There’s nothing quite as dreamy as a big pot of bubbling beef ragu on your stovetop. If you’ve not made pasta before pappardelle is a good place to start as you can cut it by hand.
One of the best meals on this earth IMO. This is my take on beef ragu with handmade pappardelle.
You can do this without a pasta machine as this is hand cut. Just make sure you roll out the dough so thin its practically translucent!
You can sub the flours for just plain flour if that’s what you have. Just know that the texture is greatly improved with 00 and semolina flour.
Any cut of stewing beef will work here. Cheap cuts work well as this is slow cooked you’ll always end up with a tender result.
Serves 6-8 portions.
1kg stewing beef, cut into cubes
1 large white onion, finely chopped
2 carrots, finely diced
1 stick of celery, finely chopped
4 cloves of garlic, crushed and finely chopped
4 anchovy fillets
2 tbsp tomato purée
250ml red wine
2 sprigs Rosemary
2 sprigs thyme
2 bay leaves
500ml beef stock
2 tins of whole tomatoes
Salt and pepper to taste
350g 00 flour
50g semolina flour
200g eggs (4 eggs)
FOR THE RAGU
Put a large saucepan over a medium-high heat along with a glug of olive oil. In batches brown the beef for a few minutes until the cubes of beef have a golden crust and colour. Try not to move them around as this will prevent a crust forming. We aren’t looking to cook the beef through necessarily just get some colour on the beef and in the pan.
Transfer the browned beef to a bowl as you work through the batches. Set aside.
Add another glug of olive oil to the pan and throw in the onion, carrot and celery. Sauté for around 5-7 minutes until softened.
Add the garlic and anchovy and continue to cook for another 2 minutes. The anchovy will melt down as the sauce cooks so don’t worry about them being in whole fillets.
Squeeze in the tomato puree and fry off for 3-5 minutes until darkened in colour. Pour in the wine and cook until the harsh alcohol smell wears off and the wine has reduced. Keep scraping the pan as you go to get all the fond and flavour off the bottom.
Add the herbs, bay leaves, beef stock and whole tomatoes. Stir and bring to a boil, then turn the heat down low. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Leave to bubble and cook for 4-6 hours. I give this length of time as depending on what cut of beef you use will factor into the cooking time. Top up with water as needed as this simmers if its looking too dry.
The ragu is ready when the beef is falling apart. You can start the pasta as the ragu is coming to the end of its cooking time.
FOR THE PASTA
Pour both flours directly onto your work surface and use a bowl to create a well. Crack the eggs into the well and use a fork to whisk.
Gradually break the sides of the well to incorporate more flour into the eggs. It will start to form a thick paste.
If you have a bench scrapper, use this to bring the flour and egg paste together further. You can use your hands for this, but it is sticky!
When you have a coherent dough, start to knead. Knead for 10 minutes by hand, or you can use a machine. Remember you can’t over knead pasta dough so don’t be shy, give it the time it needs.
Cover with clingfilm and rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Uncover the dough and cut in half with a sharp knife. Make sure you cover the half you’re not using in clingfilm so the dough doesn’t dry out.
Use a pasta machine to pass the dough through settings 1-8. Or roll by hand until paper thin.
As you’re passing the dough through the machine you will want to cut it in half again for easier handling.
Leave the sheets to dry for around 10 minutes. This will make the pasta less likely to stick together when you cut into strips. Make sure you surface is well floured with semolina flour or plain flour to avoid it sticking to your surface as it dries.
When you have your finished sheets of pasta, take one sheet at a time and fold over itself repeatedly. Use a sharp knife to cut into thick strips. Unravel the strips and sprinkle with more semolina flour. Twist into nests. Repeat with the remaining sheets of dough until you have several nests of pasta.
FOR THE RAGU
Discard the herbs and bay leaves from the ragu. If the whole tomatoes haven’t fallen apart during the cooking process, crush with a spoon. Use forks to shred the beef. Check for seasoning and add additional salt and pepper if needed.
FOR THE PASTA
Put on a large pan of boiling water and salt generously.
Gently lower the pappardelle into the boiling water. Use a spoon to stir and separate as they cook. Be careful as to not break the pasta. The pasta will cook within 2-3 minutes.
Transfer the pasta using tongs into the ragu. Gently fold over the sauce, being careful to not break up the pasta. Add a ladle of pasta water to the sauce and stir.
Use tongs to portion generous piles of the pappardelle into bowls. Use a spoon to spoon over extra ragu. Dust generously with parmesan and enjoy!