Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Slow Cooked Beef and Pancetta Ragu

Italian food - food for the soul.  Let's face it everyone loves pasta even those low-carb diet followers secretly love pasta.  I honestly have never met anyone that does not like pasta.  Have you?
This wonderful Italian number shines at the top of the comfort food list... slow cooked tender beef with pancetta in a thick tomato and herb sauce is perfect especially on a cold winter's night. 
Now this recipe does take quite a few hours on the stove top but I am sure that it would work perfectly well in a slow cooker.  I was home all day so it was easy for me to keep an eye on the pot on the stove top.  A slow cooker would definitely be easier though.
Fresh thyme and rosemary are perfectly placed in this sauce - please ensure you do try and use fresh herbs anytime you can the chance.  The flavour is much fresher and bolder than dried herbs in packets.
This ragu can be made ahead of time.  Allow to cool and it will last in the fridge for up to 3 days in a sealed container.  It's perfectly good to freeze also. 

Slow Cooked Beef and Pancetta Ragu
(recipe adapted from Taste.com)

Serves: 8
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1.25kilograms gravy beef, trimmed, cut into 3cm pieces
1 large brown onion, chopped
2 medium carrots, finely chopped
1 red capsicum, finely chopped
100 gram pancetta, finely chopped
3 sprigs fresh rosemary
4 sprigs fresh thyme
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tablespoons plain flour
3/4 cup red wine
1/3 cup tomato paste
1 cup beef stock
410 gram can crushed tomatoes
750 grams dried pappardelle pasta
50 grams  butter, chopped
Grated parmesan to serve
Chilli flakes to serve (optional)

Heat half the oil in a large heavy-based flameproof casserole dish over medium-high heat. Cook the beef, in batches, until browned all over. Transfer to a bowl.

Reduce heat to medium. Heat remaining oil in same dish. Add onion, carrot, capsicum, pancetta, rosemary and thyme. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes or until vegetables just begin to soften.

Add garlic. Cook for 1 minute or until fragrant. Add flour. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute or until vegetables are coated. Stir in wine. Bring to a simmer. Simmer for 1 minute or until reduced slightly. Add tomato paste, stock and tomatoes. Stir to combine.

Return beef to dish. Stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Cover. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 3 hours, or until meat is very tender and sauce thickens. Use the back of a spoon or a potato masher to break up meat.

Cook pasta following packet directions. Drain well. Return to pan. Add butter. Toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper.
Serve ragu on pasta, sprinkled with parmesan and chilli, if desired.

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