June 10, 2012

Chunky Beef Ragù with Pancetta

This delicious, hearty ragù is based on the classic Italian bolognese sauce. Straying away from the traditional minced meat, I cut the beef into small chunks, which is perfect, served with the tube-shaped rigatoni pasta. I like that you are able to pick up pieces of the ragù with your fork, whilst still enjoying all the sauciness that comes with it. Nutmeg does wonders for beef, enhancing its meaty flavour without been too overpowering, so I've grated in a little for that extra oomph. Bolognese sauce freezes well, so make a little more than you need, and defrost the extras for a quick meal another day :)

Serves 4-6:
45g butter
2 tbs olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 medium carrot, diced
1 stick celery, diced
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1-2 red chillies, seeds removed and finely chopped
½ nutmeg, grated
90g pancetta, finely chopped
500g beef chuck steak, diced
1 cup dry white wine
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tin chopped tomatoes
1 cup beef stock
¼ cup cream (optional)

To serve:
500g pasta, boiled and drained
Shaved Parmesan
Flat leaf parsley, chopped

Heat the butter and oil in a deep, heavy-bottomed frying pan. Add the onion, carrot, celery, garlic, chilli and nutmeg and fry until the vegetables are softened and browned lightly. Add the pancetta and the beef and fry until the meat changes colour.

Add the wine, let it bubble hard for a few minutes, and then add the salt, pepper, tomatoes and beef stock.

Simmer, uncovered, stirring every now and then, for 1½ hours. Add the cream, if using, and cook, uncovered, for 5 minutes longer. Serve with the hot, drained pasta, shavings of Parmesan and chopped parsley.

Chunky Beef Ragù with Pancetta

As always, the sauce is better the next day - magically thickened and brimming with flavour

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