted tomatoes in this recipe because they add a smoky undertone to the dish.

This versatile sauce is great spooned over pasta, layered in a lasagna, or stirred into baked ziti. Plus, this recipe has serious staying power. Enjoy it tonight or save it for later. Our Test Kitchen created this recipe so that it can be made in advance—cook it once, then freeze the rest in an airtight container to enjoy later. It's a really easy recipe to double and make in a larger batch.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1 ¼ pounds 85 /15 lean ground beef

  • 1 medium sweet onion, finely chopped (about ¾ cup)

  • 3 large garlic cloves, finely chopped (about 3 Tbsp.)

  • 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt, divided

  • ½ teaspoon black pepper

  • 1 (14.5-oz.) can fire-roasted crushed tomatoes

  • 1 (14.5-oz.) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes

  • 1 (8-oz.) can tomato sauce

  • 1 cup chicken or vegetable broth

  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar

  • 1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning

  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper

  • 1 pound pasta of choice, cooked according to pkg. directions, for serving

  • Grated Parmesan cheese, optional

  • Fresh basil leaves, optional

Directions

  1. Heat olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high. Add beef, sweet onion, garlic, 1 teaspoon of the salt, and pepper; cook, stirring occasionally and breaking up beef, until browned, about 5 minutes. Drain beef mixture; return to skillet. Stir in crushed and diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, broth, sugar, Italian seasoning, red pepper, and remaining ½ teaspoon salt.

  2. Bring sauce to a simmer over medium-high; reduce heat to medium. Cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened, 20 to 30 minutes. Serve with hot cooked pasta. Top with Parmesan and basil, if desired.

Freeze

Let cooked sauce cool to room temperature, one hour. Place in an airtight, freezer-safe container. Or fill a ziplock plastic freezer bag three-fourths of the way full, and seal, pushing out any air. Freeze until solid, at least four hours or up to six months.

Reheat

Thaw overnight in refrigerator or at room temperature (about one hour). Place sauce in Dutch oven or saucepan; heat over medium, stirring often, until hot, about 15 minutes. Serve as directed.

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