Slow Cooked Shredded Beef Ragu Pasta

Slow Cooked Shredded Beef Ragu Pasta

Prep Time Prep: 20m Cook Time Cook: 2h30m Total Time Total: 2h50m

Yield: 5 - 6 people

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Pasta, Slow Cooked

Ragu is one of those recipes that really showcases the beauty of Italian cooking - everyday ingredients, fast prep, leave it to cook long and slow and you end up with a luscious dish that tastes like a million bucks. This ragu sauce is ideal to serve with pappardelle pasta because the shreds of beef "clings" better to the pasta. This recipe is based on classic slow cooked ragu recipes from Italian greats including Lidia Bastianich, Stafano Manfredi. It is not an exact replica of any, but is similar to many! This recipe makes enough sauce to serve 8 and freezes great.

  • 2.5 lb / 1.2kg chuck beef or other slow cooking beef cut, cut into equal 4 pieces (Note 1)
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • Black pepper
  • 3 tbsp olive oil (, separated)
  • 3 cloves garlic (, minced)
  • 1 onion (, diced)
  • 1 cup carrots (, diced (Note 2))
  • 1 cup celery (, diced (Note 2))
  • 28 oz /800g crushed canned tomatoes
  • 3 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 beef bouillon cubes, crumbled ((Note 3))
  • 1 cup / 250ml red wine, full bodied (like merlot, cabernet sauvignon), or sub with beef broth
  • 1 1/2 cups / 375 ml water (Note 3)
  • 3/4 tsp dried thyme or 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 3 dried bay leaves
  • Extra salt and pepper (, to taste)
  • 1 lb /500g dried pappardelle, or other pasta of choice (Note 4)
  • Freshly grated parmesan cheese or parmigiano reggiano
  • Fresh parsley (, finely chopped (optional))
  1. Pat beef dry and sprinkle with salt and pepper
  2. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil over high heat in a heavy based pot. Add beef and sear each piece on all sides until browned (around 3 minutes in total), then remove onto a plate.
  3. Turn stove down to medium low and add remaining 2 tbsp of olive oil.
  4. Add garlic and onion and sauté for 2 minutes. Then add the carrots and celery and sauté slowly for 5 minutes.
  5. Add remaining Ragu ingredients (except extra salt and pepper) and return the beef to the pot (add the juices too). Turn the stove up and bring it to a simmer, then turn it down to low (Note 7) (see Note 5 for slow cooker and pressure cooker). Cover the pot and let it cook for 2 hours or until beef is tender enough to shred.
  6. Remove beef then coarsely shred with 2 forks. Return beef to the pot. Simmer for 30 minutes until sauce is reduced and thickened - beef will soften slightly more during this step.
  7. Do a taste test and adjust the seasoning to your taste with salt and pepper. ALSO add a little but of sugar (1/2 tsp at a time!) if it is a bit sour for your taste (Note 6). Place the lid on and set aside until ready to serve (it's even better the next day and freezes well for months!).
  8. To Serve:
  9. Bring a very large pot of water with 1 tbsp of salt to the boil.
  10. Add pasta and cook for 1 minute less than the recommended cooking time as per the packet instructions.
  11. Meanwhile, place 5 cups of the Ragu in a very large fry pan, dutch oven or use 2 normal size fry pans. (Note 4) Heat over high heat while the pasta is cooking.
  12. When the pasta is ready, transfer it directly from the pot into the fry pan using tongs.
  13. Add 3/4 cup of pasta water into the fry pan.
  14. Gently toss the pasta (I use 2 wooden spoons) for 1 to 2 minutes, until the sauce water evaporates and leaves you with a thick Ragu sauce that coats the pasta.
  15. Yell for your family to sit down at the dinner table because you need to serve it immediately!
  16. Serve with plenty of freshly grated parmesan, or even better, with parmigiano reggiano.

Ingredients

  • 2.5 lb / 1.2kg chuck beef or other slow cooking beef cut, cut into equal 4 pieces (Note 1)
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • Black pepper
  • 3 tbsp olive oil (, separated)
  • 3 cloves garlic (, minced)
  • 1 onion (, diced)
  • 1 cup carrots (, diced (Note 2))
  • 1 cup celery (, diced (Note 2))
  • 28 oz /800g crushed canned tomatoes
  • 3 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 beef bouillon cubes, crumbled ((Note 3))
  • 1 cup / 250ml red wine, full bodied (like merlot, cabernet sauvignon), or sub with beef broth
  • 1 1/2 cups / 375 ml water (Note 3)
  • 3/4 tsp dried thyme or 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 3 dried bay leaves
  • Extra salt and pepper (, to taste)
  • 1 lb /500g dried pappardelle, or other pasta of choice (Note 4)
  • Freshly grated parmesan cheese or parmigiano reggiano
  • Fresh parsley (, finely chopped (optional))

Instructions

  1. Pat beef dry and sprinkle with salt and pepper
  2. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil over high heat in a heavy based pot. Add beef and sear each piece on all sides until browned (around 3 minutes in total), then remove onto a plate.
  3. Turn stove down to medium low and add remaining 2 tbsp of olive oil.
  4. Add garlic and onion and sauté for 2 minutes. Then add the carrots and celery and sauté slowly for 5 minutes.
  5. Add remaining Ragu ingredients (except extra salt and pepper) and return the beef to the pot (add the juices too). Turn the stove up and bring it to a simmer, then turn it down to low (Note 7) (see Note 5 for slow cooker and pressure cooker). Cover the pot and let it cook for 2 hours or until beef is tender enough to shred.
  6. Remove beef then coarsely shred with 2 forks. Return beef to the pot. Simmer for 30 minutes until sauce is reduced and thickened - beef will soften slightly more during this step.
  7. Do a taste test and adjust the seasoning to your taste with salt and pepper. ALSO add a little but of sugar (1/2 tsp at a time!) if it is a bit sour for your taste (Note 6). Place the lid on and set aside until ready to serve (it's even better the next day and freezes well for months!).
  8. To Serve:
  9. Bring a very large pot of water with 1 tbsp of salt to the boil.
  10. Add pasta and cook for 1 minute less than the recommended cooking time as per the packet instructions.
  11. Meanwhile, place 5 cups of the Ragu in a very large fry pan, dutch oven or use 2 normal size fry pans. (Note 4) Heat over high heat while the pasta is cooking.
  12. When the pasta is ready, transfer it directly from the pot into the fry pan using tongs.
  13. Add 3/4 cup of pasta water into the fry pan.
  14. Gently toss the pasta (I use 2 wooden spoons) for 1 to 2 minutes, until the sauce water evaporates and leaves you with a thick Ragu sauce that coats the pasta.
  15. Yell for your family to sit down at the dinner table because you need to serve it immediately!
  16. Serve with plenty of freshly grated parmesan, or even better, with parmigiano reggiano.