This is my beef ragù with pappardelle and it is a keeper. Hearty, comfort food that’s perfect for the dead of winter. The word “ragù” comes from the French word “ragoutier,” which means “awake your appetite“. Ragù originated as a simple meat sauce, traditionally made with leftovers, and served as accompaniment to pasta.
There is evidence that the first ragù-style sauce may have been served as early as the 1700’s, alongside macaroni. But it was until the early 1800’s that ragù finally received some formal recognition in a cookbook by Emilia Romagna. Surprisingly, Romagna classified her ragù-style dish as more formal, and one served at feasts and other more elaborate occasions.
Nowadays, cross-culturally, ragù can mean more than just one thing. Many chefs have perfected their own ragù-style adaptations of this classic sauce and you will see it served casually as well as formal.
Famous Ragù Sauces:
Neapolitan Ragù: Meat sauce made whole cubes of meat taken from different animals: beef, veal and pork. Typically cooked slowly for several hours, until the meat become soft and tender.
Ragù alla Barese: A rich meat sauce made with sliced pork breast, lamb and beef. Also cooked slowly for a long time to and served with pasta.
Ragù alla Bolognese: The most well-known. A meat-based sauce in Italian cuisine, typical of the city of Bologna, used to dress tagliatelle al ragù and to prepare lasagne alla bolognese.
Pappardelle is my preferred pasta with this flavorful, hearty beef ragù. A flat pasta that is cut into broad ribbons, pappardelle falls has a width that falls in between tagliatelle and lasagna. The wide ribbons are very absorbent and sturdy, making it ideal for thick sauces. The word “Pappardelle” itself comes from the Italian word “pappare”, a verb whichmeans “to gobble up“, and that is exactly what I do when I make this dish.
You can make resh pappardelle pasta using a variety of different types of flours. In contrast, dried pappardelle must be made with durum wheat. Durum wheat, an especially hard variety of wheat, is considered ideal for pasta because it helps the pasta hold it’s shape, and it will stay firm even if overcooked.
Beef ragù with pappardelle is a prep-ahead slow cooker meal ideal for busy days or cold winter nights. Hearty and flavorful, this dish will soothe your winter blues after the very first bite.
Beef Ragù With Pappardelle
- 2 pounds flank steak, cut into 4 pieces
- 1 tablespoon Extra Virgin olive oil
- salt, to taste
- pepper to taste
- 1 small carrot, diced
- 1 small yellow onion, diced
- 7 garlic cloves, smashed
- 2 cups chianti
- 1 (28-ounce can) crushed tomatoes
- 3 cups good quality beef broth, divided
- 2 bay leaves
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 pound pappardelle pasta
- Parmigiano-Reggiano shavings, for garnish
- Step 1 Season the beef generously with salt and pepper, set aside.
- Step 2 Place a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil and when hot but not smoking, add the beef and sear until brown on all sides, about 2-3 minutes.
- Step 3 Reduce the heat to medium-low, add the carrots, onion and garlic and sauté until the vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes.
- Step 4 Preheat the oven to 275 degrees F.
- Step 5 Once the beef has browned, add the chianti and continue to simmer until the liquid has reduced by half, about 10-15 minutes. Add the tomatoes, 2 1/2 cup beef broth, bay leaves and thyme and mix well. Place a cover on the Dutch oven and transfer to the oven, cook for 3-3 1/3 hours until tender.
- Step 6 Remove the ragù from the oven. Locate and discard the bay leaves and thyme. Using a fork, shred the beef. Using a masher or the back of a wooden spoon, lightly mash the sauce. Taste and adjust the seasoning as needed. Stir in the remaining 1/2 cup of beef stock.
- Step 7 Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain and divide the paste among 4 serving dishes. Top the paste with a generous scoop of beef ragù. Garnish with Parmigiano-Reggiano shavings and serve hot.
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