If there’s a pasta dish that feels like a hug on a plate, I think it ought to be Beef Ragu pasta. Slow-cooked till tender and melting in your mouth, it’s the perfect hearty dish with rich umami flavours to give you all the fuzzy warmth. It’s one of those served in a large pot at family meals and leaves everyone hugging their bellies by the end of it.
The definition of a ragu is a meat sauce. In a way, this recipe is quite similar to the slow-cooked Bolognese recipe, which is also considered a ragu. But this beef ragu offers a chunky meaty texture that’s somewhat more satisfying and an extra homely stew-like feel. It’s really simple to make as you only need good quality meat, aromatics & herbs, and plenty of tomato & beef stock. Most typically, it is served with pasta but if you decide you want to switch things up, it works well with rice and bread as well.
How to make Beef Ragu Pasta
Ingredients you need
- Pasta of your choice – we went with Penne here
- Soffrito – a mix of chopped onions, carrots, and celery
- Beef Chuck
- Tomato Passata
- Beef Stock – from a bouillon cube
- Dried Oregano, Bay Leaf, Salt, Black Pepper – for seasoning
- Parsley – for garnish
- Italian Hard Cheese – to serve
- Beef chuck is a popular meat cut for slow cooking and stews. It is the more affordable option but you can also use beef shortribs, rump, beef shin, brisket etc.
- Soffritto is a classic aromatics base for Italian dishes. Don’t rush it during cooking and let it release its flavours to give flavour depth to the dish.
- Browning the meat first will give the meat a nice caramelised touch in the final dish. We recommend searing the meat first before starting on the aromatics so that the soffrito can cook in the released juices of the meat to enhance flavours.
- The meat shouldn’t take longer than an hour to become tender enough to shred. Nonetheless, the longer you cook the meat, the more tender and flavourful it will be!
Slow-cooked Beef Ragu Pasta
- 250 g Pasta
- 2 tbsp Cooking Oil
- 3 cloves Garlic
- 1 tsp Chilli Flakes optional
- 500 g Soffrito mix of chopped onions, carrots & celery
- 400 g Beef Chuck*
- 500 g Tomato Passata
- 500 ml Beef Stock
- 1 tbsp Dried Oregano
- Salt & Black Pepper to taste
- 2 Bay Leaves
- Chopped Fresh Parsley for garnish
- Grated Italian Hard Cheese to serve
- Seasoned the beef chuck generously with salt.
- In a large pot, heat cooking oil over medium-high heat.2 tbsp Cooking Oil
- Sear the beef until browned on each side. The beef doesn't need to be fully cooked at this stage. Once browned, remove from pot and set aside.400 g Beef Chuck*
- Turn the heat down to medium. In the same pot, keep any remaining oil and add more if necessary, saute garlic and chilli flakes (if using) for 1-2 minutes until fragrant.3 cloves Garlic, 1 tsp Chilli Flakes
- Add in soffrito and saute for 10-15 minutes until softened & golden in colour.500 g Soffrito
- Season with salt, black pepper, and dried oregano.Salt & Black Pepper
- Add Tomato Passata, Bay Leaves, and Beef Stock. Bring to a boil then cover and simmer for at least 40 minutes. Stirring occasionally. If it gets too dry, simply add a little bit more water/stock.500 g Tomato Passata, 500 ml Beef Stock, 2 Bay Leaves
- At this point, the meat should be tender enough to shred. Break up the meat with a wooden spatula into your desired bite size. Alternatively, transfer the meat into a bowl to shred and slot it back into the pot when done.
- Closer to the time of serving, bring a large pot of water to boil and season generously with salt. Cook the pasta according to package instructions and save roughly ¼ cup pasta water.250 g Pasta
- Add cooked pasta into the ragu, along with a bit of pasta water, and toss to combine.
- Garnish with chopped parsley leaves and top with grated Italian hard cheese if you like. Serve hot.Chopped Fresh Parsley, Grated Italian Hard Cheese
- Other than beef chuck, you can also use short rib, rump, shin, brisket etc. for the recipe.
- The longer you cook the meat, the more tender and flavourful it gets!
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