A classic beef ragu is a wonderful staple to have in your repertoire and the perfect partner for pasta. Double (or even triple) this recipe to make a fabulously big batch, and freeze whatever you don’t use to make for an easy midweek frozen meal. We love the way the chuck or brisket works in this beef ragu, but if you’d rather use a leaner cut try lean beef mince – your cooking time will reduce slightly as it wont need to tenderise as much as a small chunk. As the old saying goes, don’t cook with wine you wouldn’t drink! So use a nice bottle to make this beef ragu really special.
- 2tbsp olive oil
- 2 onions, finely chopped
- 1 stick celery, diced
- 1 carrot, peeled and diced
- 100g pancetta or bacon lardons
- 4 cloves garlic, sliced
- bunch of thyme and oregano
- 1kg beef chuck or brisket, cut into small dice
- 275ml red or white wine
- 350ml beef stock
- 1 jar passata
- 400g spaghetti
- 60g Parmesan, grated, to serve
Heat the olive oil in a pan and fry the onions for 5mins until cooked through. Stir in the celery, carrot and pancetta or lardons. Cook for another 5mins. Add the sliced garlic and stir for a minute to cook a little, before adding the herbs and beef.
Gently brown the beef, then add the wine and bring to a gentle simmer. Reduce on a medium heat until the wine has almost entirely gone. Add the stock and passata. Simmer on a gentle heat for 30mins, allowing the sauce to reduce. Cover and cook for another 30-45mins until the beef is meltingly tender (keep checking the sauce – you might require less cooking time if your liquid evaporates quickly).
Cook the spaghetti according to packet instructions. Drain and toss through the ragu and serve with lots of freshly grated Parmesan.