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Easy Beef Ragu and Pasta

Easy Beef Ragu & Pasta – This hearty, yet healthy, ragu is made with lean meat, sliced zucchini and a rustic tomato sauce that comes together in less than 30 minutes.

Cooking during the week is hard for me. There, I said it! Except for this Easy Beef Ragu and Pasta!

After a long day of work, I just want to sit on the couch with a peanut butter sandwich and binge some Netflix. Once we start growing our family, I realize that this life will soon be behind me, but just let me enjoy it while I can, okay???

I may enjoy a lighter dinner, but my husband is all about a hearty meal for dinner. So, as a compromise, we started adding some new EASY weeknight meals to our repertoire through one of meal service companies. And we’ve loved it so far! It has inspired us to try new foods and that easy, delicious weeknight dinners actually do exist.

Today’s recipe was inspired by a recipe we tried on one of those nights. It takes less than 30 minutes to throw together, but you’d never know it! It’s so flavorful, comforting, and has one of my favorite food groups – pasta! I’ll get off the couch for some Easy Beef Ragu and pasta, that’s for sure.

Check out my Easy Beef Ragu & Pasta!

How to Thicken Beef Ragu

You may have made beef ragu in the past and ended up disappointed that it turned out a little more watery or thin than what you find in your favorite local restaurant.

So what’s the secret for how to thicken beef ragu?

Well, it’s not what you see all over the internet.

In fact, it’s much easier.

To thicken beef ragu, just turn your pot down to a simmer after it has begun to bubble and allow it to continue to simmer for 30 minutes with the lid off so it can  release the steam.

That’s literally it. Just simmer and it will reduce and thicken completely on it’s own.

Cornstarch in Spaghetti Sauce

We’ve seen a lot of spaghetti sauce and stew recipes recommending a slurry of cornstarch and water to thicken the sauce or stew, but we quite honestly disagree.

Cornstarch may not have a bold flavor, but it does have one and on top of that, it most certainly adds a bit of texture to a sauce from that gummy paste. Any red sauce should be simmered to thicken and never have a flour roux or cornstarch slurry to thicken it.

To make this beef ragu, it is so incredibly simple. Let’s break it down:

  1. Brown meat
  2. Cook veggies
  3. Add tomatoes
  4. Simmer to build flavor

See?! Anyone can make this dish!

What Pasta to Eat with Beef Ragu

I love to pair this dish with some thick pappardelle pasta because it holds on to hearty sauces really well. If you can’t find this pasta, you can use fettuccine, as well.

Before you get going on this recipe, here are a few more tips to consider:

Tips for Making Beef Ragu

  1. Make sure you cut the zucchini into even sizes so that they all cook evenly. You don’t want to bite into the ragu and have one mushy piece of zucchini, while another is still raw.
  2. In the recipe, we make the pasta first so you can use the leftover pasta water in the sauce. So don’t forget to make the pasta first!
  3. If you have the time, cook the ragu for longer to help the flavors develop more. But don’t worry if you have to make this a quick recipe – it will still taste incredible!

Alrighty, there you have it – a hearty, easy weeknight dinner idea that the whole family will love! Make sure to check out some more incredible dinner ideas after the recipe!!

To see all of our family dinner recipes, head here! These are a few of our favorites…

Other Italian Sauce Recipes

Looking for more Italian Sauce recipes? Who doesn’t love Italian sauces!?  Make sure you try these out the next time you are making that Italian dish: 

Here are a few more yummy saucy pasta dishes that our family loves: 

Easy Beef Ragu and Pasta

Raised in the Kitchen - Carrian Cheney

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A bowl of easy beef ragu and pasta with grated parmesan cheese as garnish

Easy Beef Ragu & Pasta

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Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
This hearty, yet healthy, ragu is made with lean meat, sliced zucchini and a rustic tomato sauce that comes together in less than 30 minutes.  


  • 1 large zucchini
  • 1 medium yellow onion diced
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 20 ounces ground beef
  • 12 ounces pappardelle or fettuccine pasta
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 2 14.5 ounce-cans diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper for seasoning


  • Bring a large pot of water to boil. Salt the water.
  • Quarter the zucchini and slice into 1/2-inch pieces. Set aside
  • Heat olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat and add ground beef, breaking it up into pieces as it cooks. Cook meat until it's mostly cooked through but not all the way. Remove from heat and drain beef. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Add pasta to boiling water and cook until al dente. Remove pasta with tongs and place into large bowl. Reserve pasta water for the ragu.
  • Add saute pan with ground beef back to medium heat. Add zucchini and diced onion and stir together with meat. Cook for 5 minutes so that veggies can get tender. Add minced garlic and Italian seasoning and stir into beef mixture. Let it cook for 30 seconds.
  • Add cans of tomatoes to beef mixture and stir together, plus 1 cup of pasta water. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Add ragu to pasta in large bowl and toss to combine. Divide among 4 plates and serve!


Store left overs in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
Nutrition Facts
Easy Beef Ragu & Pasta
Amount Per Serving (1 g)
Calories 851 Calories from Fat 297
% Daily Value*
Fat 33g51%
Saturated Fat 12g75%
Trans Fat 1g
Polyunsaturated Fat 16g
Cholesterol 200mg67%
Sodium 579mg25%
Carbohydrates 78g26%
Fiber 4g17%
Sugar 5g6%
Protein 57g114%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

A bowl filled with zucchini, lean meat, tomato sauce and noodles which makes an Easy Beef Ragu and Pasta recipe for dinner.

More dinner ideas you’ll love:

Taco Spaghetti

A fun, new way to enjoy Taco Tuesday! Taco spaghetti is an easy weeknight meal that is perfect for the whole family!

One Pot Lasagna Pasta 

It’s all in one pot and it’s comfort food to the max! Our kids go crazy for this quick and easy one pot lasagna pasta with a side of garlic bread for dipping!

One pot lasagna pasta ohsweetbasil.com

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Healthy Habits That Help Me!

About the authors

carrian feik cheney oh sweet basil

Cade and Carrian have three children and love to spend time together whether it’s vacationing or snuggled up on the couch for a good movie.

And this family especially loves to eat.

They love everything from the keep you fit and healthy to the get out your sweat pants indulgent and everything in between.

But most of all, they love the memories made, shared and treasured and it’s all thanks to a meal shared together with loved ones.

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Recipe Rating


  • Looks so good! 😋
    I like the way you break down the lagu beef into step by step! Make it easier!

    • Reply
    • Thank you so much!

      • Reply

Healthy Habits That Help Me!