Braised Beef Ragu over Rigatoni

In Italian cuisine, ragù is a meat-based sauce that is commonly served with pasta. This recipe takes a delicious chuck roast and breaks it down in a rich tomato sauce, the perfect comfort food for a family meal. To start you will want to get your chuck roast to room temperature. Then you want to sprinkle all sides generously with coarse salt and pepper, you will start seeing the beef glisten, the salt pulls moisture out of the beef and dissolves in this liquid creating a brine on the outside that then gets absorbed back into the meat. This process is really important as it breaks down the lean muscle making the meat juicier and more tender. This is why you always want to salt and then let your beef sit out for a while so it can soak in all that delicious flavor, also by creating a brine on the outside it will create more of a crust on your meat as you cook it.

Now the fun really begins and you will start to fill your entire house with an amazing aroma! Add the onion, celery, carrot, garlic, rosemary, sage, balsamic vinegar, basil and oregano. Using a spoon or spatula stir the ingredients and coat them in the juice, butter and oil in your pot, you really want all the flavors to infuse into the ingredients.

Reduce the heat to medium-low and saute for 5 minutes, make sure you stir every once in a while so you don’t burn your vegetables/herbs and also to keep coating everything in the combined flavors you are creating. 

Then add the tomato paste and continue cooking 2 more minutes.

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What you need for this recipe:

  • 2.5 lb beef chuck roast
  • Coarse salt and fresh cracked pepper
  • 2 tbsp Olive Oil
  • tbsp Butter divided
  • 1 med Onion chopped
  • 1 Celery stalk cut in thirds
  • 2 tbsp Balsamic vinegar
  • 3 cloves Garlic- pressed (or minced garlic from jar)
  • 2 sprigs Rosemary
  • 2 sprigs Sage
  • 1 tbsp Chopped basil (preferably fresh but can be dried)
  • 1 tbsp Oregano
  • 1 Cup Dry red wine
  • 28 ounce Can crushed tomatoes
  • 3 tbsp Tomato paste
  • 1 cup Beef stock
  • 1/4 cup Fresh chopped Italian parsley
  • lb Rigatoni ( I used Rao’s Homemade – Imported from Italy)
  • 1/2 cup Fresh parmesan cheese

Once you have let your chuck roast sit, prepare your Dutch oven or oven safe pot. Heat your 2 tbsp of olive oil and one tbsp of butter on medium-high heat, once it’s hot add your beef searing on all sides. 

You want your beef to be brown and crispy, really focusing on getting all sides. Adjust your heat if necessary depending on how the beef is cooking. 

Once the beef is nicely browned remove meat and transfer to a plate. 

Pour in your wine, make sure you scrap the bottom to get all the brown bits off and cook 5 minutes on medium heat stirring occasionally or until the wine starts to reduce, then fold in the crushed tomatoes and beef stock.

Now its time to return the beef and the delicious juices to the pot. Turn them over in the sauce, making sure they are well coated. Cover your pot/dutch oven and put it in the oven. The sauce and meat will finish in the oven. Bake at 325 for 2-3 hours, this long braising period will ensure the meat is tender and falls apart when you eat it; so delicious. Around the 1 hour point you will want to stir then check for doneness at 2 hours. You want the beef to be able to shred easily but not mushy.

Remove the pot from the oven, carefully with tongs remove the beef from the sauce so you can shred it. Remove the carrots, celery and herbs from the sauce and continue to cook the sauce 15 more mintues on the stove top, uncovered, allowing the sauce to reduce and thicken- you can even add a couple TBPS of flour if you are experiencing a hard time getting it to reduce. Using two forks shred the beef into smaller chunks (not as shredded as you would a pulled pork). 

This is the best part, taste the sauce and adjust the flavor with salt and pepper. **NOTE: Some canned tomatoes have a very acidic/metallic taste in order to cut this you can add a tsp of granulated sugar at a time, combine thoroughly and taste after each teaspoon. By doing this it actually brings out more of the tomato flavor and reduces the metallic/acidity that canned tomatoes have.

You’re almost done! Add the shredded beef to the sauce along with the other tablespoon of butter. 

Serve over rigatoni, your favorite pasta or what you have on hand. Top with fresh parsley and parmesan cheese!

This dish is absolutely delicious, perfect for a cold night! .

Braised Beef Ragu with Rigatoni

Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 3 hrs
Total Time 3 hrs 30 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian

Equipment

  • Dutch Oven or Large Oven Safe Pot
  • Pot

Ingredients
  

  • 2.5 lb beef chuck roast
  • Coarse salt and fresh cracked pepper
  • 2 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 2 tbsp Butter divided
  • 1 med Onion chopped
  • 1 Celery stalk cut in thirds
  • 2 tbsp Balsamic vinegar
  • 3 cloves Garlic- pressed (or minced garlic from jar)
  • 2 sprigs Rosemary
  • 2 sprigs Sage
  • 1 tbsp Chopped basil (preferably fresh but can be dried)
  • 1 tbsp Oregano
  • 1 Cup Dry red wine
  • 28 ounce Can crushed tomatoes
  • 3 tbsp Tomato paste
  • 1 cup Beef stock
  • 1/4 cup Fresh chopped Italian parsley
  • 1 lb Rigatoni ( I used Rao's Homemade - Imported from Italy)
  • 1/2 cup Fresh parmesan cheese

Instructions
 

  • Bring the beef to room temperature then cut it into 4 pieces. Pat it dry with paper towels, then generously season it on all sides with coarse salt and pepper.
  • Add the olive oil and one tablespoon of butter to a Dutch oven or large, oven-safe pot over medium high heat and once it’s hot, add the beef searing on all sides and ends then transfer the beef to a plate.
  • Add the onion, celery, carrot, garlic, rosemary, sage, balsamic vinegar, basil and oregano. Reduce the heat to medium-low and saute 5 minutes then add the tomato paste and continue cooking 2 more minutes.
  • Pour in the wine scraping the bottom to get all the brown bits off and cook 5 minutes on medium heat stirring occasionally or until the wine starts to reduce, then fold in the crushed tomatoes and beef stock.
  • Return beef and their juices to pot, turning them over in the sauce then cover bake at 325 degrees for 2-3 hours, stirring at the 1 hour point and checking for doneness at 2 hours. You want the beef to be able to shred easily, but not mushy.
  • Remove the pot from the oven and take the beef out of the pot for shredding. Remove the carrots, celery and herbs then continue cooking the sauce 15 more minutes (stovetop) uncovered allowing the sauce to reduce and thicken more while you shred the beef. Using 2 forks shred the beef, I like to keep it to bigger pieces and don't shred it down as much as you would a pulled pork.
  • Taste the sauce and adjust for salt and pepper.
    NOTE: Some canned tomatoes have a very acidic/metallic taste in order to cut this you can add a tsp of granulated sugar at a time, combine thoroughly and taste after each teaspoon. By doing this it actually brings out more of the tomato flavor and reduces the metallic/acidity that canned tomatoes have.
  • Add the shredded beef to the sauce along with the other tablespoon of butter.
  • Serve with your rigatoni ( you can really use any pasta you like). Top with the fresh parsley and parmesan cheese.
Keyword italian, ragu, rigatoni, Sage, tomato

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