Pulled Beef Brisket Ragu

I took inspiration for this recipe from Donna Hay's slow cooked beef ragu pasta. I normally make my pasta sauces in large quantities (recipe here), and freeze the portions. I thought I would try something different and do a traditional ragu with braised beef instead. I wanted to use brisket as I know from previous experience it has the perfect ratio of fat to meat for pulling and thought it would work well in a ragu (I was right!!) most online recipes called for chuck steak, which is great for dicing into stews but thats not exactly what I wanted.

So thanks to Donna Hay, I've taken a few steps from her recipe and then put my own spin on it. Enjoy!

You will need... (makes 6 generous serves)
1kg beef brisket, outer fat layer trimmed, sliced into four pieces
plain flour for dusting
3 Tbs olive oil
salt and pepper
1/4 cup diced pancetta or bacon
1 large brown onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup red wine
2 cups salt-reduced beef stock
2 400gr tins diced Italian tomatoes
2 Tbs tomato paste
2 tsp brown sugar
1 tsp dried basil
2 bay leaves
dried pasta of your choice (penne, casarecce, rigatoni, fusilli, orecchiette all work well!)
125gr butter
sharp hard cheese to serve (Parmesan is the go-to but I used Manchego)

1. Coat the beef in the flour and dust off excess. Heat half the oil in a non-stick deep frying pan, and add the beef. Cook on medium briefly on both sides to seal (just lightly brown). Remove and transfer to a baking dish or slow-cooker.
2. Add the remaining oil to the pan, turn to low and add the onions and diced pancetta. Cook, stirring, until onion is translucent. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant.
3. Adjust heat to high and pour in the red wine, cook down to reduce by half. Add the tomato paste and stir well to mix.

4. Place the diced tomatoes, stock, herbs and seasoning into the pan and bring to the boil. Pour over brisket.

5. Cook, covered, on low (160 degrees celsius fan-forced or low slow-cooker setting) for 4 hours or until beef is tender and sauce is thickened. Taste to adjust the seasoning.
6. To serve, remove the beef from the sauce using tongs or a slotted spoon. Use a fork or knife to pull the beef into chunks. Return to the sauce.
6. Boil the pasta as per packet instructions. Drain.
7. Spoon the desired amount of ragu into a large pan, add the butter and stir until butter has melted and sauce has become glossy, add the pasta and mix to coat. Serve with lashings of grated cheese.


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