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Bison Sausage Ragù

Bison Sausage Ragù

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Prep Time: 20 minutes, Cook Time: 2 hours


  • 1 Pound bison breakfast sausage
  • 1 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 small carrot, chopped
  • 6 Tablespoons Italian parsley, minced
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • Pinch of ground cloves
  • 1 Tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 Cup red wine
  • One 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes, puréed with their juices
  • 1/2 Cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus more for serving
  • 1 Pound cooked pasta, for serving
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


In a medium sauté pan, brown the ground bison over medium-high heat, stirring often, until cooked through, about 8 minutes. Remove the bison from the pan set aside in a bowl. Remove all but 1 tablespoon of excess drippings from pan and add the olive oil, onion, carrot, and parsley, and cook until the onions are golden brown, about 8 more minutes. Return the browned bison to pan, add the minced garlic, and cook for another 2 minutes.

Add the cloves, tomato paste, and half of the red wine. Simmer until the wine has evaporated, about 8-10 minutes. Add the remaining wine and tomatoes. Simmer the sauce on low, stirring frequently, until it has a medium-thick consistency, about 1 ½ hours. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Serve topped with cooked pasta and garnished with grated cheese.

Nutritional Facts


Calories Per Serving251

Folate equivalent (total)20µg5%

Riboflavin (B2)0.2mg11.1%

Recipe Summary

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound bulk sweet Italian sausage
  • 1 pound bulk hot Italian sausage
  • 1 large red onion, diced
  • 2 ribs celery, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ cup dry red wine
  • 1 (28 ounce) can Italian-style diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 (28 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • salt to taste
  • 1 cup heavy cream

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook and stir the sweet and hot Italian sausage until browned, about 10 minutes. Break the meat up into crumbles as it cooks. Stir in the onion, celery, and garlic cook and stir until the onion is translucent, about 8 more minutes. Pour the mixture into a slow cooker. Pour red wine into the skillet, and stir to dissolve the brown flavor bits from the bottom of the skillet. Pour the wine into the slow cooker. Add the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, and salt to taste. Mix well.

Cover the slow cooker, set to Low, and cook for 5 hours. Pour in the cream, stir, cover, and cook for 1 more hour. Adjust salt again if necessary, and serve.

Joe’s Famous Sausage Ragu

I had an Italian neighbor years ago that was known for her sauce. You know…the stuff that Italians take very seriously. As her sauce was cooking, she would open their windows and the aroma of garlic, vibrant tomatoes, and sausage would fill the air. I wanted to jump the fence and invite myself over for dinner but I did refrain. However, the good news is that she taught me her tricks of how to make true, authentic Italian Sausage Ragu.

It’s all about the sauce! Layers of flavor come from hours of slowly simmering vegetables, meats, and spices together. There are three essential vegetables that are the base for any excellent ragu – onions, carrots, and celery. It’s called soffritto in Italy and the art of browning them is a crucial step. As the vegetables begin to soften and brown, the flavor develops and begins to deepen the sausage ragu.

In this recipe, tomato paste is the rockstar. Making tomato paste is a process that begins with cooking tomatoes for hours and hours which reduces their moisture content and the result is a thick paste that adds a rich flavor. It’s genius! The work is already done and we just have to open up a can and dump it in. Hallelujah!

One of the star ingredients in this ragu has to be the Hot Italian Sausage. Oh my heavens, this stuff is good. It’s full of Italian spices with a little heat, which is the perfect accompaniment to mild tomatoes. You can even use Hot Italian Turkey Sausage which is a fraction of the calories yet still creates an amazing sauce.

This ragu sauce is so good I could drink it. When I go off pasta for awhile, I put this on top of grilled chicken breast, top it with fresh basil and a touch of parmigiano reggiano cheese and “Voila!” it’s out of this world. I am salivating just thinking about it!

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I used the following ingredients for this amazing sauce: Mild Italian sausage, onions, carrots, celery, garlic, parsley, whole canned tomatoes, tomato paste, dried thyme, salt and freshly ground black pepper.

I started by browning the sausage in a large skillet over medium heat. As the sausage was browning, I broke it up into small pieces.

When most of the pink was gone from the sausage, I added the onions, carrots, celery, garlic and chopped parsley. After stirring to combine everything, I let the sausage/vegetable mixture cook over medium-low heat for about 45 minutes. Generally, I drain the fat from the sausage before adding anything else. This time, I didn’t drain the sausage so that the grease would enhance the sautéing of the vegetables. After 45 minutes, the sausage was fully cooked and the vegetables were tender and had begun to caramelize.

Bison Bolognese Sauce

Bolognese sauce, known in Italian as ragù (alla) Bolognese, or simply ragù, is a meat-based sauce originating from Bologna, Italy. In Italian cuisine, it is customarily used to dress “tagliatelle al ragù” and to prepare “lasagne alla bolognese“. In the absence of tagliatelle, it can also be used with other broad, flat pasta shapes, such as pappardelle or fettuccine. Genuine ragù alla bolognese is a slowly cooked sauce, and its preparation involves several techniques, including sweating, sautéing and braising. Ingredients include a characteristic soffritto of onion, celery and carrot, different types of minced or finely chopped beef, often alongside small amounts of fatty pork. Red wine and a small amount of tomato concentrate or tomatoes are added, and the dish is then gently simmered at length to produce a thick sauce.

Yields: 4 Servings


  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 medium white onions, chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound ground bison
  • 1/2 (3-ounce) can tomato paste
  • 3/4 cups whole milk
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste


In a food processor, pulse the celery, onion, carrot, and garlic until finely minced.

In a large Dutch oven sauté vegetables in olive oil over medium heat. Stir until softened, about 8 minutes.

Add the bison and cook, breaking up with spoon, until no longer pink.

Stir in tomato paste, milk, wine and water.

Cover and simmer until sauce is thickened, about 1-1 1/2 hours.

Remove from heat. Season with sea alt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.


Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat with olive oil, 2 turns of the pan, add carrot, onion, celery, garlic, salt and pepper. Sweat the vegetables to soften 5-7 minutes. Split the sausages from their casings and remove the meat. Add the sausage and pork to the pot and break up with a wooden spoon or fork to lightly brown and crumble. Add the sage and tomato paste, stir until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add wine and let it absorb, add stock and tomatoes and lower heat to simmer.

Bring a large pot of water to boil for pasta.

Salt water and cook the pasta 1 minute less than package directions. Reserve about ¾ cup starchy cooking water and drain pasta. Toss pasta with sauce and cooking water to combine, add grated cheese or ricotta if you prefer a very creamy presentation.

Bison Ragu Rigatoni

Bison Ragu Rigatoni is inspired by a recipe from Enjoy with a glass of the red wine called for in the recipe.

Bison Ragu Rigatoni

1 pound rigatoni, cooked to package directions

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (divided)

1 pound bison bulk Italian or breakfast sausage

1 small carrot, finely chopped

5 or 6 tomatoes, coarsely chopped, paste variety preferred

½ teaspoon fennel seed (omit if sausage already has this)

½ cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving

4 sprigs fresh Italian parsley, coarsely chopped

Prepare pasta according to package directions.

As pasta pot is coming to a boil, start the ragu. To a large sauté pan, add 1 tablespoon olive oil and bison sausage. Break down and brown sausage over medium heat until cooked through, about 5 minutes. Remove bison from pan.

Add a few splashes of pasta water to saucepan and return to heat to deglaze pan. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil, then onion, carrot, tomatoes, salt, pepper, fennel seed and oregano sauté about 10 minutes over medium heat, stirring occasionally. If carrots remain hard, add a little pasta water and cover pan while cooking. Add garlic and sauté a minute or two then add bison sausage and red wine, toss to coat and simmer about 2 minutes.

Drain pasta, reserving pasta water. Add cooked pasta to sauté pan add pasta water by the spoonful if mixture is too dry. Pour on remaining tablespoon of olive oil, then top with grated cheese and gently mix. Transfer to a serving bowl, top with parsley and serve with additional Parmesan on the side.

Sausage Ragu Rigatoni (that doesn't take all day)

Sausage Ragu Rigatoni - A hearty and rich ragu dinner made easy by using quick cooking and flavorful sausage.

Don't you love thick, hearty meals this time of year? Mmmm, I know. Me too.

You know what I don't love? Spending 3+ hours slow cooking meats and sauces to develop flavors on a random Wednesday.

I've mentioned (okay, maybe more than once) that this time of year, around the holidays, is especially busy with having to deal with all 5 of our birthdays too. Something that a lot of people I know, can't grasp, is that being busy doesn't necessarily mean sacrificing quality and flavor in their meals.

Most of my friends, when they get busy, grab a frozen meal or take out and then complain to me about it. They ask me what I've created for dinners that week and when I tell them, they say things like "wow, where do you find the time?". Time? I don't have time. It's just a matter of figuring out the best way to develop flavor, in the shortest amount of time.

Take this Sausage Ragu Rigatoni dish for example. Most ragu dishes have deep, rich flavors that start off with braising a big cut of meat for hours upon hours. Well, what I've gone and done to make my life easy, is used sausage. Italian sausage comes already fully infused with tons of great flavors, plus, it cooks up rather quickly. I've made this recipe both with Sweet Italian Sausage and also with a combination of Sweet & Hot Italian Sausage.

You'll notice that I've used very little in the way of spices or difficult ingredients. And yet, I haven't sacrificed anything.

I have one other big tip when trying to keep dishes easy without sacrificing quality and it is choosing your pasta wisely. Believe me, there is a big difference in pasta quality. For this recipe, I have chosen to use De Cecco Rigatoni.

Okay, so what makes De Cecco any different than all the mainstream pasta in the grocery store? Well, for starters, De Cecco is not a mainstream pasta, it is a premium Italian pasta. You know this good Italian girl is going to love that, right? Also, De Cecco pasta is made exclusively with the highest quality durum semolina and natural spring water.

Okay, so now you probably want to know what durum semolina is, don't you? It's a good thing I like to go on and on about all things food (especially Italian food), now isn't it?

You probably think durum semolina is like plain old flour, huh? Well, you're wrong! Sorry. Durum Semolina is the purest part of the "hard" wheat variety and it has a coarse granular texture. It is the durum semolina's high protein content that not only makes De Cecco pasta firm but it keeps it firm. So, when a gal like me is cooking dinner, and her little "darlings" distract her for a few minutes, towards the end of the pasta cooking time, it's okay. The extra minute or two isn't going to make this pasta mushy. Got that? NO MUSHY PASTA. I know. Game Changer.

While cooking Italian foods come second nature to me, I know it doesn't to a lot of others. De Cecco gets that too, which is why I like that their mission is to bring the experience of authentic Italian cuisine to any table.

Shall we get on to the Sausage Ragu Rigatoni recipe?

Like I mentioned before, you can use regular Sweet Italian Sausage or you can sub in half the amount using Hot Italian Sausage. It really depends on your own flavor preference. If your local store doesn't sell bulk ground sausage. It's okay. Just grab a package of the links and remove the casings. Voila, ground sausage.

Oh, I want to bring some attention to the veggies in this dish. The first time I made this dish, I didn't bother with the food processor. I just diced up everything and went about my business. Come dinner time, my husband says "this is really good, I just wish the vegetables weren't so noticeable". Being the good wife I am, I note this in my brain and carry on. Fast forward to the next time I make the dish. I remember the husband's critique and decide to pulse all the veggies in a processor. While we're eating, he says "you know what, I think I liked it with the carrots bigger."

Uh, huh. I swear it. I couldn't make this up. I infuriatingly, I mean, I politely reminded him that he was indeed the one who asked for the smaller veggies and he laughed and said "I think I want the carrot diced but the celery processed". Well, I have to draw the line somewhere.

So, from now on, I'm making this recipe with the veggies processed. I like the way they brown up and add flavor. Plus, and this is a big plus, kids don't know they are eating the veggies. It can be your little secret. No one needs to know why you're smiling all through dinner. I won't tell.

Bison Ragu

On a daily basis, I handle the cooking around our house. I enjoy it, get home earlier than Mr. Whipped and have a big enough repertoire to churn out tasty weekly meals efficiently. Though the kitchen is mostly my domain, it is NOT because Mr. Whipped can’t cook. I like to juggle a thousand things, improvise and usually leave the counter top looking like a hurricane just came through. When Mr. Whipped cooks, he hones in on something with precision, planning and executing in a methodical, neat manner.

A few weeks ago, the man of the house announced that he was going to make some Bison Ragu. I was intrigued by his proclamation as bison is not something we have prepared before. Mr. Whipped had enjoyed some succulent bison short ribs on a business trip to Canada and had subsequently learned that bison has significantly less fat and calories than beef or pork while still being high in protein and nutrients. Sounded like a perfect after-holiday-gluttony kind of ingredient!

After a day of planning, researching and shopping, Mr. Whipped set about preparing his mise en place early last Sunday morning. The ragu cooked for hours filling our house with a rich and enticing aroma. We were treated to a Sunday supper of hearty, flavorful ragu atop a bowl full of pasta. Best of all, thanks to our new nutritional knowledge, this satisfying super was not one that we need feel guilty about.

Though this was a first and we ate it all in the following days, I would bet that this recipe would freeze well. We found the bison at a local butcher in Chicago. I’m not sure how hard it is to find in a regular grocery store. If you are feeling extra ambitious, make your own pasta while the ragu simmers!

Bison Ragù
Adapted from this Foodie Reflections recipe
makes 10 servings

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, minced
1 large carrot, peeled and minced
1 pound ground bison
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 cup red wine
2 cans petite diced tomatoes
1 6-ounce can tomato paste (about 10 tablespoons)
1 cup tomato juice
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme or 4 fresh thyme sprigs
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons minced fresh basil
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 pound fresh or dried wide pasta (fettuccine or tagliatelle), cooked and drained
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese (for garnish)
Fresh basil, thinly sliced (for garnish)

Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium-low heat. Add the onion and carrot and sweat until soft, stirring often, about 8 minutes. Stir in the ground bison and use a wooden spoon to break the meat apart. Cook until browned, about 5 minutes, then stir in the minced garlic. Cook for 1 minute then pour in the red wine.

Simmer the wine for for 5 minutes, then stir in the chopped tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato juice, thyme, bay leaf and basil. Reduce the heat to low and cover. Simmer the sauce for 2 hours, stirring once every 30 minutes.

Uncover the pot after 2 hours and season the sauce with sugar, salt, pepper and balsamic vinegar. Adjust seasonings to taste.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to package instructions if using dried or for 2 minutes if using fresh pasta. Drain the pasta and top with the bison ragù, garnish with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese and fresh basil.

Spicy Sausage Ragu Rigatoni

This Sausage Rigatoni recipe is sure to get a big thumbs up from all the family! A warming plate of pasta, sauce and sausages makes for a fuss-free dinner, and any leftovers are great for lunchboxes.

Recipe and image provided by @justjessfood


1 pack of Simon Howie Pork Sausages

Button mushrooms, 6 or 7 chopped

Rigatoni pasta, approx. 80g per person

Half a glass of red wine (optional)

Dried chilli flakes (just a pinch!)


1. Cut off the cases from your sausages.

2. In a pan, fry the onions, garlic, and mushrooms for 2 minutes, and then add the sausage meat, breaking it up a little with your spatula.

3. Once the meat is brown, add the tomato puree, mixed herbs, and half a glass of red wine (if desired). Simmer for 4 minutes, stirring regularly.

4. Add the passata, chilli flakes (not too many!) and a splash of balsamic vinegar. Simmer on a low heat for 15-20 minutes.

5. Put the pasta on to boil in salted water. While you wait, test your sauce for seasoning or more chilli flakes if needed, and add a splash of cream.

6. Once the pasta is cooked, drain and mix well with the sauce.

7. Divide into bowls, top with shavings of parmesan and serve with garlic bread.


  1. Ulmar

    Bravo, this brilliant idea has to be right on purpose

  2. Sara

    the message Excellent))

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