Ragu is simply meat braised with tomato, mirepoix, wine, and stock. It’s a beautiful thing on its own, but it turns magical when elevated with lemon, parmesan, and arugula and served with fresh pappardelle pasta.
Pappardelle noodles are thick and broad, you can even use lasagna sheets cut up in lieu of having actual pappardelle on hand. If you’ve never made pasta noodles before, pappardelle is a great starting point since you can get away with making it without having a machine.
1.5 lb beef cheeks (about 2) cut into 2 inch pieces
2 tbsp olive oil
3 small shallots, halved
2 garlic cloves, whole
2 tbsp tomato paste
2 carrots, peeled and cut into diamonds
1/2 cup red wine
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
3 sprigs fresh rosemary
2 cups chicken stock
1 lemon, zested
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp fresh Parmigiano Reggiano,
handful of fresh arugula leaves
Salt and pepper
Enough pappardelle pasta for two, homemade if you do that kind of thing
1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Season beef cheeks liberally with salt and pepper. Heat an oven proof pan on the burner to medium high and add the olive oil. Sear beef shins until they have a nice golden colour, about 8-10 minutes.
2. Add the shallots and garlic to the pan, and continue to saute for 5 minutes. Toss the pan a bit while sauteing to ensure the garlic and shallots are browning.
3. Add the tomato paste to the pan, and continue to saute for 1 minute while lighty tossing or stirring the ingredients. The tomato paste will brown quickly, but this is what we want.
4. Add the wine and mustard to the pan, let cook down for 30 seconds, then add the chicken stock (the liquid should almost cover the beef). Transfer the pan to the oven. Braise until the beef can be pulled apart easily with a fork. This should be about 3 hours. If you decide to braise longer, just ensure that there is enough liquid to prevent the beef from drying out.
5. While the braise is finishing, boil some water for the pasta and salt generously. Then toss in the pappardelle pasta. While you’re waiting of the pasta to cook, remove the beef from the oven and add the lemon zest, butter, and Parmesan. Stir to incorporate, then fold in the arugula. Once the pasta is al dente, transfer with a slotted spoon to the pan with the beef. It’s okay if a little water transfers over in the process, if not preferred. Gently fold all the ingredients together and serve immediately.