Pasta with Beef-Fennel Ragu


With just 20 minutes of prep time, your slow cooker does all the real work for this easy pasta dinner. Let the sauce simmer all day, then add the noodles at the end, just 20 minutes before serving.

Pasta with Beef-Fennel Ragu
Photo: RJT LLC Scott Little
Prep Time:
20 mins
Slow Cook Time:
7 hrs
Total Time:
7 hrs 20 mins
11 cups


  • 1 pound 93% lean ground beef

  • 2 14.5 ounce cans diced tomatoes with basil, garlic, and oregano, undrained

  • 2 cup thinly sliced fennel

  • 2 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth

  • 1 15 ounce can tomato sauce

  • cup chopped onion

  • 4 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 ½ teaspoon fennel seeds, lightly crushed

  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed

  • ½ teaspoon black pepper

  • 1 12 ounce pkg. no-boil, no-drain penne pasta, such as Barilla Pronto

  • ½ cup snipped fresh basil


  1. Break ground beef into bite-size pieces and place in a 6-qt. slow cooker. Add next nine ingredients (through pepper). Cover and cook on low 7 to 9 hours or high 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 hours.

  2. If using low, turn to high. Stir in pasta. Cover and cook 20 minutes more or just until pasta is tender, stirring after 10 minutes. Stir in basil.

Pressure Cooker Instructions

Break ground beef into bite-size pieces and place in a 6-qt. multifunction electric or stove-top pressure cooker. Add next 11 ingredients (through pasta). Stir to combine. Lock lid in place. Set electric cooker on high pressure to cook 2 minutes. For stove-top cooker, bring up to pressure over medium-high heat; reduce heat enough to maintain steady (but not excessive) pressure. Cook 2 minutes. Remove from heat. For both models, let stand 5 minutes to release pressure naturally. Release any remaining pressure. Open lid carefully.If desired, let stand, covered, up to 10 minutes for pasta to reach desired doneness. Stir in basil.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

319 Calories
6g Fat
47g Carbs
20g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 8
Calories 319
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 6g 8%
Saturated Fat 2g 10%
Cholesterol 36mg 12%
Sodium 760mg 33%
Total Carbohydrate 47g 17%
Total Sugars 10g
Protein 20g
Vitamin C 20.2mg 101%
Calcium 73mg 6%
Iron 4.2mg 23%
Potassium 769mg 16%
Folate, total 120mcg
Vitamin B-12 1mcg
Vitamin B-6 0.2mg

*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

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