Seven Cloves Ragù

One cold winter night, we had some ground beef that needed to be eaten hanging out in the refrigerator. I wanted something rich, so what better use than pasta? We had some fire roasted tomatoes, some herbs, and simmered with the beef (and lots of garlic), deliciousness was born.

You want to try this. A thick, hearty ragù with just enough noodles to hold the sauce on your fork. Using seasonal ingredients, it’s always fresh and almost never the same twice. It’s absolutely delicious, and Bryan requests it at least every other week. He’s even been known to sneak downstairs at 3 am to eat the leftovers. We almost always have the basic ingredients on hand, just in case.

This has become my go-to pasta recipe when I want a lot of food for not a lot of work. It’s delicious, relatively healthy, and can feed us for a couple of days. All positive attributes in my book!


2 T olive oil
1/2 parsnip, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
7 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb ground beef
1/4 c fresh celery leaves, chopped
2 med tomatoes, roughly chopped or 1 can diced tomatoes
1/2 c red wine
1/2 c beef stock
1/2 t celery salt
1 t dried thyme leaves
1 T dried oregano
1 T dried parsley
salt to taste (I usually end up adding about 1 T throughout the cooking process)
pasta noodles of your liking

First, you want to prepare your soffritto. A soffritto is simply the Italian equivalent of a mirepoix, meaning it’s diced aromatics, sauteed until tender. Traditionally, it uses onion, carrots, and celery, but it isn’t a hard and fast rule. I prefer garlic over onions, and parsnips pack a bigger punch, nutrition and flavor-wise, than carrots, but the idea is the same.

To make your soffritto, heat your olive oil over medium low heat, then add garlic, parsnip, and celery. Sautee until tender and fragrant, about five minutes.

Excuse the bad lighting--the window sheds light unevenly

Add the ground beef to the pan and brown. Once the beef is browned, add the rest of the ingredients, except the noodles, and simmer until the liquid evaporates, 1-2 hours. Stir occasionally, making sure to break down the tomatoes with your spoon.

Simma' down!

When the liquid has almost evaporated, prepare the noodles of your choice. I used spaghetti this time, but I’ve used bowtie noodles with great success as well.

Once the noodles are done, drain, and toss with the sauce. Serve as-is or garnish with freshly grated parmesan cheese and some fresh chopped parsley.

Let me know what changes you made to make it even better!

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