It happens to everyone who gets their meat several hundred pounds at a time: things get freezer burnt. And while it may not look appetizing, those unfortunate packs of meat are still very much edible and can still be delicious if you know how to deal with them.
This pasta sauce cooks for a good, long time over low heat with lots of aromatics. You can use sausage or ground, stew meat, cubed up steak or roasts – or a combination of all of them.
This sauce can be made ahead and served later in the week, just make sure to take the time to add your cooked pasta to the sauce and let it simmer together for a minute or two before you serve it. That extra step really adds something special to the final product.
Simple Meat Ragu
2 tbsp butter
2 ribs celery, finely chopped
1 carrot (or two small carrots), finely chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tbsp ground oregano
2½ pounds meat (sausage, ground, stew meat, cubed steak or roasts)
One 28 ounce can of whole peeled tomatoes
Salt and pepper, to taste
Grated parmesan cheese, to garnish
Cooked spaghetti, to serve
1. In a large saucepan over medium high heat melt the butter, then add celery, carrot, onion, garlic and oregano and cook until soft, about 7 minutes. Add all the meat (remove casings from sausages if using) and cook until the meat begins to brown stirring often, about 10 minutes. Add tomatoes using your fingers to crush big pieces as you add them. Bring to a simmer, then cover and cook over medium low heat until meat is tender. This can take 30 minutes or two hours, depending on the animal and cut you’re using.
2. Once meat is tender remove the lid and let the sauce thicken and reduce for 20 minutes over low heat. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
3. Once you’ve boiled your pasta add it to the sauce and let it come to a simmer together before you serve it, the pasta with take on some of the sauce’s flavour and the starch that clings to the outside of the pasta with help to thicken the sauce. Serve topped with grated parmesan cheese.