Ragu is a hearty alternative to bolognese. With slow cooked meat that melts in your mouth, and a rich sauce that sticks to your chin as you slurp up a strand of pasta. A classic winter favourite in our household, pair it with a bottle of red wine.
When Roy flies out each month, the last night before he leaves I like to make him something really special for dinner. This time he requested pasta. Before making any decision I ask questions, so would you like tomato, creamy or a basic oil base sauce. Ok, so tomato wins. Would you like meat, vegetables or lentils of any kind? Beef, yes I can do that. As we narrowed the possibilities down, tonight we made a slow cooked ragu.
Over the years we have experimented with different tinned tomatoes (roma), now we only look for good quality Italian or Spanish, as they have less preservatives and are richer in flavour. While cooking I now add a tablespoon of sugar. Why, you ask? Indigestion and heartburn, always one or the other will leave either of us really unhappy after a meal tasting so good. Tomatoes are very acidic once they are cooked, the sugar balances the acid/alkaline level.
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 large onion diced
- 1 clove of garlic
- 1 chorizo sliced
- 400gm top side diced (gravy beef will also work)
- 250ml of red wine
- 2 tins of Roma tomatoes whole – good quality, Italian
- 400ml of water (or equal to one tin full)
- 2 Bayleaves
- 1 tbsp sugar
- Salt and pepper
- Pasta for serving
- In a large saucepan heat the oil on a medium heat, sauté the onions until they are transparent, adding the garlic and chorizo. Stir until the chorizo has slightly browned and started falling apart.
- Add the beef and stirring continuously until browned. Add the red wine, tomatoes, water and bayleaves. Bring to the boil, and then reduce to simmer for 2.5 – 3 hours. Stir occasionally; making sure that the meat is always covered with liquid.
- Take the ragu off the heat and get two forks and pull apart most of the meat. It should fall off easily if not return to cook further. Then stir in the sugar and season with salt and pepper.
- In the meantime cook your pasta of choice to go with the sauce. Drain and reserve a little of the cooking water.
- Return the ragu to a medium heat, pour in the pasta water and pasta and stir generously making sure not to break up the pasta. Serve with your favourite glass of red.
We found this pasta, at one of our local stores, imported from Italy. The pasta shape is so unique – if you know what it is called I would love to know.
Otherwise it is just really pretty fettucine in my eyes.
An easy to cook pasta, done in 12 minutes, with the texture just giving you a little to chew.