Parmesan Pasta with Beef Ragu

Parmesan Pasta with Beef Ragu

This hearty dish has goodness of ragu with beef, Italian sausage and veggies and pasta, to make for an appetizing and filling dinner.

Prep Time



Total Time






tablespoons olive oil
medium carrots, finely chopped (1 cup)
medium onion, finely chopped (1 cup)
cloves garlic, finely chopped
lb bulk Italian sausage or links (remove from casing)
lb ground chuck or lean (at least 80%) ground beef
cup dry red wine or beef broth
can (14 oz) beef broth
can (14 oz) chicken broth
cup half-and-half
can (28 oz) crushed tomatoes, undrained
teaspoon ground fennel seed
tablespoon salt, if desired
lb uncooked penne pasta
tablespoons olive oil
cup grated Parmesan cheese
  1. In 3-quart saucepan, heat 3 tablespoons oil over medium heat until fragrant. Add carrots and onion. Cook 7 minutes, stirring constantly, until vegetables soften but do not brown. Add garlic and cook about 30 seconds or until fragrant.
  2. Crumble sausage and beef into saucepan. Cook 8 to 10 minutes, breaking up and stirring occasionally, until meat is brown. Drain fat.
  3. Increase heat to high. Add wine to meat mixture and stir and scrape bottom of pan as wine boils. Allow wine to evaporate, about 7 minutes or until pan bottom is dry. Add beef broth and chicken broth and return to boiling. Allow mixture to evaporate just as wine did, stirring occasionally, about 25 minutes.
  4. Add half-and-half to nearly dry pan. Cook 10 minutes, stirring constantly, until there is only a glaze left on bottom of pan (be careful—half-and-half can scorch, so stir well).
  5. Add tomatoes and fennel and heat mixture to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook about 20 minutes or until flavors are blended.
  6. Meanwhile, fill large pot with 5 quarts water; heat to boiling over high heat. When water is boiling, add salt if desired. When water returns to boil, add pasta. Stir immediately to make sure it doesn’t stick to itself or pan. Boil pasta 9 to 10 minutes or until cooked through but still slightly firm. Drain in colander. There is no need to shake off excess moisture.
  7. In 12-inch skillet, heat 2 tablespoons oil over medium heat until hot. Add pasta (be careful—leftover water can make oil spatter). Cook 4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until edges of pasta turn slightly brown. Divide pasta evenly among 6 warmed pasta bowls. Sprinkle each with 2 tablespoons cheese. Top each with about 1 cup sauce.
Makes 6 servings (2 cups each)
Make the Most of This Recipe With Tips From The Betty Crocker® Kitchens
Why it Works: Got Milk? This ragu calls for the unusual step of adding half-and-half to the ground meat mixture. Cooking meat with dairy products (milk is common) is a very old technique used throughout the Middle East and medieval Europe. Cooking meat in milk does two things: First, because the meat is cooking in a liquid, and not oil, the temperature of the meat cannot rise above that of boiling milk (somewhere around 212º F). This means the meat will be moist but not brown. A second benefit is flavor. As milk heats, its flavors are radically changed (compare the flavor of evaporated milk with fresh milk). These new flavors enhance meat’s flavor, making it even more rich and complex.

Nutrition Information:

1 Serving (1 Serving)
  • Calories 690
    • (Calories from Fat 280),
  • Total Fat 31g
    • (Saturated Fat 10g,
    • Trans Fat 1/2g),
  • Cholesterol 60mg;
  • Sodium 1290mg;
  • Total Carbohydrate 71g
    • (Dietary Fiber 7g,
    • Sugars 7g),
  • Protein 32g;
Percent Daily Value*:
    • 4 Starch;
    • 0 Fruit;
    • 1/2 Other Carbohydrate;
    • 0 Skim Milk;
    • 0 Low-Fat Milk;
    • 0 Milk;
    • 1 Vegetable;
    • 0 Very Lean Meat;
    • 0 Lean Meat;
    • 2 1/2 High-Fat Meat;
    • 1 1/2 Fat;
    Carbohydrate Choices:
    • 5;
    *Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.