A budget cut of beef, simple pantry ingredients, a bit of patience and pappardelle pasta. This Slow Cooked Shredded Beef Ragu Sauce with Pappardelle may be the king of all pastas. It is hands down one of my all time favourite pastas ever!
Slow Cooked Shredded Beef Ragu Sauce
There’s this annoying thing that’s been a thorn in my backside all my working life. This thing called pride.
I’m not a professional food photographer, or food stylist, videographer or a chef for that matter. But that doesn’t matter. What does matter is being proud of everything that I have on my website, knowing that even if there are people out there who can take better photos and make better videos, that I’ve done the best I can do and I’m proud of what I’m sharing.
3 years into blogging with over 500 recipes, I still get butterflies when I hit Publish on a new or updated recipe.
And having rewritten, rephotographed and made a video for this Shredded Beef Ragu which I first shared over 2 years ago, yes I’m going to have butterflies when I hit Publish on this (again!) because it’s one of my all time personal favourites. 🙂
I have a weakness for all things slow cooked, but hands down this shredded beef ragu is one of my all time favourites. I’d dare say I love it even more than traditional Ragu Alla Bolognese. It’s the shredded beef that seals the deal for me. The way it soaks up the sauce and clings to the pasta. It’s an absolute ripper!
I’m pretty sure I first learned how to make Slow Cooked Shredded Beef Ragu Sauce with Pappardelle from Lidia Bastianich. Years ago, her show “Lidia’s Italy” was one of the few cooking shows on free-to-air TV and I used to watch them over and over again. Almost everything I know about Italian cooking (including the reason why I was hunting down Kale a decade before it became “cool”) is because of Lidia Bastianich. Old school, real deal Italian. 🙂
Best Pasta to serve with Ragu
The question of what type of pasta to serve with different pasta sauces is a question that I get asked quite regularly. Generally, most pasta sauces will pair perfectly well with most common pasta types, like spaghetti, fettuccine, linguine, penne / ziti, macaroni, shells etc.
And while this Slow Cooked Shredded Beef Ragu Sauce will be great with any type of pasta, the best pasta for a rich sauce like this ragu is pappardelle. This wide, flat pasta is especially great for this recipe because the shredded beef clings to the wide strands.
For pappardelle, I am quite particular about which brand I use because I’ve had problems in the past with uneven cooking. I use San Remo which is a well known trusted brand here in Australia. The pappardelle is bundled into nests so they are fully submerged when dropped into boiling water, and the nests are loose enough so the bubbling water separates the strands and the pappardelle cooks evenly.
You’ll find San Remo pappardelle at all the major supermarkets as well as fresh produce stores and delis. And here’s a photo for size context – giant pasta in my Baby Hands…..
Oh – and the other reason San Remo Pappardelle is my pasta of choice for ragu is because it’s an egg pasta. The addition of egg makes the pappardelle stronger so it doesn’t break when tossed in the thick, rich sauce.
If you’ve just invested hours of patience, slow cooking the sauce to tender perfection, you’ll make me cry if you just dump cooked pasta in a bowl and spoon over the sauce. And the entire nation of Italy will cry with me. 😉 Please promise me you will toss the ragu with the pasta before serving! It is worth it, I promise. Look how every strand of the pappardelle is beautifully coated in that luscious ragu!! – Nagi xx
WATCH HOW TO MAKE IT
Slow Cooked Shredded Beef Ragu Sauce with Pappardelle recipe video!
Slow Cooked Shredded Beef Ragu Pasta
- 1.2kg / 2.5 lb chuck beef or other slow cooking beef cut, cut into equal 4 pieces (Note 1)
- 1 tbsp salt
- Black pepper
- 3 tbsp olive oil , separated
- 3 cloves garlic , minced
- 1 onion , diced
- 1 cup carrots , diced (Note 2)
- 1 cup celery , diced (Note 2)
- 800g / 28oz crushed canned tomatoes
- 3 tbsp tomato paste
- 2 beef bouillon cubes , crumbled (Note 3)
- 1 cup / 250ml red wine , full bodied (like merlot, cabernet sauvignon), or sub with beef broth/stock
- 1 1/2 cups / 375 ml water (Note 3)
- 3/4 tsp dried thyme or 3 sprigs fresh thyme
- 3 dried bay leaves
To Serve (Not all Sauce is used)
- 1 lb /500g dried pappardelle , or other pasta of choice (Note 4)
- Freshly grated parmesan cheese or parmigiano reggiano
- Fresh parsley , finely chopped (optional)
- Pat beef dry and sprinkle with salt and pepper
- Sear Beef: Heat 1 tbsp olive oil over high heat in a heavy based pot. Add beef and sear each piece aggressively on all sides until very browned (3 - 5 minutes in total), then remove onto a plate.
- Turn stove down to medium low and add remaining 2 tbsp of olive oil.
- Soffrito: Add garlic and onion and sauté for 2 minutes. Then add the carrots and celery and sauté slowly for 5 minutes.
- Add remaining Ragu ingredients and return the beef to the pot (including pooled juices). Turn the stove up and bring it to a simmer, then turn it down to low so it's bubbling very very gently. (Note 7)
- Slow cook: Cover the pot and let it cook for 2 hours or until beef is tender enough to shred. (Note 5 for slow cooker and pressure cooker).
- Shred: Remove beef then coarsely shred with 2 forks. Return beef to the pot. Simmer for 30 minutes until sauce is reduced and thickened - beef will soften slightly more during this step.
- Final season: Do a taste test and adjust the seasoning to your taste with salt and pepper. ALSO, add 1/2 tsp sugar if sauce is a bit sour for your taste (Note 6). Place the lid on and set aside until ready to serve (it's even better the next day and freezes well for months!).
To Serve (Note 4):
- Bring a very large pot of water with 1 tbsp of salt to the boil.
- Add pasta and cook for 1 minute less than the recommended cooking time as per the packet instructions.
- Meanwhile, place 5 cups of the Ragu in a very large fry pan, dutch oven or use 2 normal size fry pans. 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 3/4 cup of pasta water into the fry pan.
- Gently toss the pasta (I use 2 wooden spoons) for 1 to 2 minutes, until the sauce water evaporates and leaves you with a thick Ragu sauce that coats the pasta.
- Yell for your family to sit down at the dinner table because you need to serve it immediately!
- Serve with plenty of freshly grated parmesan, or even better, with parmigiano reggiano.
Today’s recipe is brought to you with thanks to San Remo. When they asked if I would consider showcasing one of their products in a recipe, it seemed meant-to-be because I wanted to republish this Slow Cooked Shredded Beef Ragu and in fact, I had made the video using San Remo pappardelle pasta before they approached me! I figured it was a sign. ❤️ San Remo is Australia’s most well known pasta brand and is available at supermarkets all around Australia, including the pappardelle I recommend using for this recipe.
LIFE OF DOZER
Pappardelle pup. (Try saying that 10 times real fast after a few glasses of wine.)