A gorgeous sticky rich onion beef ragu is perfect if you’re looking for some sexy slow cooking action. Only requiring a handful of ingredients, the magic is in the love and patience you give to this dish.
Onion beef shin ragu pasta
Inspired by a Neapolitan pasta dish PASTA ALLA GENOVESE and I’m not talking about pesto guys. This is a beautiful slow-cooked ragu made with sticky sweet onions and beef shin using Garofalo Penne Ziti ‘Lisce’ -which means smooth in Italian, to create the best pasta ragu combination
The key to this ingredient is a lot of onions. I mean a lot. Even if you think you have too much, you may not have enough. The more onions you use the better. The longer you cook them the sweeter they become and when you combine that with the tenderness of the slow-cooked beef shin, you will have this meat ragu that will forever turn your head. Also, this recipe requires patience and time. The secret ingredient is the love and attention you will give this dish but it’s worth the effort.
This dish originally uses ZITI, originating from Campania. It is shaped into a long, wide tube, that needs to be broken by hand into smaller pieces before cooking. However, Garofalo has done the hard work for you and have Penne Ziti ‘Lisce’ which are perfect for this dish.
Using only the best quality semolina flour, Garofalo pasta has a high protein content, which helps retain starch, hold its shape and give that perfect ‘al dente’ texture that we should all be looking for.
Secondly, even though this shape has a smooth texture without any indents of ridges, Garofalo pasta is bronze-died, which gives the pasta a rough, porous surface making it perfect for sauces to bind and cling to regardless of the texture.
2 tbsp olive oil
1 kg onions, sliced into 0.5cm slices
1 celery stalk, finely diced
1 carrot, finely diced
500g beef shin, cut into large chunks
180ml dry red wine
1 tbsp tomato purée
250ml vegetable stock
300g Penne Ziti ‘Lisce’ by Garofalo
- In a casserole dish, pour in the olive oil and melt the butter on a gentle low heat.
- When the butter has melted, add the celery and carrot into the pan and coat in the olive oil and butter, followed by the sliced onions. Add 1/2 a teaspoon of salt and keep on stirring your vegetables for about 10 minutes until they start to gently soften.
- Add and nestle the beef into the onions, cover and cook over a gentle heat for about an hour.
- Lift the lid, season the meat with salt and pepper and stir all your ingredients well together. The onion will have released a lot of liquid.
- Pour in the wine, turn the leat up to low/medium and cook until the majority has been absorbed and evaporated.
- Turn the heat back down to low and stir in the tomato puree with half of the vegetable stock to start off with. Cover the pan again and cook for another hour. Keep an eye on it and if it looks like it’s drying out then add a little more vegetable stock.
- Finish off the dish with zest from half a lemon. Taste and add any additional seasoning if needed.
- Cook your pasta in salty boiling water as instructed on the packet. Drain and add to the onion and beef ragu. Make sure you coat the pasta well with the ragu.
- Using a combo of olive oil and butter will not ony enhance the flavours of your ingredients, but olive oil has also a higher smoking point than butter which prevents the butter from burning.
- It’s important that the onions are not sliced too thinly as it will help create a thicker and stickier sauce.
- If you can’t get hold of beef shin, then any beef cut good for slow cooking can be used. Also, slice the beef in larger rather than smaller chunks. This will help prevent the beef from over cooking and becoming tough.
- No tip
- A dry red wine (such as a Chianti) is great for this recipe. It will bring depth to the overall dish and add another beautiful layer of flavour.
- By adding a little more liquid (stock), it helps prevent it from drying out while slowcooking and give it a lovely shine.
- Adding a little lemon zest will balance out the rich meat flavour, and enhance the overall flavour of the dish.
- Make sure you cook your pasta in salty water, otherwise a bland under-seasoned pasta will underwhelm the overall dish.
If you would love to perfect a pasta bake or another dish, why not join the Sauce club -6-week fun online cooking course to help build your cooking confidence. Or why not join a fun cooking community, the Saucy Society, where you will be taught how to cook new inspiring delicious healthy dinners regularly and give you cooking accountability to make sure your cooking is always evolving.