Beef Cheek Ragu
Updated: Oct 23, 2021
Bit of a disclosure upfront with this recipe. I started out with the intent of making beef cheek ravioli. It would appear that you can add oozy saucy goodness into ravioli and into boiling water. You end up with a hot mess and not in the good sense. So I had to improvise on the spot and made beef cheek ragu with tagliatelle instead. In hindsight, it's actually probably for the best as I think I would have lost the depth of flavour from the beef cheeks if they were in ravioli. It was delicious, if I do say so myself.
I made this in the instant pot but you could do it in the slow cooker or oven.
2 beef cheeks
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 onion, diced
2 bay leaves
3 sprigs thyme, leave removed from one and chopped
100ml beef stock
1 teaspoon chilli powder
1 sachet tomato paste
1 oxo cube
350ml red wine (I used Merlot)
1 tbsp. salt
2 tbsp. pickling spice, crushed
3 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. pepper
1 red onion, finely diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 sachet tomato paste
Salt & pepper to taste
A few sprigs basil
600g tipo flour
1/2 tsp. salt
Flour to dust
Rub 1 tbsp. of oil on the beef cheeks. Rub in the pickling spice and the chopped thyme.
Heat the instant pot on the Sauté setting, add 1 tbsp. olive oil and brown the beef cheeks. You can do this in deep casserole pot if you don't have an instant pot.
Remove the beef cheeks and set aside.
Add another tbsp. oil, heat and add the onions. Fry off until starting to soften and brown. Add the garlic and fry for a minute. Stir in the tomato paste.
Add the wine and allow to reduce by half. Add the stock and cook for a couple of minutes. Then stir in the passata, chilli powder, herbs and salt and pepper,
Add the beef cheeks back into the pot, making sure to cover with some liquid. It doesn't have to be totally immersed in liquid.
I slowed cooked them for 2 hours and then pressure cooked them for a further 50 minutes. If you are slow cooking in the oven, it would probably take about 5-6 hours in a low temperature oven.
While the beef cheeks are cooking away, it's time to make the pasta. Add the flour and salt to a mixing bowl. Add in the cracked eggs and with a fork start bringing the dough together. As soon as it starts to look crumbly, get in there with your hands and bring it altogether. Dust a clean counter top with flour and knead the dough for 7 minutes or so. Cover with cling film and leave in the fridge for an hour minimum.
Start on the sauce. Heat a frying pan and add the remaining olive oil. Add the onions and fry until soft. Add the garlic and fry for a minute. Stir in the tomato paste and then the passata. Season with salt and pepper. Simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Once cooked, stir in the basil.
Once the pasta dough has rested, cut in half and on the dusted countertop, roll out the dough with a rolling pin. If you are using a pasta machine, feed the dough through the top setting on the first go (normally a 7). Dust some flour on the pasta sheet and feed it through on setting 3. Do the same process another 2 times. Then feed through the tagliatelle or thick pasta cutting setting. Replicate this process for the other half of the dough.
If you don't have a pasta machine, you will need put some welly into it and roll it out until rolled thinly. Dust and fold in half lengthways. Cut into long strips.
It's time to bring it altogether:
get a pot of boiling, salted water on the go
for the beef cheeks, pour out any excess sauce from the pot into a jug and set aside. Get 2 forks and pull apart the beef
Add the meat to the tomato sauce and stir through. If the tomato sauce is a bit thick, add some of the leftover ragu sauce in
Add half of the pasta to the boiling water and cook for 4 minutes. Drain and keep warm. Do the same for the remaining pasta.
You can stir the pasta through the sauce but I'm a weirdo and like the sauce just on top. Garnish with some chopped basil and parmesan cheese.