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Beef Ragù Chiantigiana


Serves eight.

Yields about 8 cups, enough for about 1 lb. of pasta.

Ragu is best served with a noodle it can cling to, like these wide, ridged ribbons. This recipe is easily halved, but even if you’re cooking for fewer people, you might as well make a whole batch and freeze the leftover sauce.

  • 4 lb. beef chuck or 4 lb. packaged ground chuck
  • 2 to 3 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large carrot, finely chopped
  • 2 ribs celery, finely chopped
  • 1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 Tbs. minced garlic
  • 2 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary
  • 2 Tbs. chopped fresh sage
  • 2 tsp. dried marjoram
  • 2 cups Chianti or other light-bodied dry red wine
  • 2 cups canned puréed tomatoes
  • 2 cups homemade or low-salt beef broth
  • 4 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 1 lb. pasta, cooked al dente
  • Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (optional)

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):
Size : with 1/2 Tbs. butter, Calories (kcal): 690, Fat (kcal): 22, Fat Calories (g): 200, Saturated Fat (g): 10, Protein (g): 61, Monounsaturated Fat (g): 10, Carbohydrates (mg): 52, Polyunsaturated Fat (mg): 1, Sodium (g): 670, Cholesterol (g): 175, Fiber (g): 4,

Photo: Martha Holmberg

Best sauce ever!

I love a good simple ragu, but this one fell short. I've made this dish twice and have been underwhelmed both times, though I used homemade beef stock and top quality meat, which I chopped in the food processor as suggested. Unlike the appetizing photo, my final result was quite dry, with lots of meat but very little in the way of sauce to cling to the pasta.

I have been making this for years and it is absolutely fabulous. I always double the recipe and freeze the extra. It's almost better reheated. Perfect comfort food! You have to try this!

A delicious meal for a cold day. This dish has a nice texture and a fragrant appeal when done. The Chianti seems to enrich the beef flavor.

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