Spaghetti with Beef Ragu

Who doesn’t love spaghetti with meat sauce?  This sauce tastes like it’s been simmering for hours, but actually only simmers for 30 minutes.

Spaghetti with Beef Ragu, adapted from Relish


  • 2 bacon slices
  • 1 small onion
  • a few cloves of garlic
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • Italian herbs or oregano (see note below)
  • red pepper flakes
  • salt
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 1/3 c. tomato paste (I don’t measure — I use about half a can or a little more)
  • 1 14 oz. can beef broth
  • 1 package spaghetti
  • parmesan cheese


1) Heat a dutch oven.  When it’s hot, add the bacon and cook until it has rendered its fat.  At this point, I remove the bacon.  The original recipe has you leave it in, but then you end up with chewy, fatty lumps in your sauce.  I remove the bacon and either crumble it into the sauce at the end, or sometimes I just eat the bacon.  It’s already given what it needs to for the sauce.

2) Add the onion, garlic, and bay leaf and saute until softened.

3) Add the ground beef and cook until no longer pink.

4) Add the wine, tomato paste, broth, Italian herbs (I’m a huge fan of Penzey’s Italian herb blend; you can just add some oregano instead), red pepper flakes, and salt.  Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.

5) Cook the spaghetti.  Drain and add to the sauce after it’s done simmering.

6) Serve.  Add parmesan to individual portions at the table.


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