Slow Cooked Shredded Beef Ragu Pasta (2024)

A budget cut of beef, simple pantry ingredients, a bit of patience and pappardelle pasta. ThisSlow Cooked Shredded Beef Ragu Sauce with Pappardelle may be the king of all pastas. It is hands down one of my all time favourite pastas ever!

Slow Cooked Shredded Beef Ragu Pasta (1)

Slow Cooked Shredded Beef Ragu Sauce

There’s this annoying thing that’s been a thorn in my backside all my working life. This thing called pride.

I’m not a professional food photographer, or food stylist, videographer or a chef for that matter. But that doesn’t matter. What does matter is being proud of everything that I have on my website, knowing that even if there are people out there who can take better photos and make better videos, that I’ve done the best I can do and I’m proud of what I’m sharing.

3 years into blogging with over 500 recipes, I still get butterflies when I hitPublishon a new or updated recipe.

And having rewritten, rephotographed and made a video for this Shredded Beef Ragu which I first shared over 2 years ago, yes I’m going to have butterflies when I hit Publish on this (again!) because it’s one of my all time personal favourites. 🙂

Slow Cooked Shredded Beef Ragu Pasta (2)

I have a weakness for all things slow cooked, but hands down this shredded beef ragu is one of my all time favourites.I’d dare say I love it even more than traditionalRagu Alla Bolognese.It’s the shredded beef that seals the deal for me. The way it soaks up the sauce and clings to the pasta. It’s an absolute ripper!

I’m pretty sure I first learned how to makeSlow Cooked Shredded Beef Ragu Sauce with Pappardelle from Lidia Bastianich. Years ago,her show “Lidia’s Italy” was one of the few cooking shows on free-to-air TV and I used to watch them over and over again. Almost everything I know about Italian cooking (including the reason why I was hunting down Kale a decade before it became “cool”) is because of LidiaBastianich. Old school, real deal Italian. 🙂

Slow Cooked Shredded Beef Ragu Pasta (3)

Slow Cooked Shredded Beef Ragu Pasta (4)

Best Pasta to serve with Ragu

The question of what type of pasta to serve with different pasta sauces is a question that I get asked quite regularly. Generally, most pasta sauces will pair perfectly well with most common pasta types, like spaghetti, fettuccine, linguine, penne / ziti, macaroni, shells etc.

And while thisSlow Cooked Shredded Beef Ragu Sauce will be great with any type of pasta, the best pasta for a rich sauce like this ragu is pappardelle.This wide, flat pasta is especially great for this recipebecause the shredded beef clings to the wide strands.

For pappardelle, I am quite particular about which brand I use because I’ve had problems in the past withuneven cooking. I use San Remo which is a well known trusted brand here in Australia. The pappardelle is bundled into nests sothey are fully submerged whendropped into boiling water, and the nests are loose enough so the bubbling water separates the strands andthe pappardelle cooks evenly.

You’ll find San Remo pappardelleat all the major supermarkets as well as fresh produce stores and delis. And here’s a photo for size context – giant pasta in myBaby Hands…..

Slow Cooked Shredded Beef Ragu Pasta (5)

Oh – and the other reason San RemoPappardelle is my pasta of choice for ragu is because it’s aneggpasta. The addition of egg makes the pappardelle stronger so it doesn’t break when tossed in the thick, rich sauce.

If you’ve justinvested hours of patience, slow cooking the sauce to tender perfection, you’ll make me cry if you just dump cooked pasta in a bowl and spoon over the sauce. And the entire nation of Italy will cry with me. 😉Please promise me you will toss the ragu with the pasta before serving! It is worth it, I promise. Look how every strand ofthe pappardelle is beautifully coated in that luscious ragu!!– Nagi xx

Slow Cooked Shredded Beef Ragu Pasta (6)


Slow Cooked Shredded Beef Ragu Saucewith Pappardelle recipe video!

Hungry for more? Subscribe to my newsletter and follow along on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram for all of the latest updates.

Slow Cooked Shredded Beef Ragu Pasta (7)

Slow Cooked Shredded Beef Ragu Pasta

Author: Nagi | RecipeTin Eats

Prep: 20 minutes mins

Cook: 2 hours hrs 30 minutes mins

Total: 2 hours hrs 50 minutes mins

Pasta, Slow Cooked


4.97 from 384 votes

Servings5 - 6 people

Tap or hover to scale


Recipe video above. Ragu is one of those recipes that really showcases the beauty of Italian cooking - everyday ingredients, fast prep, leave it to cook long and slow and you end up with a luscious dish that tastes like a million bucks. This recipe makes enough sauce to serve 8 and freezes great.



  • 1.2kg / 2.5 lb chuck beef or other slow cooking beef cut, cut into equal 4 pieces (Note 1)
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • Black pepper
  • 3 tbsp olive oil , separated
  • 3 cloves garlic , minced
  • 1 onion , diced
  • 1 cup carrots , diced (Note 2)
  • 1 cup celery , diced (Note 2)
  • 800g / 28oz crushed canned tomatoes
  • 3 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 beef bouillon cubes , crumbled (Note 3)
  • 1 cup / 250ml red wine , full bodied (like merlot, cabernet sauvignon), or sub with beef broth/stock
  • 1 1/2 cups / 375 ml water (Note 3)
  • 3/4 tsp dried thyme or 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 3 dried bay leaves

To Serve (Not all Sauce is used)

  • 1 lb /500g dried pappardelle , or other pasta of choice (Note 4)
  • Freshly grated parmesan cheese or parmigiano reggiano
  • Fresh parsley , finely chopped (optional)


  • Pat beef dry and sprinkle with salt and pepper

  • Sear Beef: Heat 1 tbsp olive oil over high heat in a heavy based pot. Add beef and sear each piece aggressively on all sides until very browned (3 - 5 minutes in total), then remove onto a plate.

  • Turn stove down to medium low and add remaining 2 tbsp of olive oil.

  • Soffrito: Add garlic and onion and sauté for 2 minutes. Then add the carrots and celery and sauté slowly for 5 minutes.

  • Add remaining Ragu ingredients and return the beef to the pot (including pooled juices). Turn the stove up and bring it to a simmer, then turn it down to low so it's bubbling very very gently. (Note 7)

  • Slow cook:Cover the pot and let it cook for 2 hours or until beef is tender enough to shred. (Note 5 for slow cooker and pressure cooker).

  • Shred:Remove beef then coarsely shred with 2 forks. Return beef to the pot. Simmer for 30 minutes until sauce is reduced and thickened - beef will soften slightly more during this step.

  • Final season:Do a taste test and adjust the seasoning to your taste with salt and pepper. ALSO, add 1/2 tsp sugar if sauce is a bit sour for your taste (Note 6).Place the lid on and set aside until ready to serve (it's even better the next day and freezes well for months!).

To Serve (Note 4):

  • Bring a very large pot of water with 1 tbsp of salt to the boil.

  • Add pasta and cook for 1 minute less than the recommended cooking time as per the packet instructions.

  • Meanwhile, place 5 cups of the Ragu in a very large fry pan, dutch oven or use 2 normal size fry pans. Heat over high heat while the pasta is cooking.

  • When the pasta is ready, transfer it directly from the pot into the fry pan using tongs.

  • Add 3/4 cup of pasta water into the fry pan.

  • Gently toss the pasta (I use 2 wooden spoons) for 1 to 2 minutes, until the sauce water evaporates and leaves you with a thick Ragu sauce that coats the pasta.

  • Yell for your family to sit down at the dinner table because you need to serve it immediately!

  • Serve with plenty of freshly grated parmesan, or even better, with parmigiano reggiano.

Recipe Notes:

1. Beef - Cut the beef into 4 pieces that are around the size of a baseball. The cook time of this recipe assumes you do this.

2. Celery and carrots sautéed with the onions and garlic is called "soffritto" in Italian cooking. It is a very traditional base for many Italian dishes. Cooking them slowly over low heat releases their flavour and adds an extra dimension to this dish. But it's not a deal killer if you skip these ingredients.

3. Beef stock - You could use liquid beef stock instead of water + stock cubes.

4. Pappardelle pasta is the thick wide pasta and is ideal for this recipe because the shreds of beef cling to the thick pasta strands. If you can't find it, just use the widest pasta you can find eg tagliatelle, fettuccine.

Don't skip the step of tossing pasta with the sauce!This is called "emulsifying" and it is a KEY secret to awesome pastas because it makes the sauce cling to the pasta. Italian Nonna's will roll over in their graves if you don't do this! I can't stress enough what a difference emulsifying makes to pastas!

5. Slow Cooker & Pressure Cooker/Instant Pot -follow recipe to the end of Step 4 on the stove (or sauté function on your appliance). Turn heat up to high, add wine, stir and simmer for 3 minutes. Then transfer it all to the slow cooker or pressure cooker/IP, and add all remaining ingredients but DO NOT add water and extra salt & pepper.

Slow cook on low for 6 - 8 hours (i.e. 6 is enough, 8 hrs is fine, any more = beef turns to mush). Or pressure cook on high for 40 minutes. Shred beef then follow recipe.

6. Sugar - The sweetness of canned tomatoes differs depending on brand (typically more expensive = sweeter). So adjust the sweetness of your sauce to your taste by using sugar - 1/2 tsp at a time.

7. Low and slow - Turn the heat of the stove down to a level where it is bubbling very, very gently - a few bubbles here and there. This usually LOW on Gas Stoves but might be medium low on electric stoves. If it is too high - i.e. simmering rapidly (lots of bubbles appearing rapidly) - then you run the risk of the bottom burning. If it is too low, it will take longer to cook.

8. Recipe source:This recipe is based on classic slow cooked ragu recipes from Italian greats including Lidia Bastianich, Stafano Manfredi. It is not an exact replica of any, but is similar to many!

9. Storage - sauce keeps for 5 days in the fridge, or months in the freezer.

10.Beef Ragu nutrition assuming sauce serves 8. Nutrition includes 80g / 2.7oz dried pasta per serving (standard quantity). Note: recipe as written uses 500g/1 lb pack of pasta which will serve 5 - 6 people.

Nutrition Information:

Calories: 678cal (34%)Carbohydrates: 69g (23%)Protein: 42g (84%)Fat: 26g (40%)Saturated Fat: 9g (56%)Cholesterol: 170mg (57%)Sodium: 1451mg (63%)Potassium: 1155mg (33%)Fiber: 5g (21%)Sugar: 8g (9%)Vitamin A: 3105IU (62%)Vitamin C: 13.2mg (16%)Calcium: 107mg (11%)Iron: 6.4mg (36%)

Keywords: Beef ragu, Ragu, Ragu Sauce, Slow Cooked Shredded Beef Ragu

Did you make this recipe?I love hearing how you went with my recipes! Tag me on Instagram at @recipe_tin.

Today’s recipe is brought to you with thanks toSan Remo. When they asked if I would consider showcasing one of their products in a recipe, it seemed meant-to-be because I wanted to republish thisSlow Cooked Shredded Beef Ragu and in fact, I had made the video using San Remo pappardelle pasta before they approached me! I figured it was a sign.❤️San Remo is Australia’s most well known pasta brand and is available at supermarkets all around Australia, including the pappardelle I recommend using for this recipe.


Pappardelle pup. (Try saying that 10 times real fast after a few glasses of wine.)

Slow Cooked Shredded Beef Ragu Pasta (8)

Slow Cooked Shredded Beef Ragu Pasta (2024)


Why is my beef ragu not tender? ›

My beef is still tough, what do I do? Keep cooking! If the beef is still tough after 2.5 hours of cooking, it needs to cook for longer. Make sure the sauce is still bubbling very gently (you should be able to see bubbles appearing in the sauce; if not, the heat is too low and the beef will take a lot longer to cook).

Can you overcook beef ragu? ›

When it comes to slow-braised beef ragus, you can't really overcook the sauce. It's recommended that your cook your ragu for at least two hours. If you plan on cooking for longer, make sure there is enough liquid in the pot to keep the sauce properly hydrated so it doesn't burn.

What cut of beef is best for ragu? ›

I use fairly inexpensive braising or stewing steak – often known as chuck steak, which comes from the forequarter. Usually, this consists of parts of the neck, shoulder blade, and upper arm. It's a tough but very flavorful cut of meat.

What pasta is best for ragu sauce? ›

What pasta should I pair with ragù? There are plenty of fantastic options when it comes to pairing ragù with pasta. pappardelle and tagliatelle are great options, as the long and wide strips are perfect for catching tender morsels of sauce.

Does slow cooking beef longer make it more tender? ›

Aside from being juicier, slow-cooking makes meat a lot more tender and flavorful. The extra juices help to accomplish this but it's mainly the long-cooking time that brings out the richness of the meat. You're giving the meat a chance to mature in a sense bringing all the flavors to life.

How long should ragu simmer? ›

I use water as this is practical for me for a sauce that takes this long, but you can also use beef stock. Unless you are using a pressure cooker, it will take 2 to 3 hours to extract the collagen from the meat and allow it to soften. You will know it's ready by taste.

What makes ragu taste better? ›

Pungent fresh herbs like thyme, rosemary, sage, tarragon, and marjoram can liven up tomato sauce with their bold, distinctive flavors. Add 1 to 2 sprigs of one or more of them to your favorite sauce, cover, and simmer at least 5 minutes to allow them to infuse in the sauce. Remove the sprigs before serving.

What is the difference between ragu and goulash? ›

Often goulash is also regarded as equal with ragout. In a ragout, the pieces of meat are usually not seared before but braised immediately in broth or other liquid. Put simply, ragout = goulash without searing.

What is the difference between a ragu and a Bolognese? ›

Even though both are considered meat sauces and are thusly chunky, ragù is more like a thick tomato sauce with recognizable bits of ground beef within it. Bolognese, though, is creamier and thicker because it is made with milk. It is not considered to be a tomato sauce.

Should you mix ragu with pasta? ›

The proper (read: pedantic, old fashioned) way to serve ragu alla bolognese is with tagliatelle. And, yes, traditionally, the pasta and sauce should come well-intermixed, ready to eat.

How to make ragu pasta better? ›

Mix in Some Meat

Mixing meat into your jarred pasta sauce will do wonders for making it taste high-quality. Browning and adding some sausage, turkey, chicken or ground beef will increase your sauce's flavor, incorporate extra texture, infuse a heartier taste and up the protein content.

What to add to Ragu spaghetti sauce to make it taste better? ›

Flavor It

Even better, season it! Taste the sauce once it's warm and add some seasoning. Maybe it needs a touch of salt, red pepper flakes, or some fresh garlic to liven it up. You could add dried or fresh herbs too: oregano, basil, thyme, tarragon, parsley—they're all great!

Why is my slow cooked beef not tender? ›

Beef may be tough in the slow cooker if you haven't added enough liquid, or haven't cooked it for long enough,” Kristen Carli, M.S., R.D., owner of Camelback Nutrition & Wellness, tells SELF. “For cuts of meat, the fattier cuts are often the ones that get juicy and tender.

How do you make beef so soft and tender? ›

There are a few methods, but this is the easiest way: Sprinkle 3/4 tsp baking soda (bi-carbonate soda) on 250g / 8oz sliced economical beef cuts. Toss with fingers, leave for 30 minutes. Rinse, pat off excess water.

How do you make tough beef tender again? ›

7 Ways to Tenderize Steak
  1. Pounding. Using a meat mallet (or kitchen mallet) to pound steaks helps soften and tenderize the meat. ...
  2. Salting. Most cuts of steak benefit from being salted up to an hour in advance of cooking, but especially tougher cuts. ...
  3. Marinating. ...
  4. Velveting. ...
  5. Slow Cooking. ...
  6. Enzymatic Application. ...
  7. Scoring.
Oct 18, 2022

Does beef get softer the longer you boil it? ›

Your meat will be juicier and more tender

The longer cooking time and the low heat complement each other perfectly. As a result, even though the meat is cooked for far longer, it doesn't dry out because the temperature is low. As a result, this is the best way to retain all the natural juices of the meat.

Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Mrs. Angelic Larkin

Last Updated:

Views: 6236

Rating: 4.7 / 5 (47 voted)

Reviews: 94% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Mrs. Angelic Larkin

Birthday: 1992-06-28

Address: Apt. 413 8275 Mueller Overpass, South Magnolia, IA 99527-6023

Phone: +6824704719725

Job: District Real-Estate Facilitator

Hobby: Letterboxing, Vacation, Poi, Homebrewing, Mountain biking, Slacklining, Cabaret

Introduction: My name is Mrs. Angelic Larkin, I am a cute, charming, funny, determined, inexpensive, joyous, cheerful person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.