Beef Ragu Chiantigiana

Ragu is a maligned word in the pasta world.  It usually conjures up the idea of a highly acidic $3 pasta sauce. The word ragu is derived from the French word ragoût, from ragoûter, that means to revive the taste.  This recipe is here to revive the name ragu back to its roots of being a slow cooked meat and vegetable sauce that is rich in flavor.

Beef Ragu Chiantigiana
Serves 4

1 lb ground beef
1 Tbs olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
Fresh ground pepper to taste
1 medium carrot, finely chopped
2 ribs of celery, finely chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
1 Tbs chopped fresh sage
1 tsp dried marjoram
1 cup Chianti or other dry red wine
1 1/2 cup pureed tomatoes
1 cup beef stock
2 Tbs unsalted butter
1 lb pasta
Freshly grated Parmesan Reggiano

Heat olive oil in a pot over medium-high heat. Place ground beef in pot and season with salt and pepper. Brown meat all over for about 5 minutes. Transfer meat to a bowl.  Do not rinse pot.

Add carrot, celery, and onion and saute until soft and lightly browned about 10 minutes.

Return meat to the pot and add garlic, rosemary, sage, and marjoram and saute briefly until fragrant. Add 1/2 cup of wine and stir, scraping up bottom bits of pan. Let the wine reduce until almost gone, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to low. Add the tomato puree and simmer the ragu, uncovered for 1 hour. As it cooks add a 1/4 cup of beef stock every 15 minutes, letting it reduce after each reduction.

After the hour is over, add the remaining 1/2 cup of red wine and cook for another 15 minutes letting the wine cook off. Taste and adjust salt and pepper seasoning.

Immediately before serving, blend in the butter; toss with the pasta. Serve with shaved Parmesan.