DNX FOOD Recipes Sausage Ragu with Pappardelle Pasta

Sausage Ragu with Pappardelle Pasta

Sausage Ragu with Pappardelle Pasta post thumbnail image

Take your meat sauce to the next level by using sausages to make an incredible Sausage Ragu! Like Shredded Beef Ragu, cooking this sausage pasta sauce long and slow gives it time to develop deep, complex flavours. Complete your Italian feast with Garlic Bread and a garden salad with Italian Dressing.

Sausage ragu pasta sauce with pappardelle in a bowl ready to be eaten

Sausage Ragu Sauce

Butchers put a lot of time and effort into packing flavour and juiciness into sausages. So I almost see it as my duty to show you how we can get so much more out of sausages than throwing on the barbie* or the usual Bangers and Mash!

Enter – Sausage Ragu. This meat sauce gets a massive flavour boost by using sausage meat rather than plain beef mince, as well as cooking it long and slow which gives the sauce time to develop flavour as well as making the meat melt-in-your-mouth tender.

Also, starting with the classic soffritto helps. 🙂 Which might sound fancy but it just refers to sautéing onions, garlic, celery and carrots over low heat to make them beautifully sweet.  It’s a secret tip to create an incredible flavour base in dishes.

* Please do not think I am dissing sausage sandwiches! I am a regular at the weekend Bunnings sausage sizzle fundraisers. 🙂

Sausage ragu pasta sauce in a pot
This Sausage Ragu meat sauce has rich, deep flavours from slow cooking and using sausages for the meat rather than regular mince.

Ingredients in Sausage Ragu

Here’s what you need to make this Sausage Ragu. No fancy ingredients!

The sausages

Sausages for Sausage ragu pasta sauce
  • Beef + pork – I like to use a combination of both pork and beef sausages for the perfect balance of flavour and soft texture. Beef sausages provide the flavour whereas the pork provides the tenderness. Pork is a much softer meat than beef!

    You can use just either beef or pork. If you use only meat, the meat in the sauce will not be as tender. If you use only pork, the meat flavour is more mild. Both are still rippingly delicious! 🙂

  • Sausage quality – Whichever you use, make sure you use good sausages made with more meat and less fillers. Either look at the ingredients list (I aim for 85%+ meat) or look at the sausage – fat specks means better meat, uniform pink colour indicates lots of fillers like the sausages used for fundraiser sausage sizzles (“BBQ sausages”). They can be as low as 55% meat (the rest is flour, maize and non meat things), and often a mix of beef and chicken.

    Generally speaking, your friendly local butcher is probably the best source. And he can tell you exactly what goes in his sausages! 🙂

  • Sausage not in casings – In the US it is common to find sausage meat sold like mince/ground beef, not inside the sausage casings. Lucky you! For the rest of us, just squeeze the meat out. It is not hard.

Other ingredients

Here are the other ingredients for the ragu sauce:

Ingredients in Sausage ragu pasta sauce
  • Onion, garlic, carrot and celery – These are the vegetables for the soffrito which is cooked over low heat to make them soften and sweeten which then forms the flavour base for the sauce. This is a classic cooking technique used in cuisines all over the world, from Italian to Mediterranean to Cajun to South American!

  • Fennel seeds*Secret ingredient!* – Sautéed in the soffrito, it adds a little je ne sais quoi into the sauce. Only those with a very, very refined palette can pick that it’s in there!

  • Wine – Red wine adds depth of flavour to the sauce and is also what we use to deglaze the pot. this refers to the method of using a liquid to dissolve gold bits stuck on the base of a cooking vessel (in this case, the sausage meat) into a sauce. Those “gold bits” is called “fond” and it’s free flavour! This is a standard cooking technique you’ll see I use regularly for sauces and stews.

    Substitute with 0% alcohol wine or more chicken stock.

  • Chicken stock, low sodium – This with canned tomato makes up the bulk of the liquid for the sauce. I use chicken rather than beef stock because it’s a milder flavour so you can taste the meat flavour better. I always used low sodium stock so I don’t have to worry about sauces being too salty.

  • Tomato paste – Just a smidge to boost the tomato flavour and help thicken the sauce.

  • Thyme and bay leaves – The herbs for this pasta sauce. Fresh is best but dried is fine too.

  • Chilli flakes (red pepper flakes) – Optional, for a touch of warmth.

Pappardelle pasta

I like to serve this sausage ragu with pappardelle pasta, the wide thick pasta that is sold coiled up, like pictured. The surface is slightly rough so it’s ideal for tossing with thick hearty sauces like this sausage ragu, shredded beef ragu and chicken ragu which clings to the pasta well.

Having said that though, I’d happily serve sausage ragu with any pasta – short or long!

How to make Sausage Ragu

No different to making your favourite Bolognese – just a little extra time for slow cooking!

How to make Sausage ragu pasta sauce
  1. Soffrito – Cook the onion, garlic, celery and carrot in a large heavy based pot over medium heat for 8 minutes, or until the carrot is soft and sweet. Don’t let the vegetables go golden! This step is key for a really beautiful flavour base for the sauce so don’t rush it.

  2. Cook sausage – Remove the sausage meat from the casings (you literally just squeeze it out) then cook it like you would mince (ground meat). Break it up as you go but don’t get caught up in a frenzy on this step because sausage meat is “stickier” so it won’t crumble as well. We will break it up finer later partway through cooking.

How to make Sausage ragu pasta sauce
  1. Ragu sauce – Next, cook the tomato paste for 1 minute to remove the raw sour flavour. Then reduce the wine by half to cook out the winey flavour which only takes a couple of minutes. And finally, add the remaining ingredients: canned tomato, chicken stock, bay leaves, thyme, salt, pepper and chilli flakes if using (I always do).

  2. Slow cook #1 (1 hour) – Pop the lid on and put it in the oven for 1 hour at 180°C/350°F (160°C). I always feel like this sounds high for a slow cook but actually, this is the oven equivalent temperature of a very small stove burner on low.

    Why oven instead of stove? Just easier because it’s entirely hands off, just stick it in the oven and leave it. No need to worry about the base catching. This sauce is quite thick so if you do use the stove instead, you’ll need to stir quite regularly.

How to make Sausage ragu pasta sauce
  1. Crush meat – Take the pot out of the oven then use a potato masher to crush the meat into finer pieces. (See step 2 notes about how sausage meat doesn’t crumble as well as mince/ground beef). The meat is tender at this point so it doesn’t take much effort. I usually do about 8 to 10 mashing motions around the pot.

  2. Slow cook #2 (45 minutes) – Then return the pot into the oven for a further 45 minutes to finish slow cooking. Once done, the sauce will be quite thick, like pictured above, with quite intense flavour. This is what we want because a) the thickness will be loosened up when tossed with pasta; and b) the sauce gets dispersed through pasta so the flavour gets diluted. So the sauce flavour should be intense in the pot so it’s the right level of flavoursome once tossed through the pasta!

Tossing pasta with sauce – essential step!

  1. Pasta cooking water – Cook the pasta per the packet directions in a large pot of salted water. Just before draining, scoop out a big jug of the pasta cooking water which we will use in the next step. The starch in the water is what helps the sauce cling to the pasta.*

  2. Tossing pasta with sauce – If you are making a full batch, then just add the pasta into the ragu pot set over medium heat on the stove. If you are making a smaller batch as I do in the video (I am making enough for 2 servings) then return the drained pasta into the same pot you cooked the pasta in.

  1. Pasta sauce – Add the pasta sauce into the pasta (obviously this step is not relevant if you put the pasta into the pasta sauce pot!!).

  2. Pasta cooking water – Add 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water. This loosens up the thick pasta sauce so it coats the pasta strands. The reason we use the pasta cooking water is because it has starch in it from the pasta. This starch reacts with the fat in the pasta sauce and makes the sauce thicker so it clings to the pasta strands better, rather than remaining pooled at the bottom of your pasta bowl.

  1. Toss, toss, toss! Then use two spatulas to toss the pasta for 1 minute, or until the pasta sauce is tangled throughout and clinging to the pasta, and the pasta strands are stained red. Use an extra slosh of pasta cooking water if you need to loosen things up.

  2. Warmed bowl – Divide the pasta between bowls. I like to warm the pasta bowls beforehand (30 seconds in the microwave!) to keep the pasta slippery and warm for longer. Cold pasta = dry pasta!

Sausage ragu pasta ready to eat

Serve with a shower of freshly grated parmesan. Then, the picture taker in me couldn’t resist finishing with a pinch of parsley, but it’s totally unnecessary in real life and if you came to my house and I made this for you, said pinch of parsley would not be present.

This is one for the weekend. For lazy Sundays. Serve with garlic bread, rocket or baby spinach salad with balsamic dressing and finish with tiramisu. Reserve a seat for me at your table!! 🙂  – Nagi x

Watch how to make it

Hungry for more? Subscribe to my newsletter and follow along on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram for all of the latest updates.

Sausage ragu pasta ready to eat

Sausage ragu with pappardelle pasta

#wprm-recipe-rating-0 .wprm-rating-star.wprm-rating-star-full svg * { fill: #343434; }#wprm-recipe-rating-0 .wprm-rating-star.wprm-rating-star-33 svg * { fill: url(#wprm-recipe-rating-0-33); }#wprm-recipe-rating-0 .wprm-rating-star.wprm-rating-star-50 svg * { fill: url(#wprm-recipe-rating-0-50); }#wprm-recipe-rating-0 .wprm-rating-star.wprm-rating-star-66 svg * { fill: url(#wprm-recipe-rating-0-66); }linearGradient#wprm-recipe-rating-0-33 stop { stop-color: #343434; }linearGradient#wprm-recipe-rating-0-50 stop { stop-color: #343434; }linearGradient#wprm-recipe-rating-0-66 stop { stop-color: #343434; }

5 from 46 votes
Servings5– 6 people
Tap or hover to scale

Recipe video above. Take your meat sauce to the next level by using sausages instead of plain beef to make an incredible Sausage Ragu! Like Shredded Beef Ragu, cooking this sausage pasta sauce long and slow gives it time to develop deep, complex flavours. Complete your Italian feast with Garlic Bread, a garden salad with Italian Dressing and a beautiful Tiramisu.


Sausage ragu:

  • 2tbspolive oil
  • 1small onion, finely chopped
  • 3garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 1carrot, peeled and grated using a box grater (Note 1)
  • 2celery stalks, grated using a box grater (Note 1)
  • 1tspfennel seeds
  • 350g / 12 ozpork sausages, meat removed from casings (Note 2)
  • 350g / 12 ozbeef sausages, meat removed from casings (Note 2)
  • 2tbsptomato paste
  • 1cuppinot noir red wine(sub 0% alcohol red wine or more chicken stock)
  • 1cupchicken stock/broth, low sodium
  • 400g/14 ozcan crushed tomato
  • 3thyme sprigs(or 1/2 tsp dried)
  • 2bay leaves(fresh better, else dried)
  • 1/2tspcooking salt / kosher salt
  • 1/2tspblack pepper
  • 1/4tspchilli flakes (red pepper flakes), optional (for hint of heat)

To serve:

  • 500g/ 1 lb pappardelle pasta, or other pasta (80g/2.8oz per serving) (Note 3)
  • Parmesan or parmigiano reggiano, finely grated, for serving
  • Parsley, finely chopped, optional garnish (just a pinch)


  • Preheat oven to 180°C (160°C fan-forced).
  • Soffrito – Heat the oil in a large heavy based pot (with a lid) over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, carrot, celery and fennel seeds. Cook for 8 minutes until the carrot is soft and sweet, but not golden.
  • Cook sausage – Turn the heat up to high and add the sausage. Cook, breaking it up as you go, as best you can. It doesn’t crumble as well as mince/ground meat but that’s ok, we will break it up more later.
  • Deglaze – Once the meat is no longer pink (it doesn’t really brown), add the tomato paste. Cook for 1 minute. Add the wine and let it simmer rapidly for 2 minutes until reduced by half, stirring regularly to scrape the base of the pot clean.
  • Slow cook #1 (1 hr) – Add the remaining ragu ingredients. Stir, bring to a simmer, put the lid on and place it in the oven for 1 hour.
  • Slow cook #2 (45 min) – Remove from the oven and use a potato masher to mash the meat finer. Put the lid back on, and return to the oven for 45 minutes. The sauce will be quite thick, it gets loosened when tossed with the pasta.
  • Salt – Taste and add more salt if desired. (Sausages vary in saltiness so I always start with less)


  • Cook pasta – Cook the pappardelle according to the packet instructions. Just before draining, scoop out 1 1/2 cups of the cooking water and set it aside.
  • Toss with sauce – Have the ragu pot on the stove over medium heat. Add the pasta into the pot along with 1/2 cup of the pasta cook water. Use two spatulas to toss the pasta until the ragu is tangled in the pasta strands and it is stained red from the sauce. Use extra pasta cooking water if needed to loosen it up.
  • Serve in pre-warmed bowls, garnish with parmesan and a pinch of parsley if desired. Eat immediately!

Recipe Notes:

Servings – Sauce makes enough for 500g/1 lb pasta which, based on a standard serving of 80g/2.8oz dried pasta per person, is enough for 6 normal people or 5 heartier appetites!1. Grating – Box grater makes the pieces finer so they disappear better into the meat sauce. Try to use short strokes so you don’t end up with long strands.2. Sausages – Using both pork and beef is my favourite combination because beef gives the meat sauce beefy flavour whereas pork meat is so soft, it makes the sauce melt-in-your-mouth in a way you will never achieve just using beef. You can also use just pork or just beef. Still so, so tasty!3. Pasta – Thick wide strands of pappardelle is made for hearty meat sauces like ragu though with a sauce this good, it’s going to be great with any pasta! To make pasta for less than 5 people, use just put some sauce in a separate pan or pot on the stove and toss with the desired amount of pasta. In the video you see me make 2 servings.4. Making ahead – Ragu just gets better overnight! Cool thoroughly then refrigerate. Warm the ragu on a low stove so it’s hot when you add the pasta for tossing. The ragu can be frozen for 3 months or kept in the fridge for 5 days. Once tossed with pasta, it will keep for 3 to 4 days but pastas are always best eaten freshly made!

Nutrition Information:

Calories: 818cal (41%)Carbohydrates: 75g (25%)Protein: 33g (66%)Fat: 40g (62%)Saturated Fat: 12g (75%)Polyunsaturated Fat: 6gMonounsaturated Fat: 18gTrans Fat: 0.3gCholesterol: 154mg (51%)Sodium: 1193mg (52%)Potassium: 1050mg (30%)Fiber: 6g (25%)Sugar: 9g (10%)Vitamin A: 2262IU (45%)Vitamin C: 18mg (22%)Calcium: 106mg (11%)Iron: 5mg (28%)

Originally published in February 2016. Recipe improved in February 2024 with improved sauce flavour and consistency, writing tidied up, much improved video. And most important, Life of Dozer section added!SaveSave

Life of Dozer

And then I published it.SaveSave

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Post