This Beef Ragu is tender, rich, flavourful and SO delicious! The beef is slow cooked with tomatoes, minced vegetables, wine and stock. Serve over fresh pappardelle pasta.
If you’re looking for THE perfect dish for chilly fall and wintery nights, or a cozy Sunday dinner, this Beef Ragu is it! Rich, warm, flavourful and a family favourite. The ultimate comfort food.
What is Ragu?
Simply put, ragu is a meat-based sauce that is made with more meat than tomato sauce. Think of it as a meat sauce with tomatoes, not a tomato sauce with meat. Different meats can be used for ragu…the meats roast with a little tomato sauce, finely chopped vegetables: garlic, onion, carrot, celery (knows as soffritto) and a liquid such as wine, tomatoes or stock. This particular recipe for Beef Ragu is made with slow cooked beef chuck.
Yes, you need to slow cook the beef.
Slow cooking makes the beef SO tender and flavourful…don’t skip this step, trust me. And really, slow cooking is very easy, it’s as simple as putting everything on the stove to simmer for a couple of hours. Start everything in the morning or early afternoon for dinner to be ready that night. I like to start in the morning because the sauce can rest for a few hours before dinner. The great thing about slow roasting the beef is that you can use inexpensive cuts of meat like beef chuck…slow roasting makes even the most tough cuts tender.
Start with the soffritto.
In Italian cooking, soffritto is the flavour base and foundation for many recipes like soups, stews and sauces. It is often made up of sauteed garlic, onions, carrots, and celery. The idea is to cook these ingredients slowly over low heat to release the flavours. Once you’ve made the soffritto, the beef slow cooks with it, along with tomatoes, broth and wine.
Beef Ragu is easier to make than you might think!
Don’t be intimidated by the length of this recipe, and trust me when I say it’s simple and well worth the effort. This whole recipe takes just around 3 hours from start to finish (with most of that time just simmering on the stove). Once you’ve completed a little prep such as searing the meat, making the soffritto, then assembling everything in a pot ready for simmering, you’re one step close to the most delicious dinner!
Now that your beef ragu is on the stove simmering away, you can start thinking of what pasta to make. You can use any type of long spaghetti-type pasta, but honestly, the only pasta I will serve with Beef Ragu is Pappardelle! The long, wide noodles are perfect for holding onto the thick sauce and tender pieces of beef.
Perfect for Sunday dinners, especially on chilly fall or winter nights. I hope you love it!
Beef Ragu Recipe Tips:
- Beef: I like to use a slow-cooking boneless beef cut like chuck. (also called Chuck Shoulder, Pot Roast Chuck, Cross Rib Roast, Chuck Roast, Blade Roast)
- Tomatoes: Use good quality canned tomatoes.
- Stock: Use beef stock.
- Wine: Use a good quality red wine like a merlot or cabernet, not a cooking wine…the wine you use should be good enough to drink! Substitute: if you don’t want to use wine, just replace it with beef stock.
- Pasta: You can serve this Beef Ragu with any spaghetti-type pasta or penne, but our absolute favourite (and the only pasta I will ever use for this) is Pappardelle! You can find these fresh noodles in most grocery stores around the deli area. Tagliatelle pasta is great too.
- Pasta Water: Make sure to RESERVE about 1 cup of the pasta water. You will be adding it to the sauce near the end. The starch in the pasta water is a great emulsifier that makes the sauce creamy and thick enough to stick to the noodles.
- Toss it! Toss the beef ragu with the pasta and about 1 cup of pasta water before you serve it! The pasta needs to be coated in the ragu, not just placed on top!
- Serve with grated fresh parmesan cheese! Offer loads of grated parmesan cheese to go with your ragu.
- Make Ahead Option: This recipe can easily be made a day or two ahead, in fact the flavours are even better the next day. Make the recipe according to the instructions below, and store in the fridge until you’re ready to use it. Just reheat on low-medium heat on the stove…you may need to add a little extra liquid.
- Leftovers: Keep any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
- Can I freeze the beef ragu? Yes! Store the sauce in an air tight container in the freezer for up to 6 months. Thaw before reheating.
- If the sauce is thick. If you find that the sauce is too thick as it slow cooks, just stir in a little more liquid (water or stock).
- Serving option: Beef ragu is also really delicious served over creamy mashed potatoes, polenta or any of your favourite noodles.
PIN IT to make later!
I hope you make it and love it!
Have a delicious day!