Slow Cooker Shredded Beef Ragu Pasta, a complete dinner meal for your family. Jam-packed with rich Italian flavours, this dish is the best comfort food no matter the season. The beef is so tender it simply melts in your mouth, and the sauce is so flavourful.
It's that time of the year again when the start putting the slow cookers to good use again. That I love using my crock pot, it's surely an understatement. It's not even a fancy one, it's basic, but it does a great job, which is more than I first expected when I purchased it.
The fact that it takes the pressure off of having to fuss over dinner when time is short is absolutely priceless. You set everything on, then let the magic happen while you get on with your day. And finding some delicious beef ragu ready for you when you get home is just amazing.
What is an Italian Ragu
Ragu is a delicious Italian meat-based sauce that uses minced beef usually, but then again we can get creative here. It's pretty similar to what we know as bolognese sauce, although I hear Italians are quite confused by the term.
I suppose lots of recipes that we take as Italian are actually the westernised version of the classic Italian dishes.
But anyway, ragu is a rich and nutritious sauce, the perfect accompaniment to any pasta, and cooking it in the slow cooker means that the beef gets to simply melt. My kind of food, really!
How to make beef ragu in the slow cooker
The secret to a flavourful ragu sauce is using a good beef steak like beef chuck. It cooks beautifully in the tomato and veggie sauce, and falls apart when cooked slowly for a few good hours. You don't even need to use forks to shred it!!!
- season the beef chuck with salt and pepper, and fry on both sides until brown
The beef is not cooked through at this stage, but browning it adds flavour and richness to the sauce, so I highly recommend it. It's not compulsory, if you don't have time, using raw meat is ok, but it does deepen the flavours.
- remove the meat from the pan and transfer it to the slow cooker
- in the same pan, fry the onions until golden, then add the garlic, chopped carrots and celery
The onions will soak up the beef bits and flavour released by the beef, adding extra flavours, hence why l like frying them in the same pan
- add the canned chopped tomatoes, beef broth, and simmer for 2-3 minutes
- transfer everything to the slow cooker, add bay leaves, and leave to cook on high for 5-6 hours, and on low for 8-10 hours
Can I cook the beef ragu on the stove top?
Absolutely! If you don't want to cook it in a crock pot, you can still get a super tender beef ragu, and still cooked slowly. The difference will be that we'll need a lot more beef stock than we do for the slow cooker.
A crock pot keeps all the steam inside, which means the meat gets cooked mainly in its own juices. On the stove top, however, we need to keep adding broth gradually until the beef is tender.
Start with 2 cups of broth, and leave to cook on a medium heat with the lid on. I don't think you need more than 5 cups of broth for this recipe, but depending on the type of beef steak use, you might need more or less. All the others steps are the same as cooking it in a slow cooker.
You can also cut up the beef steak into chunks, if you want to speed up the cooking time, although probably not by too much.
Other beef recipes made in the slow cooker
Slow Cooker Hungarian Beef Goulash
Slow Cooker Beef Tips with Gravy
Slow Cooker Ground Beef and Sweet Potato Chili
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Slow Cooker Shredded Beef Ragu Pasta
- Slow Cooker
- 1 lb beef chuck steak (about 500 g)
- 2 carrots
- 2 celery sticks
- 1 large onion
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 1 tin chopped tomatoes
- 1 cup beef broth
- ¼ teaspoon salt and pepper
- 2 tablespoon grated parmesan
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- Season the steak with salt and pepper.
- Heat up the oil in a pan over a medium heat, and brown the steak on both sides for 3-4 minutes.
- Remove from the pan and transfer it to the slow cooker.
- Peel and chop the onion, garlic, carrots and celery sticks.
- In the same pan, fry the onions until soft adding more oil if necessary.
- Add the chopped garlic, carrots and celery, give it a good stir, then add the canned tomatoes and beef broth.
- Transfer everything to the slow cooker and leave to cook on high for 5-6 hours or on low for 8-10 hours until the beef is tender and the sauce has thicken.
- Use 2 forks to shred the beef if there are big chunks, although at this stage the beef is very tender and fall apart easily.
- Add the parmesan, season to taste, and garnish with chopped parsely.
- Serve with any pasta of your choice.
What size are your cans of tomatoes?
I normally use the 400g ones, 13oz.