Table of Contents
  1. Why this recipe works.
  2. Everything you’ll need to make this recipe.
  3. Here’s how to make this recipe.
  4. These pro tips will make this recipe a success.
  5. Frequently asked questions about this recipe.
  6. You'll love these other weeknight meals.
  7. Watch how to make this recipe.
  8. Have I convinced you to make this recipe?
  9. Weeknight Ragù Recipe

When you’re in the mood for something super delicious but are short on time, this weeknight ragù recipe is the answer! It has tons of flavor with an amped-up vegetal undertone. And since it cooks quickly, it means that a meal can be on the table in a matter of minutes. Here’s to a fast weeknight dinner!

Why this recipe works.

A ragù is a name given to numerous sauces, but a true ragù is a meat-based sauce. The meat slowly braises with a small amount of tomato to create a rich sauce used on pasta. This is a weeknight ragù and needs to be made in under an hour. The flavor starts with minced vegetables for a richer flavor. Instead of simmering cuts of meat until they are tender, ground beef is used to cut down the time. Red wine and beef stock fortify the sauce to build more flavor, and is finished with a small amount of cream to temper the acidity. The result is a perfect ragù that everyone will think took more work than it does.

Large gray pot filled with ragù showing pieces of pasta, diced tomatoes, and browned meat all in a tomato sauce.

Everything you’ll need to make this recipe.

  • Butter will have a richer, more well-rounded flavor in this ragù sauce. Rather than using oil, the butter will add more flavor and accompany the other flavors in the recipe.
  • Ground beef is a workhorse in the kitchen. It can easily be purchased and frozen, then used for a weeknight meal. In this ragù, the ground beef makes everything quick and easy.
  • Red wine has some acidity, which helps to balance out all of the flavors. Plus, it works to tenderize the meat, making this sauce even more delicious.
  • Heavy cream can be brought to high temperatures without breaking or curdling, which makes it perfect for this recipe. It also adds richness and creaminess.
  • Parmesan cheese acts to both thicken and add additional flavor to this recipe. The cheese is added as the very last step that finishes everything off perfectly.
White marble surface filled with all ingredients needed to make ragù sauce including raw ground meat, diced tomatoes, carrots, celery, mushrooms, pasta, spices, and more.

Here’s how to make this recipe.

  1. Prepare the vegetables. Using a box grater, grate the mushroom, carrots, and onion. Use a knife to dice the celery. In a large pan over medium heat, melt the butter. Once the butter is melted, add all four vegetables to the pan along with the salt, and allow everything to cook for 6 to 8 minutes.
  1. Brown the meat. Once the vegetables have softened and cooked off some of their liquid, add the minced garlic and stir to cook it slightly. Then add the ground beef to the pan, break it up, and cook for 4 to 6 minutes.
  1. Add the flavorings. Once the beef is browned, add in the dried Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes, and black pepper. Once the spices have been stirred in, add the red wine. Let the red wine cook off so that a very small amount of liquid is left in the bottom of the pan when stirred. Add in the diced tomatoes with their juices and allow the entire mixture to simmer for 4 minutes.
  1. Cook the pasta. Once the sauce has simmered, add in the heavy cream, beef stock, and pasta. Stir everything together and allow the mixture to come to a simmer. Once simmering, cover and cook for 8 to 12 minutes until the pasta is at the desired tenderness.
  1. Finish with cheese. Once cooked, remove the pan from the heat and add in the Parmesan cheese. Stir in the cheese and let sit for approximately 10 minutes to thicken fully.

These pro tips will make this recipe a success.

  • While taking the time to grate the vegetables evenly may seem like an extra step, it allows the vegetables to cook quickly and evenly. With small, uniformly-sized pieces, the vegetables will cook at about the same rate.
  • Rather than grating the celery with a box grater, simply dice it by hand. If grated, the celery will dissolve into long strings rather than into nice pieces.
  • Do not add the minced garlic with the rest of the vegetables. Garlic has a tendency to burn and get bitter if cooked for too long. While the other vegetables need a longer cooking time, garlic can be added in the last 30 seconds to 1 minute of vegetable cooking time.
  • The Parmesan cheese that’s added at the end of the cooking time provides the final level of thickening and dose of flavor that the sauce needs. If possible, allow the dish to sit for 10 minutes right before serving to allow the cheese to thicken fully.
Large gray pan filled with cooked weeknight ragù all on marble surface with two glasses of red wine, plates, olive oil, and Parmesan cheese.

Frequently asked questions about this recipe.

Instead of a hand grater, can the vegetables be chopped in a food processor?

Yes, the vegetables can be cut into pieces and then pulsed in the food processor until they are small.

Is there a substitute for the red wine that’s added to this sauce?

The red wine can be omitted from the sauce, but there is no substitute. Since the wine is cooked until evaporated, no more liquid needs to be added if the wine is omitted.

What would be best to serve with this ragù sauce?

Once the sauce is mixed with pasta, it becomes a great main dish. A side salad and crusty bread would be two great options.

How long does this recipe last once prepared?

The leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for 7-10 days.

Lots of weeknight ragù in a large pot showing the pasta, meat, and diced tomatoes.

Watch how to make this recipe.

More pasta recipes

Have I convinced you to make this recipe?

I hope you make this recipe and put some food on your table. Leave a comment and share a star rating so you can let others know how much you love this recipe. This helps show others that this is a recipe they, too, can make, enjoy, and love!

White marble surface filled with large pan filled with ragù sauce with pasta showing along with olive oil, Parmesan cheese, and cups of red wine.

Weeknight Ragù

4.89 from 9 votes
When you’re in the mood for something super delicious but are short on time, this weeknight ragù recipe is the answer! It has tons of flavor with an amped-up vegetal undertone. And since it cooks quickly, it means that a meal can be on the table in a matter of minutes. Here’s to a fast weeknight dinner!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 34 minutes
Resting Time 10 minutes
Total Time 54 minutes
Servings 8 servings

Ingredients

  • 8 oz mushrooms
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 rib celery
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 lb ground beef (92% lean)
  • 2 tsp dried Italian seasoning
  • ½ tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • ½ cup red wine
  • 28 oz diced tomatoes in tomato juice
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 2 cups beef stock
  • 3 cups dried pasta
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Instructions
 

  • Use the large holes on a box grater to grate the mushrooms, carrots, and onion. Dice the celery into small pieces. Melt the butter in a large 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Once the butter is melted, add the vegetables and salt. Sauté until the vegetables are softened, release their liquid, and most of the liquid has been evaporated, 6-8 minutes.
    8 oz mushrooms, 2 carrots, 1 medium onion, 1 rib celery, 2 tbsp unsalted butter, 2 tsp kosher salt
  • Add the garlic, stir for 30 seconds to 1 minute, and add the ground beef. Cook and break up the beef into small pieces until it is well browned, 4-6 minutes.
    3 cloves garlic, 1 lb ground beef (92% lean)
  • Add the Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes, and black pepper. Stir the seasonings into the sauce and add the red wine. Bring the wine to a simmer and cook until it is evaporated, 4 minutes.
    2 tsp dried Italian seasoning, ½ tsp red pepper flakes, 1 tsp black pepper, ½ cup red wine
  • Add the tomatoes with their juice, heavy cream, beef stock, and the pasta. Stir, and bring the sauce to a simmer. Once the sauce is simmering, cover and cook until the pasta is tender, 8-12 minutes.
    ½ cup heavy cream, 2 cups beef stock, 3 cups dried pasta, 28 oz diced tomatoes in tomato juice
  • Once cooked, remove the lid and add the grated Parmesan. Stir to thicken the sauce, let sit for about 10 minutes, then serve.
    1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Notes

  • While taking the time to grate the vegetables evenly may seem like an extra step, it allows the vegetables to cook quickly and evenly. With small, uniformly-sized pieces, the vegetables will cook at about the same rate.
  • Rather than grating the celery with a box grater, simply dice it by hand. If grated, the celery will dissolve into long strings rather than into nice pieces.
  • Do not add the minced garlic with the rest of the vegetables. Garlic has a tendency to burn and get bitter if cooked for too long. While the other vegetables need a longer cooking time, garlic can be added in the last 30 seconds to 1 minute of vegetable cooking time.
  • The Parmesan cheese that’s added at the end of the cooking time provides the final level of thickening and dose of flavor that the sauce needs. If possible, allow the dish to sit for 10 minutes right before serving to allow the cheese to thicken fully.

Nutrition

Serving: 1servingCalories: 385kcal
Course Dinner
Cuisine Italian
Difficulty Easy
Method Cooking

You May Also Like

Never miss a post by signing up for my newsletter.

Kaleb

I’m Kaleb! I'm not a chef, professional baker, landscaper, or designer, but I like to play each on Knollgate Farm. Come join me on my journey and let's learn together!

Learn more about me

Leave a Comment

Recipe Rating:




This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

7 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I know I’m going to love it when I make it tomorrow night, so I’m already giving it a 5. Kaleb, you’re great!

  2. 5 stars
    So, so delicious and so easy, even for a novice. Grating the vegetables helps “hide” the mushrooms while still benefiting from their flavor and the red pepper flakes add just the right amount of heat. I can’t believe I made something this good!

  3. 4 stars
    Had only smaller size tin of diced tomatoes but that seemed fine. Used bow ties for the pasta. Very good taste all round. Used a crusty bun to sop up juices. I think the leftovers will be great too.

  4. 5 stars
    This recipe was A+, home run, out of the park delicious! My husband loved it. Love these one pot meals. This one will definitely be in the rotation.
    Your videos are terrific. Informative and enjoyable to watch. Thank you😎

  5. 5 stars
    This was absolutely awesome!!!? My granddaughter ate it for three days it was so yummy! Thank you Kaleb!!!