Monday, August 20, 2018

Beef and Balsamic Ragu

The world has been throwing everything possible at me as of late and while we have still been cooking up a storm in the kitchen and eating I have had little time to do much else besides work and be a mam.  I cannot believe my last post was 3 months ago... before we all know it the jolly man in the red suit will be coming down our chimneysI  Yikes!!!!

Everyone knows that I love reading cookbooks, cooking magazines or basically anything with a recipe in it or even on it!  Yes I have too many cookbooks, in fact the house is full and I have been banned several times from puchasing anymore!  However there is nothing more enjoyable than the feel of a cookbook, flicking through the pages reading and drooling over the stunning pictures. Not to mention finding a page of a recipe you have cooked before, once or many times, which has been splashed on or scribbled on as you've adapted the recipe.

Coles and Woolworths both produce a wonderful monthly magazine that's actually free and readily available at most service counters or checkouts. While there is quite a lot of product advertising there are always lots of really good recipes inside also.  Why am I promoting these magazines?  Well I can take them home and technically I didn't buy them so that's a win! And secondly because I have actually cooked some wonderful and tasty dinners from each of them.

When I cook Spaghetti Bolognaise it is jam packed full of vegetables much to my kids disgust.  There is always complaints about "why are there so many vegetables?" or "Can't you just make it plain?"  Listening to their pleas of agony I remembered that I had seen a recipe for a Ragu (which is pretty much the same as a Bolognaise) in a recent Woolworths magazine so I decided I would test this recipe out and see if it would appease the natives.

To my surprise it was well recieved, no complaints, no facial expressions as there were no surprise vegetable finds.  This nice, thick tomato based sauce laced with rosemary and a hint of the sweet yet acidic flavour of balsamic made for a very comforting meal.  While one would think that it had been slow cooked for hours to achieve the consistency and develop the flavours it was literally on the table within 40 minutes.

Beef and Balsamic Ragu
(recipe adapted from

Serves: 4
SmartPoints Per Serve: 14

325 gram pasta of your choice
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 red onions, cut into thin wedges
1 tablespoon finely chopped rosemary, plus extra to garnish
2 garlic cloves, crushed
500 grams lean beef mince
1/3 cup tomato paste
400 gram can crushed tomatoes
1 cup salt-reduced chicken stock
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup finely grated parmesan
garlic bread, to serve

Cook pasta in boiling, salted water according to packet instructions. Drain and set to one side.

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes or until tender and starting to caramelise.

Add rosemary, garlic and mince. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring to break up any lumps, or until mince is browned. Add tomato paste and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.

Add tomatoes, stock and vinegar and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes or until sauce thickens.

Sprinkle with Parmesan and serve with garlic bread (if desired).

(Click here for a printable version of this recipe)

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