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For me, nothing says ‘family meal’ more than a gorgeous pot of meaty ragu. If you whip it up a few days ahead, time will only make it tastier, and then all you have to do is cook up some pasta, mix it with the ragu, shower it with Parmesan and look like a legendary Italian Nonna.
500 grams beef brisket, cut into large chunks
500 grams chuck steak, cut into large chunks
200 grams pork and fennel sausages, chopped
1 onion, diced
5 cloves garlic, sliced
250 grams button mushrooms, very finely diced
2 carrots, grated
3 celery stalks, diced
2 tablespoons freshly chopped rosemary
4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup red wine
4 x 400 gram tins plum tomatoes
3 bay leaves
600 grams pappardelle pasta (if serving 6, otherwise allow 100 grams per person)
Parmesan for grating
30cm casserole pot with lid
Prep time: 25 minutes
Cooking time 5 hours
Preheat the oven to 130°C fan bake.
Heat two tablespoons of olive oil in the casserole pot over medium heat. Add the beef and sausages and cook until browned all over. Remove the meat from the pot and set aside. Add the onion, garlic, mushrooms, carrots, celery and rosemary and cook for 8 minutes until softened. Once tender, add the balsamic vinegar and tomato paste and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the wine, mix well and cook for 2-3 minutes. (This lets the alcohol burn off while allowing the wine to add big flavours to the dish.)
Add the tinned tomatoes plus one extra tin filled with water and the bay leaves. Stir together, season to taste and return the meat to the pot. Bring to the boil, then cover and place in the oven for 4½ hours.
Remove the dish from the oven and gently lift any large cuts of meat onto a plate. Shred them with two forks, and return them to the pot. Use a wooden spoon to find the pieces of sausage and squash them up against the side of the pot so they crumble into small pieces. Stir everything until well combined then leave to rest while you cook the pasta.
Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil and cook the pasta to al dente. Drain and divide between plates, top with a generous helping of the ragu and garnish with a shower of Parmesan.