Monday, March 21, 2011

Spaghetti with Hearty Beef Ragu

We don't eat a lot of beef around here.  While I enjoy it, my husband only likes beef that "doesn't taste like beef."  But sometimes, I try stuff using full on beef just to see what happens.  Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn't.
This time around, I used full on ground beef because I seek an awesome meat sauce like what you'd find in a checkered tablecloth Italian restaurant.  In fact, I found "locally" grown beef (locally being in quotes because the next state over isn't quite local, but it's also not a no name farm.), which I thought super cool though a bummer that it was expensive, and I thought this tasted more beefy than typical ground beef.  I was nervous when I took my first taste that it would be too beefy for the hubs.

It wasn't; he said he liked it (though he didn't rave about it, he did eat his whole plateful).  The three year old liked it.  The 11 month old liked it.  I liked it.  That is a big score around here, when everyone enjoys the meal (or, in some cases, everyone even TRIES the meal!)

This is no way, no how, a weeknight meal.  I started cooking around 4:30, and while I'm not a great chef or a fast cook by any stretch of the imagination, we didn't eat until after 6.  The sauce simmers away for a LONG time.  Surely, you could make this on Sunday and eat it during the week, but we didn't do that.

Spaghetti with Hearty Beef Ragu adapted from Confections of a Foodie Bride

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
3 large garlic cloves, minced
1 carrot, finely chopped
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
1 tsp minced fresh rosemary
12 oz ground beef, extra lean
2/3 cup red wine (I used a Shiraz)
3 Tbsp tomato paste
28oz can  crushed tomatoes
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
Italian seasoning, to taste
1 bayleaf
Crushed red pepper, to taste
1 lb whole wheat pasta
Heat the olive oil over medium-low heat in a large pot. Add the onion, garlic, carrot, celery and rosemary and cook until the vegetables are softened, 8-10 minutes.
Brown the ground beef, stirring often. Add the wine and tomato paste, and cook about 4 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Reduce the heat to low and add the tomatoes, pepper, and other spices. Cover partially and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is thick and a consistency you like, about 60 minutes.
Before the sauce is finished, cook the pasta according to the package instructions. Drain the pasta. Remove the rind and add the pasta to the sauce, stirring to combine. Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately.

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