If using beef chuck, cut it into 1 inch chunks, leaving on some of the fat. In a food processor, pulse the chunks in batches, about five times for a few seconds each time; set aside.
Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy-based pot. When the oil is hot, add just enough of the meat to make one layer. If using packaged ground meat, don’t crumble it; instead, break it into pieces (about 1 inch) to brown. Season with salt and pepper. Brown the meat all over, stirring occasionally, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer the first batch of meat to a bowl and sear the remaining meat in batches, if necessary, add more olive oil as needed. In the same pot, sauté the carrot, celery, and onion until soft and lightly browned, about 10 minutes.
Return all the seared meat to the pot with the vegetables. Add the garlic, rosemary, sage, and marjoram and sauté briefly until fragrant. Add 1-3/4 cups of the wine and stir, scraping the bottom of the pot to loosen any browned bits. Let the wine reduce until it’s almost gone, about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to low. Add the tomato purée and simmer the ragù, uncovered, for 1-1/2 to 2 hours. As it cooks, juices will evaporate; add 1/2 cup beef stock periodically (to total about 2 cups), letting it reduce after each addition. After 1-1/2 to 2 hours, the meat should be tender and the flavors melded. Add the remaining wine to taste toward the end of cooking to enhance the ragù’s wine flavor, but allow some simmering time for the wine to cook off. Taste and adjust the seasonings.
Immediately before serving, whisk 1/2 Tbs. butter per serving into the sauce; toss with the pasta. Serve sprinkled with the Parmigiano, if you like.
Make Ahead Tips
The finished sauce (without the butter or Parmigiano) can keep for a week, covered in the refrigerator, and it can also be frozen for up to a month. Defrost frozen ragù overnight in the refrigerator and then slowly bring it to a simmer, adding a little water or broth to prevent scorching.
nutrition information (per serving):
with 1/2 Tbs. butter;
sat fat g
Photo: Martha Holmberg