Beef Ragu

Beef Ragu

This Italian Beef Ragu is a hearty, savoury dish featuring tender chunks of beef simmered in a rich tomato sauce infused with aromatic herbs and spices. Perfect for a cosy dinner, this ragu can be served over pasta, polenta or even with crusty bread.


  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 lb. chuck roast, cut into 2″ cubes
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • 1 (28oz) can whole peeled tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3 sprigs thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • Parmesan, to serve
  • Freshly chopped parsley, to serve

Method of cooking:

In a large heavy-bottomed saucepan or Dutch oven, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat.

Season the beef cubes generously with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Working in batches, sear the beef cubes until browned on all sides, about 3-4 minutes per side. Add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil if necessary. Transfer the browned beef to a plate and set aside.

In the same pan, add the chopped onion and cook over a medium heat until soft and translucent, about 5-7 minutes.

Add the sliced garlic, fennel seeds and red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring frequently, until the garlic is fragrant, about 1-2 minutes.

Stir in the tomato paste and cook for a further 1-2 minutes until it has darkened slightly.

Pour in the red wine, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Leave to simmer for 2-3 minutes until slightly reduced.

Add the whole peeled tomatoes (crushing them with your hands as you add them), water, thyme sprigs and bay leaf. Stir to combine.

Return the roasted beef cubes to the pan with the accumulated juices.

Bring the mixture to a simmer, then reduce the heat to low. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the beef is very tender and the sauce has thickened, about 2-3 hours. If the sauce becomes too thick, add a little more water as needed.

Once the beef is tender, stir in the balsamic vinegar. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper to taste.

Remove the thyme sprigs and bay leaf from the pot.

Serve the beef ragu over your choice of pasta, polenta, or with crusty bread.

Garnish with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and freshly chopped parsley.

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