Whole beef ragu bolognese and a dodgy kid

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I am continuing on my man food trail. Husband’s boys stayed with us this weekend so it wasn’t going to be asparagus risotto or vichyssoisse. I have always loved the simplicity and homeliness of a good, patiently simmered Ragu with pasta. I often do one with ground beef or moose and serve with whole-wheat spaghetti. In Finland they have rye pasta which is even tastier, but I haven’t seen it here. Maybe in a health food shop or Wholefoods. Must check. 

Or I could do it myself of course, but would need to get a pasta machine. I did pasta once, and not having a machine it was hard work. The palms of my hands were actually bruised after all the rolling of the stupid rigid dough. But in the end my crab ravioli in vodka marinara was yammy. What little vodka there was at that point to add to the marinara.

So no handmade pasta this time. I only recently realized that this sauce is a great dish to make from a whole cut of meat. I was visiting my sister a few months ago and she made this with a big chunk of chuck and it was amazing.

Whole beef ragu tomato sauce with curly pasta

I know this kind of thing goes down well with my manfolk. When husband came home having picked the kids up from the station he announced that my friend was hungry. “My friend” is the younger of the boys. I like them both the same, but I find myself defending the younger one as he tends to get in trouble quite often. Like recently when he lost his brand new iPhone, which he got after he cracked the screen of his previous one. Or when he “accidentally” bought £100 worth of game credit on his dad’s credit card.

His dad sometimes gets a bit exasperated with him, but he is also great in finding illegal apps and websites that allow us to see all the latest films for free. We call him "The Hacker" and I bet he’s paid back his accidental game credit purchases many times over in saved cinema ticket costs.

So on to the table with the Ragu. I had planned to let it cook for another half an hour, but  it was really soft and yammy already. I served it with fusilli lunghi bucati – the long, hollow, corkscrew kind, grated parmesan and garlic and herb ciabatta.


Recipe: Classic Ragu Bolognese sauce (serves 4)


1.2 kg beef brisket
2 yellow onions
2 stalks of celery
2 carrots
5 gloves of garlic
1 cup red wine
2 cups beef stock
1 can tomatoes
2 tbsp tomato puree
Thyme
Oregano
Salt
Pepper

Heat oven to 165C. Cut the beef into pieces, the idea is that you cook the meat until it almost disintegrates, so the size of the pieces is not so important. Heat some oil in a dutch oven and brown the meat in batches until browned on all sides, remove onto a plate. In the same pan cook the chopped onion, celery and carrot for a few minutes, add minced garlic and cook for another couple of minutes. Return the meat in the pan. Add the red wine and let boil for a minute or two, then add stock, tomatoes, tomato pure, herbs, salt and pepper. Put into the oven and cook for 2-3 hours, or however long it takes for the meat to be soft enough to be falling apart. Add liquid if necessary while it’s cooking.




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