Ragu Sauce Pasta Bake is an easy weeknight meal, made with a hearty shredded beef tomato sauce, ziti pasta, and lots of melty cheese! The best part, the ragu sauce is made from Leftover Beef Roast, to stretch your efforts into two amazing dinners!
Why We Love It!
- It’s the Perfect Use for Pot Roast Leftovers! – When leftovers transform into a second dinner as delicious as the first, I’m all in! This Beef Ragu Pasta Bake is just as delicious as the Beef Roast dinner it came from the night before! My Simply Perfect Beef Roast is a family favorite, a fond memory from my childhood, served many times by my mom and grandma. It’s pure comfort food, and feeds a crowd or makes great pot roast leftovers!
- Simple Flavors – With only 3 ingredients, beef, onion, and stock, and a little bit of morning prep, my beef pot roast braises away in the oven all day to be ready by dinner. Those basic flavors make it very transformable into the be best shredded beef leftover recipes!
- It’s a Quick and Easy Weeknight Dinner! – This Beef Ragu Pasta Bake is a family favorite, with that hearty shredded beef tomato sauce and broiled melty cheesy pasta! Use your leftover pot roast to make the hearty tomato ragu sauce. Just saute onions and garlic, add the leftover shredded beef, red wine, canned tomato and fresh herbs. Cook your favorite short pasta like ziti, penne or rigatoni and mix it with the sauce. Top it with lots of cheese and broil it for just a few minutes to melt. Perfect served with a simple side salad. It’s an easy weeknight meal that makes that beef roast prep you did yesterday worth every effort!
Ingredients & Substitutions
- Onions & Garlic– Give your leftover pot roast some Italian flavor with sauteed onions and garlic.
- Leftover Pot Roast – Your leftover beef roast can be refrigerated a day or two and then used to make this ragu pasta bake. Scrape off and discard any white fat that has settle on the top. Any amount of leftover beef, roughly 1 to 2 cups can be used for this recipe.
- Red Wine – Deglazing the pan with red wine adds depth of flavor.
- Crushed Tomato and Tomato Paste – The base for your ragu pasta sauce, I like to use 1 can of tomato paste for a thick rich consistency along with 1 can of crushed tomatoes. Whole peeled tomatoes are fine too, just chop them or pulse in a food processor.
- Fresh Herbs – Fresh Italian herbs such as basil, parsley, oregano, and thyme add a bright flavor to the ragu pasta bake. If you don’t have fresh, 2 teaspoons of dried Italian seasoning will work.
- Ziti Pasta – Use your favorite short pasta such as ziti, penne, or rigatoni. Something hearty that will stand up to the bold rich beef ragu pasta sauce.
- Provolone Cheese – Top your ragu pasta bake with lots of melty white cheese. Provolone, mozzarella or even white cheddar are great options.
- Parmesan Cheese – Add extra Italian flavor with shredded Parmesan cheese.
Step 1 – In a large sauce pot, saute onion in olive oil. Add garlic and your leftover shredded beef roast. Discard any white fat that has solidified after being refrigerated.
Step 2 – Deglaze with red wine and add canned tomato. Season with salt, pepper, and a handful of fresh herbs. Simmer on low heat for 30 minutes or longer until ready to assemble.
Step 3 – Preheat oven to high broil. Cook pasta following package instructions, drain and add to the simmering sauce. Mix well to combine.
Step 4 – Transfer to a casserole dish (or bake in the sauce pot if it is oven safe) and top with shredded cheese. Broil in the oven until cheese is melted and bubbly, about 3 minutes. Garnish with more fresh herbs. Serve with a salad and crusty bread!
Is Ragu Gluten Free?
Almost. The beef roast used in this Ragu Sauce Pasta Bake uses a small amount of flour to thicken the sauce, so it is not completely gluten free, even if you use a gluten free pasta. You could make the beef roast gluten free by omitting the flour.
Ideas for Leftover Shredded Beef Recipes?
The simple flavors of a beef roast make it so easy to transform into other pot roast leftover recipes! Leftovers can be heated the next day for lunch, frozen and then rewarmed in a saucepan with a little water, or recreated into a new dinner all its own. Warm the shredded beef with a few dashes of chili powder and cumin for tacos, nachos or burritos topped with Pico de Gallo Salsa, shredded cabbage and Guacamole. Pile your pot roast leftovers on hoagie buns and bake with melted provolone and top with jarred giardiniera for a delicious sandwich night! Or my favorite, combine the leftover pot roast with canned tomato and Italian herbs to make this Ragu Sauce Pasta Bake with ziti and melty cheese!
More Favorite Pastas!
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Ragu Sauce Pasta Bake from Leftover Beef Roast
For the Ragu Sauce
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- ½ onion chopped
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1-2 cups leftover beef roast (whatever amount you have is fine, discard white fat)
- ½ cup red wine (optional)
- 28 oz can crushed tomatoes or whole peeled pulsed in a food processor
- 5 oz can tomato paste
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 6 grinds fresh black pepper
- ⅓ cup fresh Italian herbs like basil, oregano, thyme or parsley (or 2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning)
For the Pasta Bake
- 1 pound Ziti pasta or any short pasta (rigatoni, penne, etc)
- 2 cups Provolone cheese shredded
- ½ cup Parmesan cheese shredded
- In a large sauce pot over medium heat, heat oil and saute onion until soft and starting to lightly brown.
- Add garlic and leftover beef roast and stir and break it up to warm through.
- Deglaze with wine, letting it cook and sizzle a minute, then add tomato cans. Rinse out your cans (and food processor if using) with ½ cup of water and add the water to the sauce.
- Season with salt, pepper and fresh herbs. Stir well to combine, reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes or longer. It can sit on low heat until you are ready to assemble the pasta bake.
- Set oven to high broil.
- Cook pasta according to package instructions, drain and add to the simmered ragu sauce. Stir well to combine. Transfer to a casserole dish (or you can bake it in the pan it's in if it is oven safe) and top with shredded cheese.
- Broil 3 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly. Garnish with more fresh herbs. Serve with a side salad and crusty bread!
- This recipe could be made with 1 pound ground beef or Italian Sausage in place of the leftover beef roast, just brown it first and then add the onions and go from step 1.
- Store leftover Ragu Sauce Pasta Bake in the fridge for up to 3 days, reheat in the microwave.