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

Southern Living, March 2022

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Credit: Victor Protasio; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall; Prop Styling: Audrey Davis

Recipe Summary

total:
40 mins
active:
40 mins
Servings:
6
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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

Ingredient Checklist

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • 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.

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  • 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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