Weeknight Mushroom and Beef Ragout tastes like it has been simmering all day, yet takes less than 30 minutes to make. Serve over pasta, spaghetti squash, zoodles, or polenta for a simple, hearty dinner in minutes.
There are few meals more satisfying to my family than pasta with a hearty sauce. If I ask what Andrew and Elle want for dinner, the answer is probably pasta. Usually I'm happy to oblige since I can add plenty of veggies to the sauce, and since I can get dinner on the table in under 30 minutes.
I probably make a version of this sauce at least one a week, using different veggies depending on the season. Zucchini is my summer go-to (here's my Zucchini and Beef Ragout variation), and mushrooms are my fall and winter vegetable of choice.
I've had success introducing Elle to mushrooms simply by chopping them very, very finely and cooking them down with the onions and beef in the sauce. The purpose of the strategy hasn't been to trick her into eating veggies, rather it's been to make the texture appealing enough that she enjoys the process, or at least doesn't think much about it.
I like to serve this sauce over whole wheat or gluten-free pasta for Elle, over spaghetti squash for me, and over a combo of the two for Andrew. I usually roast a spaghetti squash over the weekend so I have it on hand during the week to use as a pasta alternative.
To roast a spaghetti squash, slice off the stem end, then cut in half lengthwise. Scoop out and discard the seeds, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place the squash halves cut-side down in a roasting pan, cover the pan with foil, and roast for an hour at 350 degrees. The squash is done when the flesh shreds easily with a fork. Store in the fridge, tightly covered, for up to 5 days.
This sauce is very versatile, so if you prefer not to use red meat, dark meat ground turkey makes a great substitute. And, if you prefer a vegetarian version, simply double the mushrooms and omit the beef.
1 | Chop the onion and mushrooms very, very finely so the texture is less noticeable when cooked with the beef.
2 | Alternatively, use a food processor to chop the onions and mushrooms into very fine pieces. This method is a good choice for children who have a difficult time with the texture of vegetables, since they cook down nicely into the sauce.
THIS RECIPE IS . . .
Naturally Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Nut-Free, Refined Sugar-Free, Paleo and Whole30 Friendly
Weeknight Mushroom and Beef Ragout
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, very finely chopped
8-oz crimini mushrooms, very finely chopped
1 teaspoon salt, divided
2 cloves garlic, minced or grated
1 pound lean ground beef, grass-fed if possible
½ teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 28-oz can crushed tomatoes
1 6-oz can tomato paste
Cooked pasta, spaghetti squash, zoodles, or polenta for serving
1. Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a large pot or Dutch oven. Add the onion, mushroom, and ¼ teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onions and mushrooms are softened and most of the liquid has evaporated, about 5 minutes.
2. Add the garlic, beef, ¼ teaspoon salt, and the Italian seasoning. Turn the heat to medium and cook, stirring frequently, until the beef is browned and cooked through, about 5 minutes.
3. Add the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, and ½ teaspoon salt, stirring to combine. Bring to a bubble, then reduce heat to low. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes.
4. Serve over pasta, spaghetti squash, zoodles, or polenta.
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