This slow cooker Beef Ragu with Pappardelle is one of my favorite comfort food dishes. The tender beef melds with a velvety tomato and red wine sauce to create a simple, flavorful meal.
I tried many versions of beef ragu, changing and adjusting ingredients dozens of times, before I landed on this one. It seems so simple. But the ratio of ingredients and cooking method really do make a big difference in this recipe.
Also try this delicious Oxtail Ragu served with tagliatelle pasta.
There’s no dish more satisfying than this on a cool evening. It’s a soul-satisfying comfort dish. Admittedly, I avoided making something like this for a long time because I thought it would be too difficult to make it well. It looks like it needs to braise forever to develop flavor.
Braising beef is not a quick endeavor, that’s for sure. But it’s so worth it! I learned once I made this recipe the first time that it just takes patience. There isn’t any special magic to it. This combination of ingredients, when cooked for a long period of time over a slow heat, is just a winning combo.
The good news is that this dish can easily be made on the stovetop, in the slow cooker and also in the Instant Pot. If you have a preferred cooking method, you can go that route. The outcome will blow you away.
The flavors need time to develop and meld together into one stunning Ragu sauce, so the slow cooker is the perfect cooking method for this dish, if you have the time to devote to it. That usually means you need to prepare the slow cooker in the morning and let it cook all day.
I’ll give instructions below for cooking this in the Instant Pot too, in case you don’t have that much time. It cooks in a fraction of the time, in the Instant Pot.
The stovetop method is good, as well. I often cook this on the stovetop. You just need to be around all day if you do it that way, because you don’t want to leave it cooking without watching it.
How to Make Beef Ragu
Prepare all of the ingredients for this dish. You’ll need:
- Braising beef (shin, chuck steak, flank, or brisket)
- Cooking oil
- Red wine
- Beef broth
- Tomato paste
- Salt & pepper
Start by cutting them beef into 3″ chunks. Seasoning with salt and pepper. Add cooking oil to a skillet over medium heat and sear both sides of the meat until browned.
If you’re making this in the Instant Pot, you can sear the meat directly in the Instant Pot.
Transfer the pieces of meat from the pot to the slow cooker. In the skillet, add the wine a whisk to remove the browned bits off the bottom of the skillet. Simmer for 3 minutes. Add the beef broth, tomatoes, tomato paste and remaining salt and pepper. Stir to combine.
Pour the sauce over the meat in the slow cooker. Add the onions, garlic, and rosemary over the top. Cover with the lid and cook for 6-8 hours on low.
If you’re making this in the Instant Pot, close the lid and set the vent to sealing. Pressure cook for 45 minutes.
To cook on the stove top, cover the pot with a lid and simmer on low for 4 hours.
As it cooks, the meat will break down and become very fork-tender. It develops incredible flavors as it cooks.
It’s super important to have high-quality beef to make this recipe with. I’m a huge fan of the 100% grass-fed beef from ButcherBox. It’s a meat subscription box that’s delivered to your door monthly with the cuts of meat you choose. All the meat is humanely raised and never given antibiotics or added hormones. I appreciate the peace of mind that gives.
How to Serve Beef Ragu
Once the meat sauce is done cooking, remove the bigger pieces of meat and shred it. Then return the meat to the pot and simmer until you’re ready to serve it.
I personally love Pappardelle pasta. I can’t get enough of the long thick strands of pasta. So I always serve this ragu over pappardelle. However, if you can’t find or don’t want to use Pappardelle, you can serve this beef ragu on just about any pasta – tagliatelle, farfalle, rigatoni, even spaghetti.
This sauce also goes really well with polenta, if you’re avoiding flour or gluten. I’ve even had this on top of cauliflower rice and spiralized vegetables. Who am I kidding – it’s so good that you might be caught eating it straight from the pot.
Making Your Own Pasta
I highly encourage making your own pasta, if you’re up for the challenge. It’s really not difficult to make and it’s so much better than dried store-bought pasta.
Try this recipe to make your own pappardelle pasta at home.
Check out this amazing electric pasta maker from Hamilton Beach. Fresh, homemade pasta is now as simple as adding ingredients and pushing a button. In 15 minutes or less, you can have pasta that’s ready to boil. The pasta machine mixes, kneads and extrudes the pasta for you.
This electric pasta maker has 7 different pasta shapes: thick spaghetti, lasagna, spaghetti, angel hair, wide noodle, penne and fettuccine. It’s pretty brilliant.
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Slow Cooker Beef Ragu with Pappardelle
- 1 tbsp cooking oil (15ml)
- 1.5 lb beef shin or chuck roast (650gr)
- 4 oz red wine
- 4 oz beef broth
- 15 oz canned diced tomatoes (1 x 400gr can)
- 2 oz tomato paste
- 1/2 onion chopped
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1 tsp rosemary dried or fresh
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- Parmesan cheese grated, for garnish
- 4 oz Pappardelle pasta dried or homemade
- Cut the beef into 3” cubes. Season with salt and pepper.
- Add the cooking oil to a skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, add the beef and brown on each side. When done, transfer the beef to the slow cooker.
- Add the onion, garlic, and rosemary on top of the beef mixture in the slow cooker.
- Cook on high for 6-8 hours. When done, shred the beef and return it to the sauce.
- Cook the pasta according to the package instructions.
- Serve the ragu on top of the pasta. Top with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
- If making this in the Instant Pot, use the pot on Saute mode to brown the beef, then mix the sauce in the pot and add back in the beef. Cook for 45 minutes on high pressure with a natural pressure release. You may need to put the pot on Saute mode for 5 more minutes to thicken the sauce before serving.
- To cook on the stovetop, cover with a lid and cook for 3-4 hours, until the beef is easy to shred.
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Laura is a home cook who loves making new recipes and finding new favorite things to eat, whether at home or abroad. She also runs a popular travel blog and spends a lot of her time traveling for food.