This slow-simmered homemade ragu sauce is made with ground beef, chopped onions, minced garlic, canned San Marzano tomatoes, celery, carrots, and fresh herbs. This delicious pasta sauce is freezer-friendly and packed full of veggies.
This homemade ragu sauce is similar to bolognese sauce but without milk and white wine. Another homemade spaghetti sauce is this slow cooker meat spaghetti sauce.
What You Will Love
This delicious ragu is perfect for picky eaters struggling to get enough vegetable servings throughout the day. The carrots and celery are blended with the whole peeled tomatoes, adding nutrients and fiber. Also, this homemade ragu sauce takes just 15 minutes of prep time and is hands-free while it slowly simmers. Serve this Italian meat sauce with any type of pasta.
- Ground beef: I recommend beef with a fat content of 85% to 90%. Alternatively, you can use lean ground beef.
- San Marzano peeled canned tomatoes: The best tomatoes for this ragu recipe are canned San Marzano peeled tomatoes.
- Carrots: Use whole peeled carrots or baby carrots.
- Celery: Remove the celery tops.
- Onion and garlic cloves: Finely mince fresh garlic and onions. Use any type of onion: brown onion, yellow onion, or sweet onion.
- Ground nutmeg: Use ground nutmeg or grind a whole nutmeg with a Microplane zester.
- Fresh herbs: Use any combination of rosemary, thyme, oregano, and basil. For this recipe, I use rosemary and oregano.
See the recipe card at the bottom of the post for quantities.
How To Make Ragu Sauce
In a blender, add the canned tomatoes, baby carrots, and celery.
Blend until fully combined. Set aside. Finely dice the onion and garlic. Set aside.
In a large stovetop pot, cook the ground beef on medium heat. There is no need to add olive oil because the fat in the meat will melt out. Continue breaking up the clumps with a wooden spoon.
Once the meat is browned, turn the heat to medium high heat. Add the diced onion and garlic. Season with salt, pepper, and ground nutmeg.
Pour the tomato mixture into the ground beef mixture and bring to a simmer on low heat.
Add the fresh herb sprigs.
Cover the pot and cook on low heat for 2 hours. Check the tomato sauce at the 1-hour mark and add a little water if needed.
Add this homemade pasta sauce to spaghetti noodles or your favorite pasta. Top with grated parmesan cheese.
Tips and Tricks
- The key to a hearty ragu sauce is slow-simmering it on a low temperature covered. The tomatoes break down and make the sauce so flavorful.
- Blend the tomatoes, carrots, and celery in a blender for quick prep.
- Serve this ragu pasta sauce with homemade gnocchi or dry pasta.
Variations and Substitutions
- Authentic Italian tomato sauce is made with finely diced carrots and celery. Instead of blending the carrots and celery with the canned whole tomatoes, finely dice them.
- Substitute canned tomato puree for equal parts of canned whole tomatoes.
- Add pancetta or Italian sausage.
- For layered flavors, add a glass of red wine to this delicious sauce as it slow-simmers.
- Substitute dried Italian seasoning for fresh herbs.
- Prepare this sauce in a slow cooker. Follow all of the steps listed in the recipe. When the sauce is ready for slow cooking, transfer it to a slow cooker. Cook for 4 hours on high or 8 hours on low.
- Stovetop pot
- Blender or food processor to pulse the carrots and celery
- Chef's knife and cutting board
Store this meat-based sauce in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. Freeze this sauce in a freezer-friendly bag for up to 4 months.
The traditional Italian recipe for ragu is made with tomato puree, celery, carrots, ground beef (or ground pork), and herbs.
Yes, you can freeze ragu sauce. Pour the sauce into a freezer-friendly bag or container. Store in the freezer for up to 4 months.
Traditional ragu does not use tomato paste. Ragu sauce slow-simmers thickening over a long period.
Join The Tribe
- 20 ounces ground beef 85% to 90%
- 56 ounces of canned San Marzano tomatoes 2 cans that are 28 ounces
- 12 baby carrots
- 3 celery stalks
- 6 garlic cloves minced
- 1 large onion or 2 small onions
- 3 sprigs of herbs rosemary, oregano, or thyme
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- In a blender, add the canned tomatoes, baby carrots, and celery. Blend until fully combined. Set aside.
- Finely dice the onion and garlic. Set aside.
- In a large stovetop pot, cook the ground beef on medium-high heat. Continue breaking up the clumps. Once the meat is browned, add the diced onion and garlic. Season with salt, pepper, and ground nutmeg.
- Pour the tomato mixture into the ground beef mixture and bring to a simmer on low heat. Add the fresh herb sprigs. Cover the pot and cook on low heat for 2 hours. Check the tomato sauce at the 1-hour mark and add a little water if needed.
- The nutrition facts don't include pasta.
- Substitute equal parts canned tomato puree for canned whole San Marzano tomatoes.