This Beef and Mushroom Ragu is filled with delicious and robust flavor, thanks to San Marzano tomatoes, a massive amount of garlic, and both fresh and dried herbs.
We’re two weeks into the school year and things are actually going pretty smoothly.
And I love it! By the time September rolls around, I’m ready for the 6am wake up and all those hours a day of doing whatever the heck I want. In silence. And I’ll happily trade being a taxi driver from 3 p.m. until whenever just to have from 6:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. all to myself.
I get a ton more work done (and sometimes reading and coffee sipping) during those coveted school hours. PLUS my girls are older (middle and highschool – *cries*) so lunch packing is no longer my job. #fistbump
To Make This Beef and Mushroom Ragu You Will Need:
- 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 cup grits
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 cup diced yellow onion
- 5 cloves fresh garlic, minced
- 2 pounds ground beef (I use a combination of 1 lb. chuck and sirloin each)
- 2 teaspoons italian seasoning
- 1 (28 ounce) can San Marzano whole tomatoes, pulsed in a food processor until slightly chunky
- 1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 8 ounces sliced mushrooms
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil, plus more for serving
- Parmesan cheese, for serving
- red pepper flakes, for serving (optional)
Meat sauce, sure it doesn’t sound that thrilling but this ragu is brimming with flavor, thanks to San Marzano tomatoes, a massive amount of garlic, and both fresh and dried herbs. It tastes like something my Italian grandmother would make, if I actually had an Italian grandmother.
Stop buying those jarred pasta sauces, this ragu is all you need.
Beef and Mushroom Ragu. Let’s talk about it. Ragu is meat sauce that is traditionally served over cooked pasta. It can also be served over pasta or spaghetti squash, but why be basic? Try spooning it onto crispy, pan-fried polenta and prepare to fall head over heels. I love pasta, but maybe polenta a little more so. It’s such a nice change up!
This ragu starts off just like any sauce does.
First sauté onions and garlic together in olive oil, then season it with Italian seasoning (I make my own!). Then add in ground beef, breaking it up into small crumbles. Next stir in sliced mushrooms and crushed San Marzano tomatoes. Cover and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes. It’s done when the aroma of something resembling heaven permeates the air.
To Make The polenta:
I make polenta just like I do in this recipe (in case you need a visual). Then I pour it into a foil-lined and buttered rimmed 1/4 sheet pan and let it cool. This is something you can make the night before or the morning of. You could probably make this 2 days in advance if you wanted to. I really think time in the fridge not only helps to set the polenta but also cold polenta keeps together better when frying.
Now because I was photographing it for the blog, I made a double batch so that I could cut cute, little rounds out of it. Normally I’m not so high maintenance and I make a single batch and just cut them into squares.
Either way you slice’em (tee hee) you want and fry them, smooth side down first, in a little olive oil in a non-stick skillet until browned and crispy.
With that said, working in batches, I will transfer the fried polenta rounds to a paper towel lined plate and continuing with the remaining. Strapped for time? You could always buy package or two of prepared polenta at the store. Just slice 1/2 an inch or so thick rounds. No one will judge. Swear.
Creamy polenta is delicious on its own but fried is just out of this world amazing!
Serve a few of the fried polenta rounds on a plate and then top with a couple generous spoonfuls of the mushroom ragu. Lastly, sprinkle a pinch of red pepper flakes, freshly crumbled Parmesan cheese and a few extra basil leaves over top.
Robust mushroom ragu, crispy polenta and a glass of Malbec is all I need to ring in this school year.
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