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!