Pappardelle in Red Wine Beef Ragu

On August 20, 2012, in Featured, Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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Sunday night is always a special evening when it comes to cooking.  Not only is it the last evening before the work week where I can spend more time preparing and cooking a meal.  It is also a time to enjoy some twitter chat with fellow foodies on #SundaySupper chat. Tonight they were doing recipes made or paired with wines.  I had been planning on making a Korean beef dish with rice, but switched after seeing a Pappardelle dish my friend Chuck Hemann posted to his Facebook page yesterday and after noticing it was a wine theme on #SundaySupper.

Today’s Studio City Farmers’ Market had the pasta vendor there selling some freshly made Pappardelle noodles. There were also some amazingly beautiful organic local carrots too. In case you haven’t seen what a real carrot looks like; instead of all the perfectly colored and shaped carrots at the typical grocery store, here you go.

I modified a couple Pappardelle ragu recipes.  Most called for a combo or some version with beef, pork, veal and even ground boar.  I would’ve loved making something with all four, but I only had some grass-fed ground beef.  I also went with a California Red Wine blend that added a nice rich flavor to the ragu.

Pappardelle in Red Wine Beef Ragu
Serves 4

1 lb Pappardelle noodles
1 lb ground beef
2 cups red wine
1 cup vegetable broth
28 oz can of whole peeled San Marzano tomatoes
1/4 cup olive oil
1 carrot, diced small
1 medium onion, diced small
1 celery stalk, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, thinly slided
4 Sage leaves, finely chopped
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
Salt & Pepper to taste

In a large stockpot add the olive oil and heat on medium-high until hot then add the ground beef.  Add the dried oregano, basil and some salt and pepper to taste mixing it into the ground beef in the pan.  Cook for about 5-7 minutes stirring often to evenly cook and get some browning of the meat. Set cooked beef aside in a separate dish.

Do not clean the stockpot and return to the heat adding the onion, carrot, celery, garlic and chopped sage. Cook on medium-high heat for a minute then cover and cook on low heat for another 7 minutes.  After vegetables have cooked return ground beef to pot.

Crush the canned tomatoes in a bowl with your hands.  Pour tomatoes into pot with vegetables. Add the red wine and vegetable stock. Heat the pot to a boil and then cover reducing heat to a simmer cooking for 1 1/2 hours.

In the final 20 minutes of cooking the ragu, start the water for your noodles.  When ready, add the Pappardelle noodles to the boiling water and cook accordingly. About 5 minutes for fresh and follow the directions on the package for dried noodles.

Serve with large shavings of Parmesan Reggiano cheese.

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Beef Ragu Chiantigiana

On October 9, 2011, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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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.

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Hello Ragu, Welcome to 2011. Dads can Cook!

On September 28, 2011, in Food, by Chris Baccus
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What an obnoxious play on stereotypes. Ragu, yes that company that makes jarred sauces, is using moms to promote their latest recipe campaign with a YouTube video that insults dads titled Dad Cooks Dinner: What is Dinnertime Like When Dad Cooks?

So I obviously cook and can easily put a jarred spaghetti sauce like Ragu to shame in about 10 minutes with a few tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, carrots, and thyme. Out doing processed convenience food with fresh whole foods is easy, which is why most people should buy the ingredients and take the 10 minutes it takes to make a pasta sauce instead of reheating a jar of dehydrated onions, sugar and ‘cheese cultures’ into a saute pan (full ingredients here.) Plus the sauce has 7 grams of sugar? Why does it need sugar? Use shredded carrots and ripe tomatoes and there is no reason to add unnecessary ingredients.

Food quality aside the more troubling thing here is the brand’s reliance on outdated stereotypes. The video features several moms who share how poor their husbands are at cooking and while I’m sure they are not personally talking about all men, it definitely comes across that way.

Let’s flip the tables for a second.  If a tablesaw manufacturer did a campaign like this featuring a bunch of men saying how idiotic women are with power-tools would that be effective and responsible marketing? I highly doubt it.

Perhaps we'll all look back at how backwards 2011 was thanks to Ragu.

So please Ragu give modern families a break.  Your “idea” here might have been cute in Leave it to Beaver days but guess what a lot has changed and I know a lot of men who are the primary cooks at home.  Also, I’m not going to tell you that I’m never going to buy your product because truth be told I never did or ever would. I prefer making pasta sauce from scratch that no jar, not even the one’s twice the cost of yours can compare with.

 

Hat tip to C.C. Chapman who runs Digital Dads for sharing his thoughts about this video:  Ragu Hates Dads.

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