Helloooo, lets talk about ragu!
Specifically this delicious herb, tomato and red wine beef ragu. A good ragu is one of those wonderful dishes that are both hearty and refined as well as being relatively simple to prepare. It is the perfect main for a dinner party as you can make it a couple of hours before your guests arrive and have it bubbling away in the oven until you are ready to serve it – no muss, no fuss! I would not suggest cooking this as a weeknight supper as the longer you leave it to cook the more tender the meat and the greater the infusion of flavours; it deserves to be given the time to ripen (not to deter you from cooking!).
If you follow my blog and make my recipes you will notice that for me herbs are one of the great pillars of cooking – basically I am all about the big flavours! This ragu is no different. I am back at my family home at the moment for the holidays and fully taking advantage of the amazing selection of herbs my parents grow. It is so satisfying being able to pop out into my garden and grab a handful of thyme instead of having to run to the shops (maybe the old hunter gatherer instincts are kicking in). The three herbs I stole from the garden today are thyme, sage and rosemary. I cook them in two ways: stirred into the ragu itself and pan fried in oil and bread to make the herb crumb which gives a little crunch and punch of flavour.
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 2 hours
- 400g stewing beef, cut into bite sized chunks
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 red onion, finely diced
- 1 carrot, finely diced
- 1 celery stick, finely diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 400g chopped tomatoes
- 2 tbsp tomato puree
- 1 cup of red wine
- 2 tbsp rosemary, finely chopped
- 2 tbsp sage, finely chopped
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tbsp thyme leaves
- salt and pepper
- 1 tsp sugar
- 200 ml beef stock
- 2 slices good quality bread
- 400 g pappardelle
- Preheat your oven to 170 degrees.
- Prep all of your veg according to how it is listed above. Season the beef generously with salt and pepper.
- In a casserole dish (or pan that is suitable for hob and oven) heat up 2 tbsp of olive oil on a high heat. Place the beef into the pan and cook until all sides are lightly browned.
- Add the onion, carrot, celery, garlic, bay leaf, 1 tbsp rosemary, 1 tbsp sage and 1 tsp thyme leaves and stir together. Pour in the glass of wine and cook for a couple of minutes before adding the tomatoes, puree, sugar and stock. At this point you should turn the heat down to medium and let the sauce simmer for 30 minutes with the lid on.
- Remove the pan from the heat, remove the lid and place a square of baking parchment over the sauce. Place the lid back on and cook for a further 1 1/2 hours in the oven. N.B. timings may vary from oven to oven – the sauce should have reduced into a thick consistency – see pictures above for desired texture. If after 1 1/2 hours the sauce has not reduced enough place it back in the oven and check every 15 minutes or so.
- In a blender combine the bread and remaining herbs. Generously season with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a frying pan and fry the crumbs until golden.
- Cook the pasta according to packet instructions and then drain. Take the beef out of the oven and stir the pasta in until combined and sprinkle the breadcrumbs (and a generous helping of parmesan on top.
I hope that you enjoy reading and making this recipe. Let me know in the comments what you think and do not forget to subscribe/ follow wishtodish to see more recipes from me!