What do you do when you have a lot of ground beef in your freezer?
You get creative! It just so happens that this colder weather we’ve been having has made me crave Italian food – the warm, comforting kind that could put you to sleep after a bowl (or two). Beef ragu it is.
Traditional ragu/bolognese makers: I know – usually there is ground pork and/or veal. I would love to use that, but I have a ton of ground beef in my freezer, so we are going to go for an Americanized version here.
I looked up a few recipes, and just kind of made an amalgam of them. A lot of people recomment Marcella Hazan’s bolognese sauce, but I wanted something a bit easier (ingredient-wise).
I added lots of onions (ok, I used up onion halves I had in the fridge – economical!) and once they were soft, I added diced carrots. In retrospect, I would dice these carrots up more, as they were still in chunk form (albeit soft chunks) in the final sauce.
After you babble on about wines you know nothing about, dump in a ton of diced/crushed tomatoes. Lots. Wait until you see it bubble a bit, and then…
After 2 to 2.5 (or more) hours, you’ll have a nicely reduced ragu.
Top some pasta with your ragu, and liberally slather with parmesan cheese. You can totally slather cheese, and it’s more than fine if you prefer those canned versions of dry parmesan/romano 😉 I tend to call those versions “Par-meeeeesan” since it’s much more different than the real deal seen above, but oh-so-good and salty (with a hint of cheese).
Although this “only” uses one pound of beef, be prepared for a lot of ragu. We froze some and saved it for eating later in the month. Albany John also mentioned something about how people probably shouldn’t eat ragu more than once a day, but since it was so good, it was worth eating for lunch and dinner. This has lasted our two-family home for many meals, so it is well worth making. The approximate cost of this sauce was around $8.50-9, not too shabby for something that lasted us so many meals. This ragu definitely stretches one lb of meat over many meals and is worth making over and over again.
P.S. – Our meat is from Eagle Bridge Farms. I think this might be their website, but I’m not really sure… it seems like it probably is.
Albany Jane’s Ragu
.5 yellow onion, diced
.5 red onion, diced
1-2 med carrots, diced finely
~ 1 lb ground beef
2 28 oz cans crushed tomatoes
1 28 oz can diced tomatoes
2-4 cloves garlic
oregano, parsley, thyme, etc seasonings
2/3 c wine (cabernet sauvignon)
1 c milk
Cook diced onions until barely translucent, add garlic and carrots. Cook a few minutes more, until onions are all translucent.
Add ground beef, cook well until browned and cooked. Sprinkle w/kosher salt.
Add milk, mix until milk is completely absorbed by beef and none left in pan.
Add wine, mix until completely absorbed by beef.
Pour in cans of tomato
Season with herbs
Cook 2+ hours on a lazy simmer, stirring every 20 minutes.