Ground Beef Ragout Recipe

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This easy one-pot Ground Beef Ragout comes together in just over an hour for a fast weeknight dinner the whole family will love. Pure comfort food, a tomato sauce that is packed with vegetables like carrots, celery, and onion, this easy twist on classic ragout uses ground beef and bacon in place of braised meat, shortening the cooking process and helping make this meal more economical and simple for busy families. 

This beef ragout sauce recipe has been on my website for a long time. I adapted it from an old Heinz recipe years ago. When I first posted it, the research I found said that Ragout, pronounced the same as Ragu, is a French term for a slow-cooked meat stew, often bulked up with veggies or beans.  Ragouts are made by braising larger cuts of meat into tender pieces.

Whereas a Ragu is more of a sauce, is Italian, and is usually tomato-based. Well, years later, most of the Ragout recipes that I have found are tomato-based based too. A traditional classic Ragout was made by braising meat like a pot roast and using that for the meat sauce. This meat-based sauce is a hearty sauce that uses ground beef instead.

While traditional ragouts require long cooking times, this quick version uses lean ground beef as a shortcut for an easy, family-friendly meal.

So, at this point, I am just going to say, whether you call this a ground beef ragout recipe or an easy ground beef ragu, just don’t call me late for dinner! (wink)

If you like this recipe, be sure to take a peek at these yummy pasta dishes: Skillet Lasagna, Instant Pot Fettucine Alfredo, and this Easy Pizza Pasta recipe!
 


Simple Weeknight Ground Beef Ragout

Browning ground beef builds deep flavor, while diced tomatoes, carrots, celery, and classic Italian seasonings simmer into a hearty meat sauce. Served over pasta and finished with Parmesan, this ragout delivers comfort without spending all day in the kitchen.

 

Easy Ragout Ingredients

For complete ingredients and instructions scroll to the bottom of this post for the full printable recipe card.

  • ground beef – try to choose lean good quality ground beef. Sub ground turkey, ground chicken, or ground pork if you like. 
  • bacon pieces – fry your bacon or purchase the real bacon pieces at the store. 
  • onion – I like yellow
  • garlic cloves – fresh minced garlic or jarred both works just fine.
  • carrots – cut however you like.
  • celery – chopped
  • diced tomatoes – pick up diced tomatoes in juice for the most flavor. Canned tomatoes have a rich, concentrated taste compared to fresh.
  • tomato paste
  • beef broth – You could sub vegetable stock if you prefer.
  • Italian seasoning – store-bought or homemade both work great!
  • Parmesan cheesegrating your own is always the best choice, for flavor and economically.
  • pasta – I like rigatoni or pappardelle pasta, but any type of pasta you have on hand will work, use your favorite pasta.

How to Make Ground Beef Ragout

With a little prep, this meal is simmering on your stovetop, making everyone ready for dinner time!

In a large Dutch oven over medium heat, cook the ground beef, bacon, onion, carrots, and celery until the beef is browned and the vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes.

Stir in the diced tomatoes, tomato paste, beef broth, Italian seasoning, and any other seasonings.

Bring to a simmer then reduce heat to medium-low. Let the ragout simmer for 60-90 minutes until thickened and flavors blend.

Cook pasta according to package directions. Toss with ragout and top with Parmesan before serving.

Note: The key to deep flavor is browning the beef and letting the sauce simmer until thickened. The meat softens and releases juices into the sauce as it cooks down. Add splashes of pasta water if the ragout evaporates too quickly.

Store any leftovers in an airtight container for up to 5 days in the refrigerator, or frozen for up to 3 months for even quicker meals down the road.

Love it? Pin It!

Don’t forget where you found this delicious recipe – pin it to your favorite Pinterest recipe board before you go!

 

Ragout Tips & Substitutions

  • Use 90% lean ground beef for the best texture.
  • Stir in a splash of red wine for extra depth of flavor. 
  • Swap diced tomatoes for crushed ones for a smoother sauce.
  • Garnish with chopped parsley or basil for an added fresh herb element.
  • Skip the pasta and serve over polenta or couscous.
  • Make this a slow cooker recipe by adding the browned meat along with the other ingredients to a slow cooker and cook on low for 6 hours before serving over pasta.

Serving Suggestions

Serve ragout over hot pasta like rigatoni or ziti. Add Parmesan cheese and red pepper flakes for topping. For a complete Italian-style family meal, add a leafy green side salad and crusty garlic bread

FAQs

  • What’s the difference between ragout and ragu? Ragu uses ground meat while ragout typically uses larger cuts braised into tender pieces.
  • What meat works best? Ground beef is ideal for an easy weeknight ragout. For a heartier ragout, use a combo of ground beef and stew meat.
  • What pasta shape goes best with ragout? Tube-shaped pasta like rigatoni or penne holds the chunky sauce nicely. Pappardelle is also a great match.
  • How long does it take to make ragout? Browning the beef and simmering the sauce takes about 90 minutes from start to finish when using ground beef.
  • How do you pronounce Ragout? Ragout is pronounced the same as Ragu. 

Close up of Tortellini soup with sausage in a white bowl.

More Delicious Meal Recipes: 

This easy one-pot wonder is perfect for busy families and a great way to get those extra veggies into a pasta sauce the whole family will devour! Next time you are in the mood for a hearty pasta sauce over noodles, give this a try!

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Yield: 8 servings

Easy Ground Beef Ragout

Overhead of Meat ragout in a white bowl

This easy one-pot Ground Beef Ragout comes together in just over an hour for a fast weeknight dinner the whole family will love. Pure comfort food, a tomato sauce that is packed with vegetables like carrots, celery, and onion, this easy twist on classic ragout uses ground beef and bacon in place of braised meat, shortening the cooking process and helping make this meal more economical and simple for busy families. 

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds lean ground beef
  • 1 (3 ounce) jar of Real Bacon Pieces
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup Italian dressing
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 cups carrot coins, or carrot slices roughly chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 (14.5 ounce) cans diced tomatoes, Garlic and Olive Oil flavored
  • 2 beef bouillon cube dissolved in 2 cups warm water
  • 1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
  • 1 (16 oz) package Rigatoni pasta, cooked and drained (for serving)
  • Freshly Grated Parmesan cheese (for serving)

Instructions

  1. In a dutch oven over medium heat, cook the ground beef, veggies, and bacon until the beef is cooked and the veggies are tender.
  2. Stir in the rest of the ingredients (except pasta) and simmer on medium-low heat for about 1 1/4 hours until thickened.
  3. Serve over pasta.

Notes

The key to deep flavor is browning the beef and letting the sauce simmer until thickened. The meat softens and releases juices into the sauce as it cooks down. Add splashes of pasta water if the ragout evaporates too quickly.

Store any leftovers in an airtight container for up to 5 days in the refrigerator, or frozen for up to 3 months for even quicker meals down the road.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

8

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 387Total Fat: 18gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 103mgSodium: 512mgCarbohydrates: 18gFiber: 3gSugar: 4gProtein: 36g

Nutrition isn't always accurate.

This recipe was originally posted on September 12, 2014. It has been updated to improve user experience and re-shared on January 4, 2024. 

meat ragout

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10 Comments

  1. This was incredibly easy to make, the hardest part was waiting for it to simmer! It’s super hearty and tasted amazing.

  2. What a great idea for using up some ground beef. The meat ragout looks delicious, will be perfect served with pasta and Parmesan.

  3. It was bursting with flavor and the meat was tender and juicy. The combination of herbs and spices made it incredibly delicious. I can’t wait to make it again!

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