Sunday Dinner: Slow Cooked Beef Ragu Pasta

There are a few reasons to why I put a pasta dish on my menu each week. While some people are terrified of carbs, my old Italian habits die hard and I doubt I could truly ever give them up completely. I’ve found that depriving myself of something I really like would only result in me eating 3x the amount I would have had; so now I just let myself have a bowl of pasta once a week.

Which brings us here, on this weeks Sunday Dinner I present one of the biggest comforts in a bowl: Slow Cooked Beef Ragu. Italian cuisine is simple, one of the reasons I adore it so much. With this recipe you use fresh ingredients, you mix them together and you leave it to cook. What comes after that is a thick, gorgeous tomato sauce clinging to slow cooked brisket intertwined with al dente spaghetti noodles, it almost sounds like poetry.

Photo via RecipeTin Eats
With winter being so cold and rainy this year in California a hearty meal like this is exactly what everyone needs. Also your husband, boyfriend, partner etc will love you forever when you walk into the dining room carrying this with you. It’s true what they say, the way to a man’s heart is absolutely through his stomach. The ragu itself can be frozen for later use or popped in the fridge for leftovers. I like to boil fresh pasta each time I eat this so I only cook what I need for each meal, which is great for fast weeknight meals after a long day. Thanks to Nagi at RecipeTin Eats for originally posting what is now one of my favorite dishes.

Serves: 6
Prep Time: 20 mins
Cook Time: 2 hours 30 mins


  • 2.5lb beek brisket, cut into equal 4 pieces
  • 1 tbsp salt, black pepper
  • 3 tbsp olive oil, separated
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 cup carrots, diced (optional)
  • 1 cup celery, diced (optional)
  • 28oz crushed canned tomatoes
  • 3 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 beef bouillon cubes (Note 3)
  • 3 cups water (Note 3)
  • 3 dried bay leaves
  • Extra salt and pepper, to taste
To Serve
  • 1lb spaghetti
  • Freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • Fresh parsley, finely chopped
  1. Pat beef dry and sprinkle with salt and pepper
  2. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil over high heat in a heavy based pot. Add beef and sear each piece on all sides until browned (around 3 minutes in total), then remove onto a plate.
  3. Turn stove down to medium low and add remaining 2 tbsp of olive oil.
  4. Add garlic and onion and sauté for 2 minutes. Then add the carrots and celery and sauté slowly for 5 minutes.
  5. Add remaining Ragu ingredients (except extra salt and pepper) and return the beef to the pot (add the juices too). Turn the stove up and bring it to a simmer, then turn it down to low. Cover the pot and let it cook for 1 hr 45 minutes. Then remove the lid and let it cook for a further 30 minutes until the beef is tender enough to pull apart with forks and the liquid has reduced to be a thick sauce.
  6. Do a taste test and adjust the seasoning to your taste with salt and pepper. ALSO add a little but of sugar (1/2 tsp at a time!) if it is a bit sour for your taste
  7. Turn the stove off and remove the beef from the sauce into a large bowl. Shred it coarsely with two forks. Then return it to the sauce. Place the lid on and set aside until ready to serve (it’s even better the next day!).
To Serve
  1. Bring a very large pot of water with 1 tbsp of salt to the boil.
  2. Add pasta and cook for 2 minutes less than the recommended cooking time as per the packet instructions.
  3. Meanwhile, place 5 cups of the Ragu in a very large fry pan, or use 2 normal size fry pans. Heat over high heat while the pasta is cooking.
  4. When the pasta is ready, transfer it directly from the pot into the fry pan using tongs.
  5. Add 1 cup of pasta water into the fry pan.
  6. Gently toss the pasta (I use 2 wooden spoons) for 1 to 2 minutes, until the sauce water evaporates and leaves you with a thick Ragu sauce that coats the pasta.
  7. Yell for your family to sit down at the dinner table because you need to serve it immediately!
  8. Serve with plenty of freshly grated parmesan and fresh parsley.

– The Reportery

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