RECIPE: Italian Beef Ragu

cook time: 4.5 hours  |  Makes 6-8 servings  |  From Le Creuset

 

The ultimate comfort food, short ribs become meltingly tender when braised for hours in a bath of red wine and balsamic vinegar. They would make the perfect meal for a cozy, Sunday supper, especially when served with buttery mashed potatoes to soak up every bit of the sauce.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds beef chuck, 2 inch cubes
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • Freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 ounces pancetta, diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup chopped sundried tomatoes in oil
  • 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 3/4 cup beef stock
  • 3 sprigs fresh oregano, plus 1 tablespoon chopped
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme, plus 1 teaspoon chopped
  • 1 fresh bay leaf
  • 1 small hunk of parmesan rind (about 1 to 2 inches)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan
  • Cooked pasta or rice

Instructions

Preheat oven to 300 ˚F. Season beef all over with 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and freshly cracked pepper.

Heat oil in Dutch Oven over medium heat until simmering. Working in 2 to 3 batches, sear beef on all sides until deeply browned. Remove to a bowl. Reduce heat to medium-low. Add pancetta and cook until lightly browned and the fat has rendered, about 5 minutes. Add onion, garlic, and pepper flakes and sauté 4-5 minutes until soft. Add tomato paste and cook 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add sundried tomatoes and crushed tomatoes and bring to a gentle simmer for 5 minutes. Add wine and beef stock and simmer another 5 minutes. Taste and season with remaining 1 teaspoon salt and freshly cracked pepper. Nestle beef in the pot, including any juices that may have accumulated in the bowl.

Make a bouquet garni by tying together thyme and oregano sprigs and bay leaf with kitchen twine. Add to the pot along with the parmesan rind. Return to a gentle simmer, then cover and place in preheated oven for about 3-4 hours, until meat is fall-apart tender. Remove the lid for the final 30 minutes of cooking to allow the sauce to reduce slightly.

Discard bouquet garni and the parmesan rind. Using a slotted spoon, remove meat from Dutch Oven Base to a bowl and shred with two forks. Return to the sauce. Add butter, chopped thyme, and chopped oregano and stir to combine. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper if desired. Spoon ragu over cooked pasta or rice and garnish with freshly grated parmesan cheese.

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