This year for New Year’s day dinner, my in-laws had an Italian theme. One of the recipes we ended up with was a lasagna made with a homemade Ragu. I fell in love with it. The flavor of the Ragu was so delicious. It was rich, but not overpowering and wasn’t tomato based. Most of my pasta sauces are tomato or cream based, so this one was a breath of fresh air. I got the recipe and have made it several times since then. It makes a lot, so I tend to freeze part of it or I end up with too much sauce to use before it went bad. The only downside of this recipe for me, is that you need to simmer it for a couple of hours. I don’t care for wine, so I simmered mine for at least 2 hours to make sure no wine flavor remained (don’t worry, all the alcohol has burned off by then). I’ve also found that the wine adds a depth to the flavor that the Ragu is really lacking without the wine. So, just plan ahead and make this Ragu on Saturday or Sunday (or any day you have the time to do the prep) and then store it until you use it later in the week. If you can’t find the pancetta, just use bacon as a substitute. This is perfect for spaghetti (or any other kind of pasta), or you can use it as your sauce for a lasagna. Any leftovers you won’t use within a week, just put it in a bag and freeze it for the next time. It’s rich, but not overpowering, and incredibly delicious. It’s my all-time favorite pasta sauce, and I love that I get to toss the veggies in the food processor to make the prep really easy.
Spaghetti with Ragu Recipe
- 3 stalks celery - chopped
- 2 medium onions - chopped
- 2 medium carrots - chopped
- 4 cloves garlic - minced
- 2 oz pancetta - ground or finely chopped
- ½ lb ground beef - at least 95% lean
- ½ lb ground pork
- 3 oz tomato paste
- ¾ reduced fat milk
- ¼ cup dry white wine
- ½ cup water
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 8 oz whole wheat spaghetti
- Combine the celery, onion, carrots and garlic in a food processor. Process until minced.
- In a large stock pot, cook the pancetta, beef and pork.
- Continue to cook until the meat is cooked through and no longer pink. Break up the meat while cooking into small crumbles.
- Then add the vegetables to the pot and cook for 5-7 minutes, or until soft.
- Add the tomato paste, milk, wine and water.
- Stir to combine, then bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for at least 90 minutes.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- While sauce is cooking, prepare the spaghetti according to package directions.
- Serve the pasta topped with the ragu.
Entire recipe makes 8 servings
Serving size is about 1 cup (1 oz pasta with about 1/2 cup sauce)
Each serving = 7 Smart Points
PER SERVING: 222 calories; 11g fat; 4.1g saturated fat; 16.7g carbohydrates; 5.3g sugar; 13.6g protein; 3.1g fiber