Ragu with Pappardelle

 Typically spaghetti is thought of as a quick meal. Cook some hamburger, pour over a bottle of sauce, all while boiling spaghetti noodle. Add a quick salad and you have dinner. And not a terrible one really, minus the bottled sauce. You just can't get a really good bottled sauce that doesn't need at least some doctoring.

 Enter ragu, no not the bottled stuff, a real slow cooked sauce with stewed beef. Cook it down long and slow and let the tomatoes caramelize and the beef get fall apart tender. Make sure when you serve this you toss the pasta with some of the sauce before topping with the rest. And of course be sure to have lots of cheese on hand.

1 1/2 lb large chunks beef, anything appropriate for a long cooking time
Olive oil
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 large onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 large carrot, grated
1 Tbsp flour
3 Tbsp tomato paste
1/4 c. white wine vinegar
1 1/2 c. chicken broth
2 tsp beef bouillon
1 can crushed tomatoes
1 can petit diced tomatoes
1 bay leaf
1 sprig rosemary
1 sprig thyme

Pappardelle pasta, 500 grams or 16 oz.
Grated cheese

 Pre-heat your oven to 325*F

Drizzle a generous amount of olive oil in to a thick bottom, oven safe dish with a lid. Season the beef with salt and pepper and sear on two sides. Work in batches to not over crowd the pan and remove the meat once all the pieces are done.

Add the onion and garlic to the pan and saute until it starts to smell really good, unless you don't like garlic and onions, then about 2 minutes. Add the carrot and keep cooking until the carrot starts to get soft and the onions take on that orange color. 

Add the flour and tomato paste, cook that some more. Probably about 3 or 4 minutes until they are combined and the flour is somewhat cooked.  Turn the heat up and add the vinegar. It will smell really acidic at first, but simmer to reduce and mellow it out somewhat. Once it's thick add the chicken broth and bouillon is needed.  And simmer again, reducing the heat back to medium and simmer until it's thick. 

Stir in the tomatoes, reserved beef, bay leaf, spring of rosemary, and sprig of thyme.  Place the lid on your pot and place in the oven. I suppose a crock pot would work here as well, I just don't happen to like the texture as much and prefer the oven.

Then you get to just leave it for 3 or 4 hours.  

Remove the meat from the tomato sauce and let rest a few minutes until it's cool enough to handle. Shred the beef and remove the fat. Remove the bay leaf, thyme, and rosemary and then return the beef to the pan. 

Meanwhile, cook the pasta in salted water until tender. Make sure when tossing the sauce with the pasta that you don't stir or work it to hard. You don't want to break up the pasta too much.


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