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Beef Ragu Pasta

Beef Ragu Pasta

This dish is more commonly served with rigatoni or pappardelle because the shreds of beef "clings" better to the pasta.

Ready in: 2 hours 50 minutes

Serves: 6

Complexity: very-easy

kcal: 348

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1.2 kg beef brisket, cut into equal 4 pieces (Note 1)
3 tbsp rice bran oil, separated
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, diced
1 cup carrots, diced (optional) (Note 2)
1 cup celery, diced (optional) (Note 2)
800 g crushed canned tomatoes
3 tbsp tomato paste
2 beef bouillon cubes (Note 3)
3 cups water (Note 3)
3 bay leaves
Extra SIDS SALT & PEPPER, to taste
500 g dried spaghetti
Fresh grated parmesan cheese
Fresh parsley, fine chopped


Pat beef dry and sprinkle with SIDS SALT & PEPPER. Heat 1 tbsp oil over high heat in a heavy based pot. Add beef and sear each piece on all sides until browned (around 3 minutes in total), then remove onto a plate.
Turn stove down to medium low and add remaining 2 tbsp of oil. Add garlic and onion and sauté for 2 minutes. Add carrots and celery then sauté slowly for 5 minutes.
Add remaining Ragu ingredients, including SIDS HOT WORCESTER SAUCE (except SIDS SALT & PEPPER) and return the beef to the pot (add the juices too). Turn the heat up and bring it to a simmer, then turn it down to low (Note 7) (see Note 8 for slow cooker). Cover the pot and let it cook for 1 hr 45 minutes. Then remove the lid and let it cook for a further 30 minutes until the beef is tender enough to pull apart with forks and the liquid has reduced to a thick sauce.
Taste and adjust the seasoning with SIDS SALT & PEPPER. Also add a little but of sugar (½ tsp at a time!) if it is a bit sour for your taste (Note 6)
Turn the stove off and remove the beef from the sauce into a large bowl. Shred it coarsely with two forks then return it to the sauce. Place the lid on and set aside until ready to serve (it's even better the next day!).
To Serve:-
Bring a large pot of water with 1 tbsp of salt to the boil. Add pasta and cook for 2 minutes less than the recommended cooking time as per the packet instructions.
Meanwhile, place 5 cups of the Ragu in a very large fry pan, or use 2 normal size fry pans. (Note 4) Heat over high heat while the pasta is cooking. When the pasta is ready, transfer it directly from the pot into the fry pan using tongs. Add 1 cup of pasta water into the fry pan.
Gently toss the pasta (use 2 wooden spoons) for 1-2 minutes, until the sauce water evaporates and leaves you with a thick Ragu sauce that coats the pasta.
Serve it immediately with plenty of freshly grated parmesan, or even better, with parmigiano reggiano.
1. Cut the beef into 4 pieces that are around the size of a baseball. The cook time of this recipe assumes you do this. You can buy chuck and other slow cooking beef cut into cubes or into thick slices. If you use cubes, reduce the cooking time by 30 minutes and just be mindful that it takes slightly longer to shred because you're working with lots of pieces of beef. If using thick pre sliced beef, just use them as is and reduce the cooking time by around 15 minutes or so.
2. Celery and carrots sautéed with the onions and garlic is called "soffritto" in Italian cooking. It is a very traditional base for many Italian dishes. Cooking them slowly over low heat releases their flavour and adds an extra dimension to this dish. BUT it is optional!
3. You could use 2 cups of beef stock and 1 cup of water, instead of 3 cups of water and 2 beef bouillon cubes.
4. You need a really large fry pan to make this using an entire 500 g packet of pasta because you need the space to toss the sauce and pasta together with the pasta water. This is called "emulsifying" and it is a KEY secret to awesome pastas. Italian Nonna's will roll over in their graves if you don't do this! So if you don't have a large fry pan, do this step in two fry pans. I can't stress enough what a difference emulsifying makes to pastas!
5. This can be made in a slow cooker - 6 hours on low - but at the end, you will need to remove the beef and transfer the sauce to a pot and simmer until it reduces.
6. The sweetness of canned tomatoes differs depending on brand (typically more expensive = sweeter). So adjust the sweetness of your sauce to your taste by using sugar - ½ tsp at a time.
7. Turn the heat of the stove down to a level where it is bubbling very, very gently - a few bubbles here and there. This usually LOW on Gas Stoves but might be medium low on electric stoves. If it is too high - i.e. simmering rapidly (lots of bubbles appearing rapidly) - then you run the risk of the bottom burning. If it is too low, it will take longer to cook.
8. To make this in a slow cooker, cook on LOW for 6 hours (even 8 hours is fine, but any longer and the beef will turn to "mush" - yes it is possible to overcook things in the slow cooker!).