This is an inexpensive dinner most people seem to love. I'm pretty fortunate to live near a butcher who makes a lot of varieties of fresh sausage. For this sauce I like to use sweet Italian sausage which imparts a subtle fennel flavour.
2 tsp olive oil
1 lb lean ground beef
1/2 lb bulk Italian sausage meat
2 -3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
1 cup carrots (or peppers or celery or combo), finely chopped
1/2 tsp dried oregano,
1/2 tsp dried marjoram
1/4 tsp dried rosemary
1/4 tsp dried thyme
2 tbsp concentrated tomato paste
1 14.5 oz can diced fire roasted tomatoes
1/2 cup red wine (or water with 2 tsp vinegar)
salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
cooked penne (use an entire 1 lb box)
grated parmesan cheese
Heat the oil in a large non stick skillet and add the ground beef and sausage meat. Brown the meat while breaking it up with a spoon.
Remove any excess oil (if there's too much of it). Lower the heat and add the garlic, onions and vegetables. Cook for a few minutes, then add the herbs, tomato paste, diced tomatoes and wine.
Stir to combine everything well. Turn the heat to low, cover the skillet with a large lid and simmer for about an hour.
Check and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper if needed. The sauce will be quite thick; add a few tablespoons of water if necessary. (I usually don't.)
Just before serving, toss the meat sauce with the cooked hot penne in a large bowl. Divide among pasta bowls and pass the parmesan cheese.