This delicious recipe for ragù is adapted from How To Cook Everything by Mark Bittman. It is best served over a hearty pasta, or as the filling for lasagna. This ragù also freezes very well, so you can make it ahead of time to make lasagna a snap during the week. Make sure your ground beef is fully defrosted before you start...it's super-annoying trying to brown a lump of frozen beef!
Serves: 5-6, or enough sauce for two 9 x 13 pans of lasagna (roughly 12 cups of ragù)
1/2 white onion, diced
2-3 cloves garlic, to taste, pressed
10-12 small cremini mushrooms, sliced
1 lb. grass-fed ground beef (85% lean)
2 boxes Pomi tomatoes, finely chopped
1/4 cup sliced kalamata olives (check for pit fragments)
1/2 tsp. dried fennel
1/2 tsp. dried oregano (or about 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh), to taste
1/2 tsp. dried basil (or 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh), to taste
In a 6-quart Dutch oven, sauté onions, garlic, and mushrooms in olive oil over medium heat until soft, about 8-10 minutes. Add ground beef and salt and cook until browned, about another 8-10 minutes. At this point, start the water boiling for the pasta (with a little salt added). Then add the tomatoes, olives, and herbs to the meat mixture, and stir well. Bring to a near-boil, then reduce heat so the sauce is simmering (bubbling gently) and cover with lid. Let cook for up to an hour, or as long as it takes for the pasta to finish up. Stir occasionally to make sure the sauce isn't burning to the bottom.
Cook whatever kind of noodles you choose according to the package directions, and drain. Serve the ragù over noodles and top with parmesan and fresh basil.