Tomato Meat Sauce (Ragu)

  • Yield : About 3 quarts
  • Servings : 12
  • Prep Time : 15m
  • Cook Time : 2:15 h
  • Ready In : 2:30 h
Related Recipes:
  • High Protein & Fiber Turkey & Mushroom Tomato Sauce

  • 30 Minute Meatball And Pasta Soup

  • Creamy Pasta And Mushrooms

  • Italian Seasoning

  • Potato Gnocchi

Nutritional Info

This information is per serving.

  • Calories

  • Calories from Fat

  • Total Fat

  • Saturated Fat

  • Trans Fat

  • Cholesterol

  • Sodium

  • Carbohydrates

  • Dietary Fiber

  • Sugar

  • Protein

  • Serving Size:

    1 cup (240 ml, 220 grams)

Tomato sauce is a relatively recent addition to the Italian culinary scene. Hundreds of years after the tomato was introduced to Europeans it was still considered poisonous. Today, some organizations classify the tomato as a super food. How times have changed.

Although this recipe is for Tomato Meat Sauce you can omitted the meat if desired. Meat sauce, also known as ragu, is served in central Italy more often than in Southern Italy. When an Italian refers to pasta with ragu, they do not mean pasta with a popular brand of bottled tomato sauce sold in the United States. They mean a thin tomato meat sauce without vegetables (unlike Bolognese with vegetables and milk).

You can make tomato meat sauce in about an hour, but slow simmering improves the flavor and thickens the sauce. I generally simmer this sauce about 2 hours. With a good quality heavy bottomed pot for even heat distribution, give the sauce a quick stir about every 30 minutes to check the thickness.

This Tomato Meat Sauce recipe can be halved or doubled. Once cooled, you can divide the sauce into 1, 2 or more serving containers (about 1 cup, 220 gram per serving) and froze it for later use. Thaw frozen sauce in the refrigerator (about 1 to 2 days), on the stove over low heat heat or in your microwave oven per the manufacturers recommended settings.

Cook’s Tip

Use this Tomato Meat Sauce on pasta, in lasagna, and for pizzas.

Variations & Substitutions

Omit beef and sausage for a vegetarian tomato sauce.

Substitute cooked shredded chicken during the last 30 minutes instead of beef and pork.

Substitute ground chicken or turkey and chicken or turkey sausage for the beef and pork sausage.

Substitute your favorite seafood or combination of seafood for the meat. Tuna is a popular seafood added to tomato sauce. Other types include mussels, octopus and squid.

Substitute 2 28-oz. cans of crushed or pureed tomato for the tomato sauce.

Add or substitute 1 or 2 14-oz cans of petite diced tomatoes for a chunky sauce.

Related Recipes

Lean Hot Italian Sausage

Extra Lean Turkey Sausage



  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 (250 g) medium onion chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lb. (450 g) lean ground beef
  • 1 lb. (450 g) lean hot or sweet Italian sausage
  • 4 14.5-oz (440 ml) cans no salt added tomato sauce or low sodium crushed tomatoes
  • 1/4 - 1/2 cup (60-120 ml) dry red wine (optional)
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) water
  • 1or 2 fresh or dry bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) fresh Italian parsley chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon (1.5 ml) ground anise
  • 2 teaspoons (10 ml) Kosher salt

Method of Preparation

Step 1

Heat oil in a large sauce pan over medium heat and sauté onion about 5 minutes or until soft and translucent. Add garlic and cook 30 to 60 seconds. Do not burn the garlic or it will taste bitter.

Step 2

Add ground beef and sausage. Sauté, stirring and breaking up the meat until browned. A little pink is acceptable. The meat will fully cook while simmering the sauce.

Step 3

Add remaining indigents, bring to a boil, reduce heat, simmer 1 to 2 hours stirring occasionally. Adjust seasoning to taste

Step 4

Remove from heat and serve or transfer to a wire rack to cool and then refrigerate.

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