Rich Beef Ragu – Meal Prep Sunday

Beef Ragu.jpg

Meal prepping is something I have done for about a year now.  I use a Sunday afternoon to prep meals that I wouldn’t have time to do through the week due to working full time.  I usually get in around 5pm and the family are usually starving by 6pm!  That gives me an hour to prep, cook and get food on the table.  Not always that easy when it’s winter time and all you want is rich satisfying dishes that would normally take at least 2 hours in the oven.  So, Meal Prep Sunday was born.  It really takes the pressure off, all you need to do is take it out of the freezer the night before, and you are good to go!

This recipe I came across by accident and what a lucky accident it was! 🙂  We were in Italy, dining at our favourite trattoria.  I usually order the lasagne for the first course (primo piatto), but they had run out 😦 so I was forced to try something new!  The one good thing with this trattoria is that when they describe the meal to you, they tell you everything that’s in it 🙂  So, recreating this was relatively straight forward.

This ragu is so versatile and can be used in many ways.  Above, I have put it with pappadelle (which is devine), but I can also be served with polenta, roasted potatoes, mixed into a risotto and so on.  There is another recipe its used in called Bomba di Riso, which I will definitely right about as its so different, it deserves it’s own post.

So, without further ado, lets get into the recipe.  This recipe makes 6 batches of sauce which will easily serve at least 3 people per batch, depending on what you put it with and how much you cooked the sauce down.  If it’s with polenta, then you might require 2 of the 6 batches.



  • 1 beef short rib
  • 1kg skirt beef (or any slow roasting cut)
  • 125g pancetta
  • 200g Italian sausage
  • 3 large onions chopped
  • 2 tablespoons of tomato puree
  • 3x400g tins of chopped tomatoes
  • 200ml red wine
  • 1 beef stock cube
  • olive oil (as much as required to fry meat)
  • salt and pepper


  1. Warm oven to 160°C / 320°F.
  2. Season the beef rib and skirt with salt and pepper
  3. Using a large cast iron pan or Dutch oven, heat 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil and brown the beef rib on all sides, then remove and place on a plate to rest.  The more you can brown/caramelise the meat, the better the end flavour.
  4. Cut beef skirt into large chunks and brown on all sides, once brown, remove and set aside with the rib.
  5. Next, break up the sausage and fry together with the pancetta.
  6. Add the onion to the sausage and fry until translucent, about 5 minutes.
  7. Add wine to pan and deglaze the pot.  Reduce wine by half.
  8. Add all the meat back to the pot and combine.
  9. Add the tomatoes, fill the 2 tins of the empty tins with water and add them too.
  10. Crumble in the stock cube, combine ingredients well and bring to the boil.
  11. Remove from stove, place on the lid and put into the oven, cook for 3 hours.
  12. Remove half way through the cooking time and taste for seasoning.
  13. Once cooked, remove the rib bone and mix trough to break up the meat slightly. The should be a thick and not watery. If not, you can continue to cook on the hob without the lid to reduce further.  Don’t reduce too much and freezing tend to dry sauces out slightly.
  14.  Leave to cool completely,  divide into 6 batched and freeze for a later date.

Of course you could eat some there and then if you wanted to, why not 🙂

Thanks for reading.

Buon appitito!

A x


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