Slow-cooked Italian Beef Cheek Ragù with Pappardelle

, from Issue #91. June, 2020
Photography by Josh Griggs.
Slow-cooked Italian Beef Cheek Ragù with Pappardelle

Let us introduce you to a meltingly tender, slow-cooked beef cheek ragù. Serve with just-cooked pappardelle and sprinkle with lashings of parmesan.

Serves: 8


2 tablespoons olive oil
2 kilograms beef cheeks, trimmed, halved (see Cook’s note)
80 grams pancetta or bacon, chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
2 sticks celery, finely chopped
6 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh oregano
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2½ cups red wine
1 cup passata
2 teaspoons caster sugar
sea salt and ground pepper

To serve
hot cooked pappardelle
1 cup freshly
grated parmesan
oregano leaves


Preheat the oven to 160°C.

Heat the oil in a large heavy-based ovenproof casserole dish and, in batches, sear the beef cheeks on all sides for a few minutes. Remove to a dish and set aside.

Add the pancetta to the dish and cook over a medium high heat for 3-4 minutes, then reduce the heat and add the onion, celery, garlic, rosemary and oregano. Cook for 10 minutes until the onion is softened but not coloured. Add the tomato paste, wine, passata and sugar and stir to combine. Season to taste and bring to a boil.

Add the beef cheeks back to the dish, cover and braise in the oven for about 4 hours until meltingly tender. Remove and shred the beef cheeks and add back to the sauce.

To serve: Serve the ragù over hot pappardelle and top with parmesan and fresh oregano.

Cook's note: Beef cheeks can be substituted for stewing steak such as cross-cut, cut into 4cm pieces.