Herby Beef n Red Wine Ragu
My herby Beef n Red Wine Ragu is the base of many Italian dishes in our house. Deep, rich and packed full of amazing flavour, cooked low n slow for ultimate taste. This ragu is great for baked pasta dishes (Al Forno) Lasagne, and thicker pasta shapes e.g tubular shapes like penne, rigatoni, tortiglioni and ziti are perfect with hearty, thick sauces like ragu.
Ingredients (Makes 6-8 Portions):
1.5KG Lean Beef Mince
Panchetta / Smoked Bacon (4-6 slices, chopped)
A little Butter
2 x Medium Onions (finely chopped)
2 x Medium Carrots (finely chopped)
5 x Cloves of Garlic (finely chopped)
2 x Bay Leaves
Dried Oregano (2 tsp)
Dried Italian Herbs (2 tsp)
450ml Good Red Wine
690g Jar Of Passata
A Little Tomato Puree
A splash of Worcestershire Sauce
Beef Stock Pot
Take a large pan or Creuset pot, and add to this a few cubes of butter. Roughly chop your smoked bacon/pancetta and gently fry in the butter for 5 minutes. Once starting to brown take your finely chopped onions and carrots and add these to the bacon/pancetta. Soften these for a few minutes, giving everything a good season of rock salt and black pepper.
Once these have cooked out and are starting to soften, take them off the heat and set aside. Using the same pan, add a little olive oil and then brown your mince. You want to give the mince a good cooking until all the water and fat have evaporated and the mince is starting to char nicely. At this point add a good glug of Worcestershire Sauce and cook out for a minute or so, season with rock salt and black pepper. Drain your mince and set it aside.
Turn your oven on to 160c and using the same pan, add back the softened veggies and bacon/pancetta, add to this 2 x tbsp of tomato puree, 2 x tsp dried oregano, and 2 x tsp Italian herbs and your chopped garlic cloves. Cook this out for a few minutes, add back your minced beef, and then your red wine. Simmer this on a low/medium heat for around 15 minutes, stirring regularly. Once the wine has reduced add your jar of passata, and half of the beef stock pot, season, stir well and bring to a simmer.
Take your bay leaves, a bunch of fresh thyme and the stalks from your basil. Tie these up using some string and pop this into your ragu, check for seasoning, then cover and place in the oven for 1.5 hrs, stirring occasionally until the meat is really tender, and the ragu has thickened up. Finally, sprinkle some freshly picked thyme, check the seasoning again and serve. The sauce can be prepared up to three days ahead or frozen if needed.