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Recipe: Weeknight Ragù

Many ragus require hours of simmering. Not this one.

By Bon Appetit US | June 30, 2022 | Recipes

Here we take the express lane, opting for ground meat, which gives you a head start on tenderness, and combining it with flavour-packed ingredients like double-concentrated tomato paste and heavy cream. Together they make for a sauce that’s just as satisfying as one that’s cooked all day. You can use pretty much any ground meat in this speedy meat sauce, but this is not the time to seek out extra-lean cuts. If you’re buying chicken or turkey, try to find ground dark meat, which is less prone to drying out.


  • 4 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 450g ground pork, turkey, beef, or chicken
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 2 Calabrian chilis in oil, finely chopped, or 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 60ml double-concentrated tomato paste
  • 60ml heavy cream
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 340g gemelli or other short pasta
  • 30g Parmesan, finely grated, plus more for serving
  • Basil leaves (for serving)


  1. Heat 2 Tbsp oil in a medium Dutch oven or large skillet over medium-high. Add pork in 8–10 pieces, spacing evenly, and season with salt. Let cook, undisturbed, until deeply browned underneath, about 3 minutes. Turn over and cook until deeply browned on the opposite side, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a plate (it won’t be cooked through and that’s okay).
  2. Reduce heat to medium and add remaining 2 Tbsp oil to pot. Cook onion, stirring often, until softened and just beginning to turn golden around the edges, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring often, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add chilis and tomato paste and cook, stirring often, until paste is slightly darkened in colour, about 3 minutes. Return pork to pot and break up into small pieces. Add cream and 350ml water. Bring to a simmer, then reduce heat, and simmer gently until liquid is reduced by one third and flavours have come together, 15–20 minutes. Season ragù with salt and pepper.
  3. Meanwhile, cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until al dente. Drain, reserving 1 cup pasta cooking liquid.
  4. Add pasta to ragù along with ½ cup pasta cooking liquid and Parmesan. Cook, stirring and adding more pasta cooking liquid if needed, until sauce coats pasta, about 2 minutes.
  5. Divide pasta among shallow bowls and top with basil and more Parmesan.

Recipe by Chris Morocco | Food styling by Rebecca Jurkevich