Monday, July 25, 2016

Easy tomato and sausage ragu

Why settle for jarred pasta sauce when you can make this easy tomato and sausage ragu with mushrooms and fresh herbs instead? 

easy recipe for tomato and sausage with mushrooms and herbs

Can you believe I was nearly 30 years old before I discovered the awesome glory of sausage?

[Seriously -- if you a regular reader of the Ninj, pick yourself up off the floor, as you know I tend to add sausage or bacon to nearly everything. Are you new? Go ahead, search on "sausage" or "bacon" in the search box. I'll wait ... get it now?]

Growing up, sausage to me meant an oily, hot sausage-and-pepper grinder (hero, hoagie, sub, whatever) -- and those just grossed me out (they still do). Therefore, in my mind I didn't like sausage. Period.

While Mr. Ninj and I were dating, he would occasionally cook for me (ah, those were the days!), and once he made some pasta dish that involve browning sausage as the first step.

This is so pathetic to admit now, but I watched in utter amazement as he CUT THE CASING OFF and added just the ground meat to the pan to brown. Whhhhaaaaattt???? Crumbled sausage? Sausage that isn't in a log shape or drowning in soggy pepper juice? Pure genius!

It's been fast ride straight down the pork hill from that day. All the way to this easy, way-better-than-jarred tomato and sausage ragu.

Fresh tomatoes complement this easy sausage ragu

Last week I found myself with a small bunch of yellow, gold and purple cherry tomatoes and a package of hot Italian sausage I picked up at my local farmers market, so I decided to make a ragu.

While this amy seem like more of a fall or winter dish, the fresh tomatoes and herbs make it ideal for summer. Since we eat a lot of cold, veggie-heavy dinners and salads during the summer, it's nice on occasion to sample those comfort-food dishes of fall just a bit early.

Plus, I'm going to freeze a lot of these little tomatoes while they are still plentiful, which will allow me to recreate this tomato and sausage ragu even in the dead of winter. FTW.

Do you generally prefer a meat or meatless sauce on your pasta? Leave a comment: The Ninj wants to know.

(Updated: July 2016)

easy recipe for tomato and sausage with mushrooms and herbs

Easy Tomato and Sausage Ragu

Makes enough sauce for about 1 and 1/2 pounds of pasta

1 lb Italian sausage (sweet or hot, but I used hot)
8 oz sliced mushrooms
1 sweet onion, chopped
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
1/2 cup chopped fresh oregano
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
1/2 cup white wine
1 28-oz can crushed tomatoes in puree
2-3 cups diced fresh tomatoes (any kind)
salt and pepper
pinch of crushed red pepper

Heat some olive oil in large pot; add onion and cook until just browned, about 5 minutes. Add the sausage and mushrooms and cook until sausage is nearly done (about another 5-8 minutes). Stir in chopped basil, oregano, and garlic; cook for 1 minute. Add wine; cook for another 3-4 minutes. Add crushed tomatoes; cover and simmer over medium heat until thickened, about 15 minutes. Add diced tomatoes continue to simmer, stirring frequently, about another 15 minutes. Season with salt and peppers.

Serve over hot pasta.
-- print recipe --


  1. Sounds good Jules! BTW, I am a cheese snob and hope that your parmesan cheese is freshly grated and not in that horrible green can....:)

  2. Don't worry -- no green cans here, Susan!

  3. Susan, I have a kid who loves the grrrrrrreen can. :-)

    But if I gave him the good stuff I'd be broke in a week, he eats tons of it. On everything. Half the time it's the only way he'll eat anything, if it's so covered in cheese that he can no longer taste the actual food.

  4. Achmed...I am the same pasta looks like snow on it. A wise person said, no matter how much you are pinching pennies, you must make sure you always have money for the real stuff! ;)

  5. Just so you know, Susan -- Achmed is sister J. :-) Achmed, maybe you should try putting real cheese in the green shaker can!!!

  6. I've never actually *tried* to give the kid the real stuff--he'll accept it at a restaurant, though, so I'm sure he'd eat it. Heck, he might use less of it, since he has such senstitive taste buds. I'll give it a try!

    Sorry about not outing myself, Susan--I forgot not everyone knows that I'm Achmed. :-)