What is ragu meat? Google: “Most people think of Ragu as a tomato sauce, but it’s actually a meat-based (veal, beef, lamb, pork, fish or poultry) sauce with a small amount of tomato sauce added to it. It uses white wine and less tomatoes. Beef, sofrito, pancetta, onions, tomato paste, meat broth, white wine, and cream or milk”.
“The word “ragu” is believed to have made its way to Italy sometime after Napoleon’s invasion and occupation in the late 18th century. Beef brisket or roast is the best cut for ragu. It’s a bowl of succulent, ruddy pasta, steaming hot and savoury with meat juices, concentrated tomatoes and aromatics. A dollop of extra sauce on top, a dusting of cheese and parsley, and now you’ve made pasta with meat sauce at its best”.
“Italian-Americans connote “gravy” to mean a sauce with meat in it. But Italian chefs will tell you that is what’s called a Ragu. In Italy, a good pasta with ragù is the go-to meal in home kitchens and trattorias. It is as essential as an asthmatic’s inhaler or a reformed smoker’s vape pen: there are always the makings for it close at hand, a pot of it already bubbling on the stove on Sunday morning, or a mason jar of it being pulled from the freezer”.
Today, I am recreating from Nigella Lawson TV Program which I watched awhile ago. As usual I love to explore and create differently the ingredients and here’s mine creation. I know ragu beef serve with linguine or pappardelle. I don’t make my own pasta as I don’t have the pasta machine. Bought penne and added leftovers macaroni as I don’t like wasting food.
My beef ragu is delicious, steaming hot and savoury with meat juices, and has Italian Seasoning fragrant satisfying to my family and my souls. I am glad that it turned out perfectly and enjoyable to eat. Let’s cook!!!
500 g lean braising steak, minced
250 g arugula, finely chopped
250 g penne
100 g macaroni
200 g mushrooms, finely chopped
100 g crushed tomatoes
50 g butter
1 small carrot, cut into small bites
5 Tbs passata
1 Tbs tomato puree
1 Tbs garlic, minced
1 Tbs olive oil
2 1/4 c beef stock
75 ml milk
50 ml white wine
balsamic vinegar (OPT)
water to cook pasta
Place both pasta in microwave safe bowl with enough water and cook for 18-20 minutes on high. Drain and set aside. Heat the butter, oil and garlic in a deep pan and cook until soft about 30 seconds. Add carrot, mushrooms and cook until soft about 4 minutes. Next add arugula, cook about 2 minutes and mix well with carrot.
Add minced beef and cook until browned. Pour in the wine and boil briskly for 2-3 minutes, until the liquid has almost evaporated. Now add the crushed tomatoes, passata, puree, Italian seasoning and half of the beef stock about 1 c and a pinch of salt and pepper and cook for 5 minutes, tossing frequently.
Meantime, microwave milk about 2-3 minutes. Pour the milk over the meat and mix well to combined. Cook, uncovered, over the lowest heat for at least 2 hours topping up the rest of the stock about 1 1/4 c as it reduces. The ragu should not boil, but just break a few bubbles on the surface. Stir occasionally during cooking and taste and adjust the seasoning, add a dash or two balsamic vinegar at the end. Next add in cooked pasta, mix well to combined. Spoon on to serving bowls and serve with a glass of red wine. Enjoy!!!!
Note: Check on the ragu every now and then to stir it and add extra stock or water if needed. You may use red wine instead of white wine. Use can add celery, and onion instead of garlic. You can add minced pork half and half with minced beef. You can omit passata and just use puree or crushed tomatoes.
Don’t rush cooking or you won’t get the real depth of flavour. Leftover can be stored in the fridge for 3-4 days and reheated. You may need to loosen with extra water or stock. You can also freeze this ragu just thaw completely before reheating.