Speedy Sausage Ragù With Crispy Garlic

February  1, 2022
5 Ratings
Photo by Melina Hammer
  • Prep time 15 minutes
  • Cook time 1 hour
  • Serves 2 to 4
Author Notes

When you want a great dish but you’re short on time, make this outrageously savory sausage ragù. Ragù is an Italian, meat-based sauce typically served over pasta. Arguably the best-known version is Bolognese sauce, from Bologna in the Emilia-Romagna region, enriched with milk and/or cream. Ragù from northern Italy often incorporates minced or ground meat, and is generally a hearty but uniform sauce. In contrast, ragù from southern Italy—say, Neapolitan-style ragù—is known for using whole cuts of meat and more tomatoes, as well as regional sausages. Wherever it’s made, ragù is traditionally a long-and-low affair, taking the greater portion of a day or sometimes even longer to develop its signature flavor. Depending on the recipe, Italian soffritto—onions, carrots, and celery cooked down in olive oil—meat, broth, wine, and sometimes cream or milk bubble away to make a tender, rich sauce. Tagliatelle or wider pappardelle is the pasta of choice for many ragùs. But for chunkier versions, rigatoni, paccheri, or other ribbed, tubular shapes are equally great for catching the sauce.

In this untraditional weeknight version, I wanted a dynamic flavor—but made in a fraction of the time it would normally require. Cured chorizo, anchovies, and red wine fortify the flavor and deliver delicious results. I love a chunky sauce, so I cut sausage into coins and broke up whole canned tomatoes for a rustic texture. The finished sauce is jam-packed with umami, then finished with crispy garlic chips to take it even further. It’s pure comfort, perfect for a satisfying meal after a long day. —Melina Hammer

What You'll Need
  • Ragù
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 3 oil-packed anchovy fillets
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely grated (preferably on a Microplane)
  • 14 ounces pork sausage (such as sweet Italian), sliced into coins
  • 2 1/2 ounces Spanish cured chorizo, casing removed, quartered lengthwise, then thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup dry red wine
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes
  • 1 small sprigs rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon to 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes, to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika (any kind works)
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • 10 ounces rigatoni or paccheri
  • Garlic Chips
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, very thinly sliced (ideally on a mandoline)
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  1. Set a large enameled pan or Dutch oven over medium heat. Once the pan is hot, add the oil and sauté the onion for 7 to 9 minutes, stirring occasionally, until translucent and golden.
  2. Stir in the anchovies, breaking them up with your spoon. Stir in the garlic. Sauté for about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until fragrant.
  3. Scoot the onion mixture to one side of the pan and add the sweet Italian pork sausage. (The pan might look dry, but the sausage will render fat for it to cook in.) Sauté, undisturbed, until lightly browned, about 7 minutes. Turn the slices, then sauté for another 3 minutes, until lightly golden (it doesn’t need to be fully cooked at this point).
  4. Stir in the chorizo, then add the wine and deglaze, scraping up any bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. Reduce most of the wine, about 1 minute.
  5. Stir in the tomato paste. Add the canned tomatoes with their juices, rosemary, red pepper flakes, and paprika. Stir together. Bring to a boil, still over medium heat, stirring occasionally, then lower to simmer and cover. Simmer for 20 minutes, until the sauce has thickened slightly and become very aromatic. Halfway through, stir and break up the tomatoes with your spoon. Taste and season with salt if you’d like. (While waiting for the pasta, the sauce can be on low heat.)
  6. Meanwhile, set a large pot of water over high heat to come to a boil.
  7. While the sauce is finishing up, make the garlic chips: Add a layer of paper towels to a wire rack. Set a small skillet over medium-low heat. Add the oil and cook the garlic in batches: Add a single layer to the pan and cook until golden on one side, about 3 minutes. Flip the slices and cook for another 1 to 2 minutes, until golden on the second side. (If the garlic browns too quickly, remove the pan from the heat so you can catch up.) Transfer the garlic chips to the paper towel and sprinkle lightly with salt. Repeat with the remaining slices.
  8. Generously season the boiling water with salt. Cook the pasta until al dente according to package instructions. Reserve 1 cup of pasta water, then strain. Remove and discard the rosemary stem from the ragù. Add the pasta to the ragù. Over low heat, fold the pasta into the sauce, adding ¼ cup of the pasta water at a time to render the ragù silky enough to cling to the noodles.
  9. Evenly divide the pasta between bowls and top with the crispy garlic.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Renea Nielsen
    Renea Nielsen
  • Melina Hammer
    Melina Hammer
  • Amy
  • RE
Melina is the author of 'A Year at Catbird Cottage' with Ten Speed Press. She grows an heirloom and pollinator garden and forages wild foods at her namesake Hudson Valley getaway, Catbird Cottage. Melina loves serving curated menus for guests from near and far seeking community amidst the hummingbirds, grosbeaks, finches, and the robust flavors of the seasons.

6 Reviews

Amy February 5, 2023
Any suggestions for a sub for anchovies?
Melina H. February 7, 2023
If it's because you hate anchovies, rest assured! They melt and are absorbed by the onions as they cook, imparting an excellent savoriness in building the layers of flavor. Then, so many other things happen - flavor layers being built all over the place. You will be able to lessen their negative hold on you when you take that first bite - it's really a knockout dish. If need be, I would say a couple teaspoons of good fish sauce can substitute.
Renea N. February 17, 2022
This pasta was a huge hit this evening! I subbed 1 teaspoon of capers for the anchovies because we didn't have any in pantry. With the capers, this recipe definitely didn't need any additional salt. We're bringing this pasta into regular rotation.
Melina H. February 19, 2022
Great swap you made. Glad you loved the recipe!
RE February 4, 2022
It's delightful to come across a recipe for which I have all the ingredients, in one form or another (anchovy paste, diced tomatoes)! I really slap-dashed it together, but it is tasty nonetheless.
Melina H. February 7, 2022
Truly, totally hear that. And slap-dash sometimes is the best. Yay!