Who doesn’t love a good ragù! Rigatoni is one of my favourite pastas for a ragù as it’s just the right size to get all the chunks stuck inside it and chunky enough to not get overwhelmed by the sauce.
This is a really simple sauce to put together and can make the base for 99% of tomato and/or meat based sauces. Despite being rich and thick, its actually quite light on the stomach and is low in calories.
- 1 Tbsp. Olive Oil
- 2 Cloves of Garlic
- 2 Small Carrots or 1 Large Carrot
- 1 Celery Stalk
- 2 Shallots
- 2 Romano Red Peppers
- Diced Pancetta
- 400 grams Lean Steak Mince
- 250 ml Beef Stock
- ½ Tbsp. Sugar
- 1 Tbsp. Tomato Puree
- 1 Tin Plum Tomatoes
- 2 handfuls Cherry Tomatoes
- Fresh Parsley
- 80 ml Whole Milk
- 400 grams Rigatoni Pasta
Firstly, prepare all the veggies, so start by finely chopping Carrots, Celery, Shallots & Peppers into small pieces. Ideally you want all the veggies to be chopped to a similar size, so they cook evenly and give a good texture to the sauce. This is called Sofrito and is the core base of all Ragu dishes to get that deep flavour!
Heat a large pan, add the Olive Oil and then the Mince. Allow it to brown all over (about 5 minutes) and then add in the diced Pancetta and continue to fry until the Pancetta starts to go a little crispy – at this stage if the pan is dry just add in a splash more Olive Oil.
Next add in the Sofrito (the chopped Veggies) along with the crushed Garlic and Cherry Tomatoes. If you find the pan is still a little too dry and you are worried it is burning, then just add a splash of water and give it all a good mix! This helps to deglaze the pan and enhances the flavour. Allow it to cook and stir every now and then until the Sofrito softens (about 10 minutes) on a medium to low heat so it is just gently sizzling away. Squeeze in the Tomato Puree and stir until it all becomes a bright red colour!
Now pour in the Beef Stock, Tinned Tomatoes and Sugar and allow to cook uncovered on a medium heat so it is gently bubbling away for roughly 30 minutes.
Towards the end of the cooking time fill a large pan with boiling water, add a pinch of Salt and then add in the Rigatoni Pasta. Allow to cook for 8-10 minutes.
Once the Pasta is cooked drain it, but as with all my Pasta recipes make sure you save 1 ladle full of that precious Pasta Water!
Season the Ragu Sauce with a few Sea Salt Flakes, some Black Pepper and a handful of Chopped Parsley. Give it a good mix and then add in the Milk and let simmer for a couple of minutes.
Finally pour in the cooked Pasta along with the reserved Pasta Water, stir until it is all combined and then serve!
- This is a quick Ragu – a true Ragu take over 3 hours of low and slow cooking, so to ensure you get maximum flavour within a quick time the Sofrito is key so make sure you cook it for the 10 minutes until it really softens.
- It may seem strange to add Milk to a Ragu Sauce, but trust me – this is very common, and it really enriches the flavour and reduces some of the acidity from the tomatoes.
- There are so many brands of Tinned Tomatoes and it may seem like they are all the same but believe me they are not. When you are trying to get great flavour in a rich sauce like a Ragu relatively quickly it is important to try and get good quality Tinned Tomatoes it really does make a huge difference. The best ones I have come across are Mutti.
Meet the Author
My name is Georgie and I LOVE all things food. It marks most occasions and life events in some way for me – family celebrations where a bake off will almost certainly be on the cards, travelling the world to seek out culinary sensational overloads, a night out being wined & dined or just being in my kitchen; my favourite place at home and working those creative muscles.Learn more