This Beef Ragu brings the essence of comfort food to your table, combining succulent chuck beef with a robust tomato sauce brimming with vegetables. It’s an ideal dish to impress your guests or to indulge in a cozy, family dinner.
The Best Beef Ragu Recipe
This Beef Ragu is my secret weapon for wowing guests and comforting the family on a cold day. Every bite is a symphony of flavors, with fall-apart tender beef and a hearty tomato sauce bursting with fresh veggies. It’s not just a dish; it’s a culinary experience that turns an ordinary meal into a memorable feast.
Why You’ll Love This Beef Ragu
- Incredibly Tender Beef: The chuck roast in this recipe becomes so tender and flavorful after slow cooking, making every bite melt in your mouth.
- Hearty and Nutritious: Packed with nutritious vegetables and a rich tomato sauce, this Beef Ragu is both satisfying and good for you, perfect for a wholesome family meal.
- Easy to Make: Despite its impressive flavors, this recipe is surprisingly simple to prepare, making it a great choice for both experienced cooks and beginners looking to impress.
Ingredients You’ll Need
- Beef Chuck Roast: The star of the dish, chuck roast becomes incredibly tender when cooked slowly. For a leaner option, try using sirloin.
- Salt and Pepper: These seasonings enhance the natural flavors of the beef and veggies. Feel free to adjust the amounts to suit your taste.
- Olive Oil: Used for searing the beef and sautéing the veggies. Canola or vegetable oil are good substitutes.
- Onion: Adds a sweet, aromatic base to the sauce. Shallots can be used for a milder flavor.
- Garlic: Brings a pungent, earthy flavor. If you’re out of fresh garlic, garlic powder can work in a pinch.
- Carrot: Adds sweetness and texture, and it’s also a great way to sneak in more veggies. Parsnips are a good alternative.
- Crushed Tomatoes: Forms the base of the ragu sauce. Diced tomatoes can be used for a chunkier texture.
- Italian Seasoning: A convenient blend of herbs that adds depth. You can mix your own with basil, oregano, rosemary, and thyme.
- Tomato Paste: Intensifies the tomato flavor. In a bind, a few extra crushed tomatoes can be used, though the sauce might be less rich.
- Red Wine: Adds acidity and depth. For a non-alcoholic version, use beef broth or red wine vinegar diluted with water.
- Beef Broth: Enhances the meaty flavor of the ragu. Chicken or vegetable broth will also work.
- Sugar: Balances the acidity of the tomatoes. Honey or maple syrup can be used as natural sweeteners.
- Pasta: Pappardelle is recommended for its ability to hold the sauce, but other types like tagliatelle or fettuccine work well too.
- Parmesan Cheese: Adds a salty, umami flavor when grated over the finished dish. Romano or Asiago cheese are good alternatives.
- Fresh Parsley: Used as a garnish, it adds a pop of color and freshness. Basil or cilantro could also be used depending on your flavor preference.
How To Make Beef Ragu
This Beef Ragu a straightforward recipe with steps that are a breeze to follow. Trust me, you’ll love how this turns out!
Sear The Beef
First up, let’s get our beef chuck roast pieces seasoned with salt and pepper. We’ll heat some olive oil in our Dutch oven and sear the beef on all sides. You want it nicely browned for that extra flavor. Once done, we’ll set the beef aside on a plate.
Sauté The Veggies
Now, in the same pot, add a bit more olive oil. It’s time to toss in the chopped onion, minced garlic, and chopped or shredded carrot. Let’s sauté these for about 5 minutes. You’ll know it’s ready when the onion looks soft and smells amazing.
Add The Goodies And Simmer
Next, we’ll add the crushed tomatoes, Italian seasoning, tomato paste, red wine, beef broth, and a pinch of sugar into the pot. Give everything a good stir to combine. Bring it to a simmer, then carefully add the beef back into the pot. We’ll then reduce the heat, cover the pot, and let it cook slowly. This is where the magic happens – the beef gets super tender!
Shred The Beef And Final Simmer
After a couple of hours, take the beef out and shred it with forks. It should fall apart easily. Put the shredded beef back in the pot, give it a stir, and let it simmer for another 30 minutes. This helps the flavors meld together and the sauce to thicken up just right.
Serve And Enjoy
Finally, cook your pasta according to the package instructions. Once it’s ready, serve the ragu over the pasta, and don’t forget to garnish with freshly grated Parmesan and chopped parsley.
Frequently Asked Questions
Absolutely! After you’ve browned the beef and sautéed the veggies, transfer everything into your slow cooker. Cook on low for 6-8 hours. The slow cooker method is fantastic for developing deep flavors.
No worries! You can substitute the red wine with additional beef broth. This keeps the richness in the sauce while making it alcohol-free.
Yes, you can make a vegetarian version by substituting the beef with a mix of hearty vegetables like mushrooms, bell peppers, and zucchini. Use vegetable broth instead of beef broth.
Sure! While chuck roast is ideal for its marbling and tenderness when slow-cooked, you can use other cuts like brisket or round roast. Just keep in mind that the cooking time might vary slightly based on the cut.
- Deglaze the Pot: After browning the beef, use a bit of the red wine or broth to deglaze the pot. This means scraping off the browned bits stuck at the bottom, which are packed with flavor and will enrich your sauce.
- Cut Beef Uniformly: Ensure your beef chuck is cut into even pieces. This promotes even cooking, so all pieces become equally tender.
- Balancing Acidity: If your sauce tastes too acidic after adding the tomatoes, a touch more sugar can help balance it out. Remember, it’s all about finding that perfect balance to suit your taste.
- Herb Variations: While Italian seasoning is great, experimenting with fresh herbs like rosemary or thyme can add a fresh depth of flavor. Add these herbs in the last hour of cooking to keep their flavors vibrant.
After letting the beef ragu cool down to room temperature, transfer it to an airtight container and keep it in the fridge, where it will stay fresh for 3 to 4 days. For longer storage, the ragu can be frozen. Just put it in a freezer-safe container or a heavy-duty freezer bag. It’ll keep well for about 3 months. When you’re ready to enjoy it again, thaw it overnight in the fridge and then reheat it on the stove over medium heat until it’s warmed through.
Craving More Comforting Pasta?
- Greek Chicken Pasta
- One Pot Creamy Parmesan Pasta
- Cheeseburger Hamburger Helper
- Cheesy Taco Pasta
- Easy Pasta Alfredo
- Pasta Puttanesca
- Pasta Alla Norma
- Spaghetti and Meatballs
- Aglio e Olio
- Classic Spaghetti and Meatballs
Craving More? Follow Along:
- 3 pound beef chuck roast cut into 6 equal pieces
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 6 cloves garlic minced
- 1 medium carrot finely chopped or shredded
- 28 ounce crushed tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
- 3 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 cup red wine
- 2 cups beef broth
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 pound pasta such as pappardelle
- Parmesan cheese freshly grated
- fresh parsley chopped
- Pat the beef dry with papertowels then season with the salt and pepper.
- Heat the 1 tbsp of olive oil in a Dutch oven or heavy based pot. Add the beef to the pot and sear it on all sides until browned, over high heat. Transfer the beef to a plate.
- Turn the heat down to a medium and add the remaining 1 tbsp of olive oil. Add the onion, garlic and carrot to the pot. Saute for at least 5 minutes or until the onion softens.
- Add the remaining ingredients, stir to combine, then bring it to a simmer. Add the beef back to the pot and turn the heat down to a low. Cover the pot and let it cook for 2 hours or until the beef is tender enough to shred.
- Remove the beef from the pot and shredd it with 2 forks. Return it back to the pot and stir. Taste for seasoning and adjust with salt and pepper as necessary. Simmer for another 30 minutes until the sauce reduced a bit and thickened.
- Serve over pasta with parmesan cheese and parsley.
Tips & Notes:
- Cut of Beef: While chuck roast is ideal for its tenderness, other cuts like brisket or round roast can also be used. Just adjust cooking times accordingly.
- Wine Substitute: If you prefer not to use wine, you can replace it with an equal amount of beef broth to maintain the rich flavor of the sauce.
- Vegetable Variations: Feel free to add other vegetables like bell peppers or celery for extra nutrition and flavor.
- Herb Options: Italian seasoning works great, but using a combination of fresh herbs like rosemary, thyme, or basil can add an extra layer of freshness.