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Rich, comforting and full of bold flavours, this dish is the ultimate winter warmer.

Surprisingly enough, this recipe is also not too heavy on the Calories, and coupled with the fact that it’s slow cooked for a minimum of 1.5 hours, the beef melts in the mouth even if it’s a really lean cut.

Although ragu is traditionally an Italian recipe, I can’t help but add a touch of my heritage with Greek basil, red onion and wild oregano – I find these bits add sweetness and a little more depth!

Check it out 🙂

Prep Time: 30 mins

Cooking Time: 1.5 hrs (yes it’s long but totally worth it)

Serves: 2


  • 350g lean stewing beef cut into chunks (or for a more luxurious cut, try rump steak)
  • 2-3 rashers of smoked bacon, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 large red onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 stick of celery, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 large glass of red wine
  • 500ml sieved passata
  • pinch of dried, wild oregano (preferably Greek)
  • 2 tablespoons of ketchup
  • 200g baby plum tomatoes, halved
  • 2 large handfuls of frozen petit pois
  • 3-4 large handfuls of Greek basil
  • Fresh parpadelle to serve with (approximately 60-80g per portion)
  • Parmesan

You will also need:

  • Casserole dish with a lid or pyrex dish with lots of foil.


Step 1 – Preheat a non stick frying pan to a medium heat with a little olive oil and add the beef (seasoned) in 2-3 batches to seal. Only needs a couple minutes per batch, turn with tongs. Once sealed, remove from the pan and set aside.
Step 2 – Preheat a casserole or very large non stick pot with a little olive oil and add the onion, carrot and celery. Cook for 2-3 minutes and then add the garlic (any earlier it tends to burn and taste bitter). Keep stirring to avoid sticking.
Step 3 – Add the wine to the casserole and allow to evaporate for a minute. Then add the passata, dried oregano and plenty of salt and pepper. Stir to combine and bring to a gentle simmer for 3-4 minutes. Preheat the oven to 180C.
Step 4 – Stir in the ketchup, petit pois, baby tomatoes and lots of fresh chopped basil. Then add the chunks of sealed beef and all juices to the casserole and once again, bring to a gentle simmer for 3-4 minutes.
Step 5 – Add the lid to the casserole or large pan and place in the middle of the oven to cook for 1.5 hours (if your oven is very hot, turn down to 170C). Give it a stir a couple times throughout.
Step 6 – Once cooked, remove from the oven and allow to stand for 5 minutes. Then take a fork and pull/ squash the meat into strands, combining with the sauce and all the juicy bits to make a smooth-ish consistency. Add more basil leaves and salt and pepper to taste.
Step 7 – Serve with some fresh pappardelle pasta (only needs 2-3 minutes in salty boiling water) but remember to reserve some of the pasta cooking water to loosen up the sauce if needs! Grate some fresh parmesan and voila 😀

Tip: This recipe freezes really well! Double up on the ingredients and have a couple meals ready in the freezer for when you’re busy. Defrost overnight in the fridge.

Perfect with: Red wine. Obvs. I personally am a Malbec (Argentina) lover and will rarely be swayed but if I am, my second choice is a Pinot Noir (California or Australia).

Love Luce xo

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