Recipe: Italian Beef Ragout
This ragout is a rustic, peasant dish, which I regularly make at home. I use beef chuck – it’s a very tough part of the cow, and has a lot of good fat in it. Chuck is also great for a casserole or pie mix, and has a real depth of flavour. The recipe calls for Italian style sausages, and loads of wine to create a rich sauce that works really well with the punchy beef flavour. This is a classic, old school dish and real comfort food.
Serves 4 to 6
- Salt and pepper for seasoning
- 1kg beef chuck, diced into chunky cubes
- 1kg pork and fennel sausage, chopped into chunks
- 1 onion, chopped chunky
- 1 tbsp garlic, crushed
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 200ml red wine
- Half a bunch of basil, including the stem, chopped coarsely
- 1.5kg canned tomatoes
- 400g pepperonata (sliced red capsicums, garlic and onion, roasted)
- 2 tbsp sugar
Season the chuck cubes with a pinch of salt and pepper.
Take a heavy-based pot and heat on the stove until very hot. Add the beef chuck in small batches, searing the outside until the steak turns a caramelised colour. Transfer to a casserole dish.
Once all the meat is browned off and placed in the casserole dish, add the sausage.
In the empty pot, add the onions. Scrape the bottom of the pot to cover the onions in the meaty flavours.
Add the garlic and cook for 3 to 4 minutes.
Add tomato paste and increase the heat, sweat the tomato paste off without colour to take the rawness of the tomatoes away. Deglaze the pan with the wine scraping all the flavour from the pot into the sauce. Bring to the boil and reduce the sauce by about a third.
Add the canned tomatoes and pepperonata and stir well.
Throw in the basil, add the sugar and bring the sauce to a simmer.
Pour the sauce over the meat and cover with a lid.
Braise in oven at 150 degrees for 1.5 to 2 hours or until meat is tender. You can check for tenderness by tasting.
Serve with freshly cooked pappardelle pasta and grated parmigiano cheese.