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Slow Cooked Shredded Beef Ragu Pasta

Notes: 

MAKES A HUGE AMOUNT - POSS ONLY NEED HALF OF RECIPE

1. Cut the beef into 4 pieces that are around the size of a baseball. The cook time of this recipe assumes you do this. In Australia, you can buy chuck and other slow cooking beef cut into cubes or into thick slices. If you use cubes, reduce the cooking time by 30 minutes, and just be mindful that it takes slightly longer to shred because you're working with lots of pieces of beef. If using thick pre sliced beef, just use them as is and reduce the cooking time by around 15 minutes or so.

2. Celery and carrots sautéed with the onions and garlic is called "soffritto" in Italian cooking. It is a very traditional base for many Italian dishes. Cooking them slowly over low heat releases their flavour and adds an extra dimension to this dish. BUT it is optional! I don't often have celery lying around and also, sometimes I don't have the energy for the extra chopping!

3. You could use liquid beef stock instead of water + stock cubes.

4. Pappardelle pasta is the thick wide pasta and is ideal for this recipe because the shreds of beef cling to the thick pasta strands.

You need a really large fry pan or dutch oven to make this using an entire 1lb/500g packet of pasta because you need the space to toss the sauce and pasta together with the pasta water. This is called "emulsifying" and it is a KEY secret to awesome pastas. Italian Nonna's will roll over in their graves if you don't do this! So if you don't have a large fry pan, do this step in two fry pans. I can't stress enough what a difference emulsifying makes to pastas!

5. To make this in a slow cooker or pressure cooker, make the following recipe adjustments: start on stove per recipe, add wine into the pot before adding any other liquid and let it cook out i.e. simmer rapidly until alcohol smell is gone and liquid has almost evaporated. Proceed with recipe but DO NOT add water. Transfer all into slow cooker (or if your slow cooker has a saute function, you can do it all in the slow cooker). Slow cook on low for 6 - 8 hours (i.e. 6 is enough, 8 hrs is fine, any more = beef turns to mush). Or pressure cook on high for 40 minutes. Shred beef then following recipe.

6. The sweetness of canned tomatoes differs depending on brand (typically more expensive = sweeter). So adjust the sweetness of your sauce to your taste by using sugar - 1/2 tsp at a time.

7. Turn the heat of the stove down to a level where it is bubbling very, very gently - a few bubbles here and there. This usually LOW on Gas Stoves but might be medium low on electric stoves. If it is too high - i.e. simmering rapidly (lots of bubbles appearing rapidly) - then you run the risk of the bottom burning. If it is too low, it will take longer to cook.

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Ingredients: 

Ragu

2.5 lb / 1.2kg chuck beef or other slow cooking beef cut, cut into equal 4 pieces (Note 1)
1 tbsp salt
Black pepper
3 tbsp olive oil , separated
3 cloves garlic , minced
1 onion , diced
1 cup carrots , diced (Note 2)
1 cup celery , diced (Note 2)
28 oz /800g crushed canned tomatoes
3 tbsp tomato paste
2 beef bouillon cubes, crumbled (Note 3)
1 cup / 250ml red wine, full bodied (like merlot, cabernet sauvignon), or sub with beef broth
1 1/2 cups / 375 ml water (Note 3)
3/4 tsp dried thyme or 3 sprigs fresh thyme
3 dried bay leaves
Extra salt and pepper , to taste

To Serve (Not all Sauce is used)

1 lb /500g dried pappardelle, or other pasta of choice (Note 4)
Freshly grated parmesan cheese or parmigiano reggiano
Fresh parsley , finely chopped (optional)


 

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