I recently wrote about gorging myself for a whole day which included this delicious pappardelle pasta dish with a tender beef ragu.
Ragu traditionally uses secondary cuts of meat which are slowly & gently cooked for hours so that the sinew breaks down and the meat is tender and juicy. For this I use my slow cooker, but you could also make it covered in a low-moderate oven (supervise this step).
Makes 4 regular or 3 large servings
- Fresh made or good store-bought pappardelle pasta (thin, wide ribbons)
- 1 large tin tomato puree (420g)
- 1/2 cup red wine (I use whatever I’m drinking at the time, usually Shiraz, but you can use any red that has a full body)
- 1 cup good quality veal or beef stock (I used veal because it has a more subtle flavour but whatever you do don’t use veggie stock as it changes the flavour completely; a ragu is meaty)
- 800g chuck steak, largely diced
- 3 bay leafs
- sea salt / cracked pepper
- 1 tbs butter, melted
- 2-3 tbs plain flour
- shaved parmesan to serve
This method uses a slow cooker for part of the process. If you start this in the morning, it’ll simmer away (deliciously heady aromas), unsupervised and be ready by dinner time.
In a slow cooker, place diced beef, tomato puree, wine, stock and pepper, cover and put on 8 hour low setting.
Once the meat is done, remove the meat and allow to cool slightly (to make it easier to handle) then with 2 forks gently shred each piece of meat into little fibers.
Strain any unwanted bits from the meat cooking liquid (the jus) and place into either a large pot or fry pan and bring to simmer.
Meanwhile, put a large pot of salted water on to boil for the pasta.
To make a roux for thickening the jus in the pot/pan, melt the butter and then stir in the flour, one tablespoon at a time, until it resembles a thick paste. Add this, one tablespoon at a time, into the jus (sauce) until you achieve the consistency of a thick gravy-like sauce. Then add the meat and gently stir to soak up all the jus.
Once the water is boiling, cook the pasta according to packet directions (usually 3-4 minutes for fresh pasta). Strain water, mix the pasta with the ragu and serve!
This is also nice to serve accompanied with a side salad and a glass of red wine!
Today was cold and rainy. Which started me daydreaming about returning to Tokoriki Island in Fiji.
I’m remembering crystal blue water, huge friendly smiles, the softest ocean breeze rustling the palms, waking to the sound of gentle waves lapping and gulls chatting, reading my book stretched out on a swinging hammock, playing long games of pool-side chess, chasing geckos & hand feeding fish, the smell of sun block and papaya, snorkeling with reef sharks, hermit crab racing, our private little villa amidst paradise, the sweetest juiciest pineapple, midday beers by the pool, sunsets of the pinkest hues, massages by strong hands, the most amazing Kokonda for dinner, cocktails in the bar listening to the band and leaving so completely relaxed we felt reborn by the sun and the sea.