Ragu with Sausage and Onions (a Non-Recipe Recipe)

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Check out this easy method for cooking up a pot of Ragu with Sausage and Onions to top pasta, polenta, squash or potatoes. It’s super versatile and comes together very easily.

Ragu with Sausage and Onions | Good Cheap Eats - photo tutorial for cooking without a recipe

On Periscope the other day we were talking about cooking without recipes. Several people mentioned that doing so would be intimidating to them since they had never tried such a thing. So, I was thinking about this ragu as I was making dinner on Friday night.

It was a last-minute dinner, one that I hadn’t really planned on. Apparently that was how I rolled last Friday because lunch, as demonstrated in this scope, went the same way.

Let’s just say I was cooking off the cuff. And it was super good! But before I get to that part, I’ll explain how this post and its non-recipe recipe came to be. I was standing there at the stove, wishing I could show you how easy it is to cook au pif, as my French mom, Michele would say. At random.

So I started snapping photos on my phone so that I could show you all the steps and how easy it is for you to make a dish like this easy ragu at home!

It was really good. We had it over spaghetti and there were no leftovers. Super yum!

Here’s the photo tutorial and an easy printable non-recipe recipe at the end. Don’t start thinking I’ve gone all Pioneer Woman on you. I don’t have it in me to photograph a bajillion shots of the food I cook, but for the non-recipes, I think I will!

Just so’s you know:

How to Make an Easy Sausage Ragu

Ragu with Sausage and Onions | Good Cheap Eats - photo tutorial for cooking without a recipe

Heat a bit of olive oil in a nonstick skillet with a lid. I like this one. I have two of them because I love it so much.

It doesn’t have to be olive oil, but it’s a nice healthy oil that can stand up to the heat.

Toss in a bunch of Italian sausages and start them browning. You can use hot or mild, turkey or pork or chicken or whatever. Turn them every once in awhile so you don’t turn them. Once they start to brown nicely, prick them with a fork or knife to get the little balls of boiling fat out of them. I use these tongs to turn them easily.

Add a sliced (or chopped) onion to the skillet and cook it alongside the sausages, stirring, until brown and tender. You don’t have to use onion. You could also use mushrooms, bell peppers, or zucchini, or a mixture of all the above.

Ragu with Sausage and Onions | Good Cheap Eats - photo tutorial for cooking without a recipe

Add a 28-ounce can of crushed tomatoes. You can use sauce, puree, or diced tomatoes, but I prefer the texture of crushed. It’s saucy but not too chunky. Unless you buy Trader Joe’s Crushed Tomatoes, then it’s too chunky. (I don’t like Trader Joe’s Crushed Tomatoes. Can you tell?)

Ragu with Sausage and Onions | Good Cheap Eats - photo tutorial for cooking without a recipe

If you like you can rinse out the can of tomatoes with a little bit of wine, broth, or water. I chose wine, but you don’t have to. Just a little bit, like 1/4 cup to add a little zing.

Ragu with Sausage and Onions | Good Cheap Eats - photo tutorial for cooking without a recipe

Stir in some seasonings. You can go any direction you want. I chose Herbes de Provence, but I would easily use Jamie’s Spice Mix, the Cajun Spice Blend, the Basic Blend, or even a storebought blend, like TJ’s 21-Seasoning Salute.

Basically use your favorite seasoning and stir it in, up to 1 tablespoon, depending on what it is and how much salt it contains.

Ragu with Sausage and Onions | Good Cheap Eats - photo tutorial for cooking without a recipe

Cover the pan and let it all simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes. This allows the seasonings to blend and the sausage to cook through. Since I often am stretching the protein to feed a crowd, I pulled the sausages out of the pan and sliced them, then added the slices back into the sauce.

I serve this over pasta or polenta, but it’s also great on spaghetti squash or boiled potatoes. You’ve got lots of options with this recipe, especially when you choose different seasonings, liquid, sausage, aromatics, etc.

So that’s it! The only problem with this recipe is that it goes too quickly. My family gobbled it down and I didn’t even get seconds!

Here’s the non-recipe recipe for easy no-brainer ragu, in case you really want it.


0 from 0 votes
Ragu with Sausage and Onions
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
25 mins
Total Time
30 mins
Check out this easy method for cooking up a pot of Ragu with Sausage and Onions to top pasta, polenta, squash or potatoes. It's super versatile and comes together very easily.
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: ragu, ragu with sausage and onions
Servings: 8
Calories: 303 kcal
Author: Jessica Fisher
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 5 Italian sausage links
  • 1 onion sliced
  • 28- ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon Herbes de Provence
  • 1/4 cup red wine omit for Whole30
  • salt and pepper
  1. In a nonstick skillet heat the oil until shimmering. Add the sausages and cook, turning, until browned. Add the onion and continue cooking until the onions is tender and browned in spots.
  2. Stir in the can of crushed tomatoes, the herbes, and the wine. Simmer, covered, for about 15 to 20 minutes until the sausages are cooked through.
  3. If desired, remove the sausages from the pan and slice. Add the sausages back to the pan and stir. Adjust seasonings with salt and pepper. Serve ragu over pasta, polenta, spaghetti squash, or boiled potatoes.
  4. Ragu can be frozen. Simply chill it in an airtight container before freezing. Thaw and reheat in a pan on the stove before serving.
Recipe Notes

Nutritional values are approximate and are based on 1/8 of the recipe. Refrigerate leftovers promptly and use within 4 days or freeze.

Nutrition Facts
Ragu with Sausage and Onions
Amount Per Serving
Calories 303 Calories from Fat 216
% Daily Value*
Fat 24g37%
Saturated Fat 8g50%
Cholesterol 53mg18%
Sodium 644mg28%
Potassium 497mg14%
Carbohydrates 9g3%
Fiber 2g8%
Sugar 5g6%
Protein 12g24%
Vitamin A 232IU5%
Vitamin C 12mg15%
Calcium 59mg6%
Iron 3mg17%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

About Jessica Fisher

I believe anyone can prepare delicious meals—no matter their budget.

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  1. Carol Bullivant says

    I make this except I parboil the sausages , cut them and add them to the sauce. I sometimes call it sausage and peppers, but use zucchini and mushrooms ‘cuz my husband doesn’t like peppers. I also serve on polenta or pasta, but also on grinder rolls. Delicious.

  2. Roberta says

    This looks delicious. I cook au pif (what a great phrase!) when the garden is going gangbusters and I make ratatouille. (Of course, your French mom would probably cringe at my ratatouille–I add cannellini beans to the mix for some protein–but it’s a great way to eat up the eggplant, tomatoes, and bell peppers.)

    • I don’t think she would cringe. I know she’s told me to serve it with eggs or roast chicken. I don’t think she’d object to white beans.

      • Roberta says

        That’s nice to know. 🙂

        I hope we get eggplant this year (last year our plant never produced–so disappointing). Our tomato plants are doing well so far this year. Haven’t seen any peppers yet.

        I *could* buy the needed items at the store, but I’d rather just use our own.

  3. karen says

    I thought everyone cooked this way. My family says we never have anything twice because I can never remember how I made it before. I do use recipes for baked goods (bread, etc) but rarely for soup, sauces, or casseroles.

    • I used to always cook this way until I had to write down recipes that anyone could follow. 😉

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