One of the main lessons I bought home from my #Trueitalian journey with Cirio is that less is more. With great ingredients, you need less of them to make a great dish. All the pasta dishes I ate in Italy, had simpler sauces, made with fewer ingredients, and certainly far less seasoning, and far less was needed to serve the dish. The only thing that there was not less of was flavour, without exception everything I ate was bursting with intense flavour.
In my ragu I used Cirio tinned chopped tomatoes, whose growing grounds that I had seen in the fields of Maremma, Tuscany. You could eat these tomatoes straight from the can, they are thick, deep red, the flesh is firm and the flavour is sweet and intense. They certainly do not need any pastes or purées to enhance the flavour and for a longer cook will need some added water to dilute them.
I really recommend making a double, or triple batch of this and filling the freezer. For more inspiration on how to use leftover ragu have a read of this post of 5 things to do with leftover bolognese sauce.
Proper slowly cooked Italian beef ragu with canned tomatoes
- Good glug olive oil
- 1 small onion – finely chopped
- 1 carrot – finely chopped
- 1 stick celery finely chopped
- 1 large clove garlic smashed
- 500 g top side of beef cubed
- 2 x 400g cans of Cirio Chopped tomatoes
In a heavy bottomed pan or casserole prepare a soffritto, by sautéing the onion, carrot, celery and garlic until they are soft and translucent. Add in the beef and fry until it is starting to brown.
Add in the two cans of Cirio chopped tomatoes, rinse each can with a splash of water and add to the pot. Stir well and add a smidgen of seasoning. Reduce the heat right down (I stand my pot on a diffuser on the smallest gas ring on the lowest setting) and leave, with the lid slightly ajar for about 90 minutes to gently cook – you want it to barely simmer – stirring every 10 minutes or so – until the beef is tender and falling apart.
I find that the ragu is best left to cool then refrigerated over night before eating. I freeze my ragu in individual portions in my silicon muffin pan.
To serve quickly reheat a large spoon of ragu per person in a small pan whilst your pasta is cooking, if needed, add a little of the pasta water to loosen the sauce. I like to add a knob of butter – which is an indulgence and really not necessary. Once the pasta is cooked, drain and return to the pan, pour the ragu over, gently toss and serve immediately with a sprinkle of grated Parmesan, a twist of pepper and a sprig of fresh basil.
I travelled to Italy with Cirio to discover the #TrueItalian way of life and cuisine as part of a sponsored campaign. All opinions are my own.