This is the kind of recipe I do without thinking. It has been so much part of my whole life that I can probably spin a few other plates at the same time and not worry about how this sauce will come out.
And you don’t have to worry either because it is so easy. And so right on. And so dependable, reliable, and quick, too.
Nothing is more comforting than some pasta with a saucy meat sauce. Usually made with ground beef — or maybe a mixture of ground beef, pork and/or veal — this one uses ground beef with chunks of sausage. It’s pretty amazing how much that sausage spikes the chart with flavor. You’re not even sure what that umami is — but it’s the sausage, accompanied by all the usual wonderfully flavorful suspects.
This sauce cooks in 30 minutes. Not like the many-hour ragu’s where the meat needs to braise to break down into tenderness. Here we have ground beef and chunky sausage pieces— meat that cooks fast.
The tomatoes? I use canned crushed tomatoes and I love a lot of different brands. Crushed are a little more thick than puree…which Italians call “passata.” Add a little tomato paste, if you like, for a thicker consistency.
And the aromatics? Onion, diced. Garlic cloves, peeled and crushed.
Choose your favorite pasta for this. But Italians will invariably go for the cut pasta for a sauce like this, rather than long straws of spaghetti or linguine. Yes, there is some logic to which pasta goes with which sauce. Logic, and then the perfect answer for any pasta choice: “this is the pasta shape I really like the most.”
Today I’m using a ziti shape. But I’m getting my ziti from these long-strand ziti’s that you break into the lengths you desire. Just some added fun to pasta cooking.
You can find these long-strand pastas in some Italian specialty food stores — or — dare I say — occasionally at TJ MAXX or Home Goods, which is where I got mine. Imported from Italy, they are so blissfully authentic.
Cook this. You’ll be so happy. 🙂
Quick Tasty Meat Sauce for Pasta
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, small dice
2 garlic cloves, peeled & smashed
1/2 lb. ground beef
2 Italian sausages, meat removed from casings
1/3 cup dry white wine
1 28-oz can crushed tomatoes
salt & pepper to taste
12-16 ounces of your favorite pasta
grated parmigiano for individual servings
Heat the oil in a medium saucepan. Add the onion and garlic. Cook on medium heat until onion softens, about 3-4 minutes. Add the meats. Brown meat, breaking up into smaller pieces, with some larger chunks (making for a rustic mixture of meat pieces). When the meat is not longer pink, add the wine. Let it sizzle and mostly evaporate. Add the can of tomatoes. Season with salt & pepper. Stir to combine. Simmer for 20 minutes, cover askew.
Place a pasta pot of water on the heat. When boiling, salt water. Add pasta. Cook until al dente (not to soft, but tender to the bite). When done, drain. Add to a large serving bowl. Spoon some sauce and gently coat. Remember that Italians like some sauce with their pasta — not some pasta with their sauce. So don’t “drown” the pasta in sauce. You can add extra sauce on top of individual servings. And dust with some grated parmigiano.