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spoon lifting out pasta with meat from bowl

Beef Ragu

Chuck beef slow cooked in a rich, homemade tomato sauce and paired with pappardelle pasta makes this ragu a family staple.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 6 hours 30 minutes
Total Time 7 hours
Servings 8
Calories 535kcal
Author Ryan Beck


  • 2 lbs chuck beef, cut into 4 equal pieces
  • salt salt & pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cups mirepoix (equal amounts of diced onion, carrots and celery)
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (28 oz can) crushed tomatoes
  • ½ cup dry red wine
  • 3 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 (3 inch piece of) Parmesan rind
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ½ tsp dried basil
  • ½ tsp dried oregano
  • ½ tsp dried thyme
  • ½ tsp crushed red pepper
  • 1 beef bouillon cube
  • 16 ounces pappardelle pasta
  • ¾ cup reserved pasta water
  • 2 cups whole milk ricotta, whipped in food processor
  • Parmesan cheese and parsley for topping


  • Season chuck beef with salt and pepper. Heat olive oil in large skillet over medium-high heat and then sear the chuck beef on all sides until brown - about 2 minutes per side. Remove from skillet and set aside.
  • Add mirepoix and garlic to bottom of slow cooker. Add chuck beef, crushed tomatoes, wine, tomato paste, Parmesan rind, bay leaves, basil, oregano, thyme, crushed red pepper and beef bouillon cube. Cover and cook on high for 6 hours or low for 8-10 hours.
  • Discard the bay leaves and shred the beef.
  • Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain the pasta, saving ¾ cup reserved pasta water and return the pasta to the pot. Add the sauce from the slow cooker and the reserved pasta water. Increase the heat to high and cook, stirring, until the pasta and sauce are combined, about 1 minute.
  • Spread whipped ricotta over bottom of bowl. Add ragu and serve with some Parmesan cheese and fresh parsley.


  • Searing the beef is important as it locks in the flavor.
  • Use a quality dry red wine that you would drink like a Cabernet  or Chianti.
  • Don't skip the Parmesan rind as it enhances the flavor. I always freeze any leftover Parmesan rinds to use for this specific occasion.
  • Reserved pasta water works as a thickener for the sauce.
  • Whipping the ricotta cheese and placing on the bottom adds some extra creaminess as you eat the ragu.


Serving: 1g | Calories: 535kcal | Carbohydrates: 53g | Protein: 39g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 0g | Cholesterol: 91mg | Sodium: 842mg | Potassium: 767mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 7g