How to Cook
To make the Italian Tomato Sauce:
- Heat the olive oil in a medium/large saucepan. Add the onion and cook over a low heat until onion softens, stirring regularly.
- Add garlic and cook a further minute. Pour over Wattie's Tomatoes Chopped in Juice and add Gregg’s Rubbed Sweet Basil, Gregg’s Rubbed Oregano, balsamic vinegar, sugar and salt. Stir while bringing the sauce to the boil. Reduce heat to a low simmer. Cook for 30 minutes with the lid off, stirring occasionally making sure the sauce does not reduce too much. Remove from the heat. Taste and adjust seasoning adding a little extra salt and black pepper if wished. When cooked it will make approximately 2 and ½ cups of sauce.
To make the Beef Ragu:
- Preheat the slow cooker on low. Heat a dash of oil in a frying pan. Brown the beef cheeks over a high heat. Remove them from the pan and place into the slow cooker. Reduce the pan heat. Add the celery and carrot and stir-fry for 2 minutes. Stir in Wattie’s Tomato Paste.
- Add the red wine and allow to boil and reduce by a third. Pour over the Italian Sauce. Stir and bring to the boil. Pour sauce into the slow cooker over the beef cheeks. Cover. Cook for 7-8 hrs until the meat is very tender and pulls apart easily.
- Once the meat is cooked remove it from the sauce. With 2 forks pull it into small pieces. The sauce should be thick enough to coat the meat but still pourable. If necessary thin with a little water. Add the meat back into the sauce. Taste and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper if necessary. Serve over Pappardelle pasta. Garnish with chopped fresh parsley and a little grated Parmesan if wished.
* Use a merlot or cabernet sauvignon. If you don’t want to add red wine, omit this step and add ½ cup beef stock with the Italian sauce.
** The Ragu can also be cooked in the oven. Cook at 140°C (fan assisted) or 150°C (conventional) for 4 ½ - 5 hours. The sauce may become quite thick so check after about 3 hours of cooking, adding a little extra water if necessary.
** Cook pasta according to packet directions. Use any of your favourite pasta shapes – fettuccine, spaghetti or penne will work well.
** The Ragu can be made the day before and reheated. Often slow cooked meals such as the Ragu taste better when reheated.
** Use gluten-free pasta to make this recipe gluten-free.
** To freeze: allow the meat sauce to cool. Spoon into airtight containers. Cover and freeze. Can be frozen for up to 1 month. Thaw in the refrigerator before reheating.
Other Ways To Use This Sauce:
*** Depending on how you use the sauce - you may want to add a little stock or water.
- Heat the sauce and pour over grilled sausages, steak or chicken.
- Brown chicken thighs in a lidded frypan. Pour over sauce. Cover and simmer for 40-45 mins, until chicken thighs are cooked.
- Brown 400g mince. Pour over sauce. Stir and simmer for 30 minutes - serve over your favourite pasta. Add sliced mushrooms to the browned mince if wished. Crumb fish fillets. Pan fry. Heat sauce, adding a few capers and olives if wished, and serve with the fish.
- Brown stewing steak in a flameproof casserole. Pour over sauce. Cover. Cook at 160°C for 2½-3 hours until meat is tender.
- Reduce sauce to a thick paste. Allow to cool and spread over pizza bases before topping with your favourite toppings.