A simple weekend braised beef ragu that is perfect for Sunday supper. Just set it up and let it slow simmer until the meat starts falling apart. It’s seriously the most comforting meal!
Just another new comfort food obsession here that I’d like to share with you folks! 🤷🏻♀️
Reporting to you live from the Houston airport! I’m waiting to board a flight to Minneapolis to go see the hubby. So I’m actually writing this on Wednesday afternoon because from now until Saturday afternoon, I’ll be taking a mini vacay. I don’t usually write my post ahead of time, so this is a little weird for me.
Hubby is on a project there this week and since he wasn’t going to be home until the following weekend, asked if I’d like to join him up there. You know, I don’t think I even answered yes or no. I just made a straight dash to the computer. My mind was already contemplating what to search first. Should I search ‘things to do in Minneapolis’ or ‘where to eat in Minneapolis’? My fingers were just skating over the keyboard at a million miles per minute. New tabs flung open left and right. Search, search, search.
This is sort of an impromptu trip. We booked my tickets just a short week ago. Yes, a weeks notice is considered impromptu in my life! That’s simply just not enough time for me to look at ALL the menus of the restaurants I plan to eat at while I’m there. Not only do I plan what I’m going to order weeks in advance, I also know what I’ll encourage the hubby to get too. ? That way I can munch off of his plate as well. He knew full well what he was signing up for since day one. ?
So here I am! Just waiting to board. And after eating an avocado and black bean burger for lunch here at the airport, I’m so wishing I had a warm and cozy bowl of beef ragu over buttery egg noodles to enjoy. Something about that fork-twirling action just makes me swoon for days.
I save these sort of recipes for the weekend because Anees would be so mad if he found out I was having this while he was away. The man loves a good pasta dinner! So I waited until the weekend to make a big batch of this and it was absolutely perfect. The weather was kind of grey and blah and it rained a bit. Pasta makes rainy days just so much more fun, don’t you think?
And let me just say whether it’s rain, snow, or windy evenings, all of these just add to the vibe that I’m going for here with this comforting meal.
So let’s talk beef ragu!
The theme of this recipe is simple cooking and good eating. It starts with a two-pound chuck roast that’s been well seasoned with a big pinch of salt and pepper. Mine was pretty large, to begin with, so I had the butcher chop it into a few pieces so I could really get it to caramelize a lot more in the pan.
Once the beef is browned on all sides, toss in the onions and just let them sweat a bit for 4-5 minutes. You don’t want them to brown so stir them every now and then. Then hit it with that garlic! I know I’m telling you to use 6-8 cloves but trust me, you won’t be mad at that when you taste this beef ragu and how beautifully that garlic just blends into that sauce. It isn’t offense at all! I promise.
Date night meal? Do it.
What makes this ragu so special is the secret ingredient. I’m using 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar to give it that nice, deep richness. We’ll reserve a couple tablespoons of beef broth and mix it with equal parts tomato paste and balsamic vinegar. This along with crushed tomatoes and diced tomatoes creates the base of this beef ragu.
Once the meat is browned, the onions and garlic cook down a bit we’ll add the beef broth, the balsamic vinegar mix, a can of crushed, and diced tomatoes. Spices? We’ve got a couple bay leaves, a few sprigs of fresh thyme, a pinch of red pepper flakes, a handful of fresh basil leaves, and salt and pepper. Just give it all a stir, let it comes to a simmer and that’s it! Let it braise for 2 1/2 – 3 1/2 hours or until the meat is nice and tender. I did this on a stove, stopping by every hour to just give it a stir. This is totally a low maintenance recipe.
But you know what else I love about this recipe? It would work really well in a slow cooker too. To make the slow cooker beef ragu, just add the browned beef, softened onions, and garlic to a slow cooker along with the cooking liquids and spices and let it go low and slow for 6-8 hours. The meat will literally fall apart when you gently tug at it with two forks.
This braised beef ragu is everything (ILYSB!). Warm, cozy, comforting, meaty, and saucy! Put on a big pot of this stuff on Saturday evening and just let it cook up for you. And as with any good meat sauce, the leftovers are even better. The flavors just intensify and that sauce! More robust and flavorful than ever.
I served it atop pappardelle noodles but you can use just about any kind of noodles you can twirl with a fork. Lots of extra parm on top because it’s the weekend after all and we celebrate with good food! And cheese just makes everythannnng better.
ALSO: I have a new Instagram  account where I’ll share restaurant recommendations, mostly travel pics, and life stuff so be sure to give it a follow 🙂 Still have my old account , but after much thought and consideration, I finally decided a second account was necessary. I love sharing everyday tidbits with you guys so join along! The first is just for those that would want to see food updates from the blog. The second one is more of my shenanigans and what not. 😉
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 - 2 1/2 pounds chuck roast
- 1 medium onion, chopped finely
- 6-8 cloves of garlic, pressed
- 1 cup + 2 tablespoons beef broth
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 (28 ounce can) crushed tomatoes
- 1 (14 ounce can) diced tomatoes
- 2 bay leaves
- a few sprigs of fresh thyme
- a large bunch of basil (a handful or so, no need to be exact)
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon - 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- salt to taste
- pappardelle, parsley, and parmesan cheese for serving
- Season both sides of the chuck roast with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a large, dutch oven over medium high heat. Add the beef into the pot and allow it to sear on each side for 5 minutes. Add the onions to the skillet and let them sweat for 4-5 minutes or until they turn translucent. Add the garlic and let cook for another 1-2 minutes.
- STOVE TOP: Deglaze the pan with 1 cup of beef broth. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of beef broth to a bowl along with the tomato paste and balsamic vinegar and use a whisk to combine. Add the mixture to the dutch oven and stir to mix. Add the crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, bay leaves, fresh thyme, basil, sugar, and red pepper flakes. Allow the sauce to gain a simmer, stir once. Cover and lower the heat to the lowest setting and let cook for 2 1/2 - 3 1/2 hours or until the meat easily shreds with two forks. Mine took about 3 hours to get the meat to just fall apart. Season with salt to taste. Feel free to skim any excess fat off the top and remove the bay leaves and basil leaves before serving. Serve over pappardelle with a sprinkle of parsley and freshly grated parmesan.
- SLOW COOKER: Transfer the meat, onion, and garlic mixture to a slow cooker. Add the 1 cup of beef broth to the slow cooker. Whisk the remaining 2 tablespoons of beef broth in a bowl with the tomato paste and balsamic vinegar. Add the mixture to the slow cooker along with the crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, bay leaves, fresh thyme, basil, sugar, and red pepper flakes. Cover and let cook on the slow setting for 6-8 hours. Use 2 forks to shred the meat. You'll know it's done when it falls apart easily. Season with salt to taste. Feel free to skim any excess fat off the top and remove the bay leaves and basil leaves before serving. Serve over pappardelle with a sprinkle of parsley and freshly grated parmesan.
- Please note that cooking time may vary if using grass-fed (or organic) beef.