Braised Beef Ragu

This dish is amazing, There is such depth of flavor that each bite takes you to the streets of Rome, sans motorscooters of course.  The texture of the shredded beef stands up well with the bite of al dente Campanelle.  By puréeing the mushrooms and the panchetta the richness of each is multiplied.

We got this recipe from Joanne Weir which she calls Braised Beef in Two Courses but we only made the first course here, the pasta course.  It is a little bit more work than your standard pasta dish but well worth the effort.  Spend a little time on a Sunday afternoon and make enough to take to work for lunch on Monday.

Your labor will be rewarded.


  • 1/2 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 pounds beef chuck
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 ounces pancetta, diced
  • 1 carrot, finely diced
  • 2 stalks celery, finely diced
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely diced
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 3 cups peeled, seeded and diced tomatoes, canned
  • 1 pound pasta, we used campanelle
  • Freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano



Pour 4 cups boiling water over the dried porcini mushrooms and let sit until the water is cool.

Heat the olive oil in a large pot or heavy casserole over medium-high heat. Season the meat well with salt and pepper and brown the meat, turning occasionally, until browned on both sides, about 10 minutes. Remove the meat from the pan and set aside.

Add the pancetta to the pan and stirring occasionally  cook until golden, about 10 minutes. Add the carrots, celery, and onions to the pan and cook until they begin to soften, about 15 minutes. Strain the porcini and reserve the liquid. Add the revived porcini mushrooms and the garlic to the pan.

In a large bowl, combine the tomato paste, sugar, porcini soaking liquid and tomatoes. Increase the heat to high, add the tomato mixture and add the meat back into the pan. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, turning the meat occasionally, until the meat is tender and falling apart, 2 1/2 to 3 hours.  You could also place the meat in a 350 degree oven.

If the sauce thickens too much, add water.  Remove the meat from the pan and cover with foil. Purée the sauce in a blender until it is smooth. Season with salt and pepper.

Cook the pasta in boiling salted water until tender. Toss the pasta with as much sauce as needed. Serve with the grated Parmigiano Reggiano.

Bon Appétit!


AuthorDave and Amy Koch