Friday, June 18, 2010

Another sausage shortcut: Italian Sausage Ragu

Warning, warning! Shortcuts ahead!

"Pork or beef sausages, removed from their casings, make an ideal base for bolognese or ragu-style pasta sauces."

I've found that when I use just plain mince, there isn't much flavour in the dish, and a lot of water and/or oil always leaks out.  So I prefer sausage meat as an alternative.  There may be additives in the sausages, obviously, but for me, the flavour outweighs this - just try and get your snags from a trustworthy butcher or organic source.

This Italian Sausage Ragu is a rich and tasty accompaniment to pasta: the dash of rosemary and glug of red wine also helps!

Italian Sausage Ragu
serves 4

1 tbs olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
6 Italian-style pork sausages (about 500g), casings removed
1 tblsp rosemary leaves, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup (250ml) red wine
1 tblsp tomato paste
400g can chopped tomatoes
400g short pasta, such as fusilli or penne
Parmesan cheese, to serve

1.  Heat olive oil in a large pan over medium heat.  Cook the onion, stirring, for 2-3 minutes until softened.
2.  Add the sausage meat, rosemary and garlic, breaking up the sausage. Cook for 3-4 minutes, until the meat is browned.
3.  Add the wine to the pan and let it bubble for 2-3 minutes, until reduced slightly.
4.  Stir in the tomato paste, then add the tomatoes.  Season with salt and pepper, stir, then increase heat and bring to the boil.
5.  Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes, until the mixture is reduced.
6.  Meanwhile, cook the pasta.
7.  Serve the ragu with the drained pasta, with parmesan cheese.

Recipe adapted from delicious (May 2010)

(anti-clockwise): Some of the ingredients; browning the sausage meat; reducing the sauce; served with parmesan and pasta

This saucy ragu has become a dinner favourite - it is also good when served with pearl (Israeli) couscous, as well as pasta.


  1. This is how I cook a quick dinner too. Don't u just love sausage for its versality? :)

  2. the boy loves sausage meat instead of mince in pasta too! super tasty!

  3. Such a fantastic technique, I did mine last week with pork and fennel sausages and a creamy bacon and mushroom sauce, SO much better than plain mince!

  4. ooh, I like the sound of shortcuts and saucy ragu! I could think of many ways to use this- thanks!

    warning- the other ways I'd use this you may not approve of...i.e. Burritos or sandwiches. Help!

  5. Delicious! I totally agree, the flavour in a snag outweighs that of plain mince, ignoring the additives. But I'm one to easily turn a blind eye to additives.

  6. I totally agree with the sausage mince substitute. You and I have very similar taste in food. I am bookmarking this recipe. Yummo!

  7. Shortcuts work for me. Especially weekdays

  8. Glug of red wine? Sounds outstanding, Bel. I love a hearty meat sauces like this, but don't tell anyone (smile). Pretty photos by the way!

  9. I cook my ragu with sausages all the time. quick and easy!

  10. Oohh good idea! I should give sausage meat a go instead of mince. Me likey shortcuts :)

  11. yes italian food is full of marvels like this !! bravissimo Pierre from Paris

  12. Shortcuts are always a winner Belle! We don't always slave away in the kitchen all day now do we? ;)

  13. Who doesn't love a shortcut that DOESN"T look nor taste like one?! Thanks Bel - I will try this for sure.

  14. Shortcuts are most welcome if it means saving on time and increasing on flavour and/or results!