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Effervescent storyteller.

Welcome to My Modern Diary, an electronic journal filled with tales of nostalgic cuisine, wistful wanderings & personal recollections by Sarah Orman.

Beef Ragù

Beef Ragù

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My family have always been big pasta eaters. As I write this I can hear my dad "mmm-ing" at his favorite dish; seafood linguine, the buttery sauce dribbling down his chin as he gets to work peeling a gargantuan prawn or releasing a juicy mussel from the grip of its shell. If there is seafood linguine on the menu, I can pretty much guarantee my dad is ordering it.

While I also enjoy a delicious bowl of fresh seafood pasta, throughout winter I crave bigger, heartier sauces that have been slow-cooked for hours. My favorite is a simple Southern Italian beef ragù, a dish that braises a large cut of meat until it's falling apart and is the texture of soft butter. In addition to creating melt-in-the-mouth meat, slowly cooking this simple list of ingredients at a low temperature allows the ragù flavors to deepen and intensify. What you're left with is a pasta sauce that is rich, bold and bursting with intense flavor, a dish that will make even the coldest of winter evenings warmer.

I have tried many ragù recipes, believing that such a full-flavored sauce required a list of ingredients as long as my arm. The truth is it's really quite simple; a "soffritto" {lightly browned minced vegetables}, meat and a tomato sauce. Other than one or two not-out-of-the-ordinary additions, that's it.

Besides being relatively simple to prepare and full of robust flavor, another huge advantage of this dish is that it can be prepared in advance. In fact, I personally find making ragù a day or two ahead more desirable; I sometimes don't enjoy the fruits of my labor the day-of. I also find that leaving the sauce in the fridge overnight results in a deeper flavor profile.

So here it is. My go-to ragù recipe that has proven to be delicious time and time again. As the recipe suggests, don't be afraid of really browning the meat, this is key in imparting big flavor.

I like to make my own tomato sauce, which is incredibly easy, but a high quality store bought version works also. I also make my own pasta {recipe to come at a later date}, however store-bought fresh pasta is a great alternative and is readily available in most major grocery stores.

Beef Ragù
Recipe Type: Entree
Author: Sarah Orman
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 boneless chuck roast of beef, 1-1.5 kg
  • 3 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 2 medium-sized carrots, finely chopped
  • 2 medium-sized celery ribs, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 3/4 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
  • 3/4 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary
  • 240 ml {1 cup} dry white wine
  • 240 ml {1 cup} tomato sauce, I use homemade sauce, however a high quality store-bought version will work also
  • 240 ml {1 cup} water
  • Sea salt, for seasoning
  • Freshly ground black pepper, for seasoning
  • 455 g fresh or dried pasta, whichever you prefer
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese for garnish
Instructions
  1. Prepare the vegetables for the soffritto. This will take some time as the onion, carrots and celery should be very finely chopped.
  2. Heat the oven to 325°F/165°C.
  3. Season the chuck roast on all sides with salt and pepper.
  4. Heat the vegetable oil in a Dutch oven or an ovenproof, heavy-bottomed pot with a tight fitting lid over medium-high heat.
  5. When the oil is hot, put the roast in the pot and brown evenly on all sides. Don't be scared to really brown the meat; this is where the flavor starts!
  6. When evenly browned, remove from the pot and set aside to rest.
  7. Reduce the heat to medium, add the soffritto {onions, carrots, celery and garlic} and sauté, stirring frequently for about 15-20 minutes until the vegetables are tender and beginning to brown. Again, browned vegetables = flavor!
  8. Stir in the thyme and rosemary and then add a little white wine to deglaze all the brown bits from the bottom of the pot.
  9. Stir in the remaining wine, tomato sauce and water. Season with salt and pepper.
  10. Return the meat to the pot, along with any juices that may have accumulated during resting.
  11. Bring the liquid to a simmer, cover, and then place the pot inside the pre-heated oven.
  12. Braise the meat, turning it every 45 minutes or so, for approximately 4 hours, or until the meat is fork tender and the sauce has thickened. Don't worry if it takes longer, you can always add a little water to the sauce if it gets too dry.
  13. When ready, remove the meat from the sauce and shred on a cutting board.
  14. Once shredded, return the meat to the pot, cover and keep warm while you cook the pasta according to the manufacturers instructions.
  15. When the pasta is al dente, drain, reserving 240 ml {1 cup} of the cooking water.
  16. Return the drained pasta to the pan in which it was cooked then spoon about two-thirds of the ragù over the noodles.
  17. Gently toss the pasta and sauce to combine thoroughly, adding some of the pasta cooking water to loosen the sauce.
  18. Transfer the dressed pasta to a large warmed serving dish or individual bowls and spoon the remaining sauce over the top.
  19. Sprinkle with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and serve immediately.

 

 

 

 

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