Beef/ pasta

Braised Beef Ragu

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.

two yellow bowls sitting on knitted pot holders. the bowls are full of beef ragu over pappardelle pasta

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.

a top down view of two yellow bowls sitting on knitted pot holders. the bowls are full of beef ragu over pappardelle pasta

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.

a top down view of two yellow bowls sitting on knitted pot holders. the bowls are full of beef ragu over pappardelle pasta

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.

a close up top down view of half of a yellow bowl filled with beef ragu over pappardelle pasta

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!

a close view of a yellow bowl filled with beef ragu over pappardelle pasta

Pappardelle Please!

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.

a close up view of half of a yellow bowl filled with beef ragu over pappardelle pasta

Perfect for Sunday dinners, especially on chilly fall or winter nights.  I hope you love it!

a close up top down view of half of a yellow bowl filled with beef ragu over pappardelle pasta

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 Eye 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, 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 air-tight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
  • Can I freeze the beef ragu?  Yes!  Store the sauce in an air tight container and freeze 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.
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Braised Beef Ragu


  • Author: Jo-Anna Rooney
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 2 hours, 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 3 hours
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x

Description

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.


Ingredients

Scale

Beef:

  • 2.5 lb boneless beef chuck (see notes), cut into baseball sized pieces
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp vegetable or olive oil

Soffritto:

  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup diced carrots (about 2 carrots)
  • 1 cup diced celery (about 2 sticks)
  • 1 tsp dried thyme

Sauce:

  • 1 1/2 cups beef stock
  • 128 oz can of crushed tomatoes
  • 3 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 cup red wine (see notes)
  • 2 bay leaves

Pasta:

  • 1 lb pappardelle pasta
  • freshly grated parmesan cheese

Instructions

Browning the beef:

  1. Pat the beef roast dry with paper towel, then cut it into baseball sized pieces.
  2. Season each piece generously with the salt and pepper, on each side.
  3. Add 2 tbsp oil to a large nonstick pan over medium-high heat.
  4. Carefully add the pieces of beef to the oil (it will spit so wear an apron). Sear each side of the beef for about 2 minutes…the beef should be nicely browned.
  5. Transfer the beef from the pan to a plate and set aside for now.

Making the soffritto:

  1. Use the same pan to make the soffritto as you used to brown the meat.
  2. Turn the heat down to low-medium.
  3. Add 2 tbsp oil.
  4. Add the minced garlic, onions, carrots and celery.
  5. Cook, stirring occasionally until softened. Make sure to stir/scrape up all the cooked bits from the bottom of the pan as they add a lot of delicious flavour.
  6. Stir in the dried thyme and cook for about 1 minute.

Making the ragu:

  1. Now add the stock to the pan and simmer for about 2 minutes.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients (tomatoes, tomato paste, red wine and bay leaves). Mix well.
  3. Add the seared beef, and stir the mixture to coat the beef.
  4. Turn the heat down to low and simmer for about 2 – 2 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally and checking to make sure the bottom isn’t burning. When the beef is ready, it should be tender enough to pull apart with a fork.
  5. NOTE: the sauce should be lightly simmering, NOT boiling.
  6. NOTE: about halfway through the cooking time, turn the beef over and make sure it’s covered in the sauce.
  7. After this cooking time, remove the beef and shred it with a fork. Discard any chunks of fat.
  8. At this time, if you notice any fat in the sauce, use a spoon to skim it off.
  9. Return the beef to the sauce, stir and simmer for about 30 minutes more. At this point, if you feel that the sauce needs it, feel free to season it with more salt and pepper.

Putting it all together:

  1. Cook the pasta in a heavily salted pot of water, according to package instructions, BUT COOK IT for about 1 minute less than stated.
  2. While the noodles are cooking, get the sauce ready to receive the noodles. To do this, make sure the sauce is in a pan large enough to hold both the sauce and the noodles.
  3. Bring the sauce up to serving temperature.
  4. Once the noodles are ready, transfer them over to the pan with the ragu, and add 1 cup of the pasta water.
  5. Gently mix and toss until the sauce thickens and the noodles are coated.
  6. Serve immediately with fresh grated parmesan cheese.
  7. Enjoy!
  • Category: Beef

Keywords: beef ragu

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I hope you make it and love it!

More Delicious Cozy Meals to Make with Beef:

Have a delicious day!

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