Dinner Diva Chuck Steak Pasta Sauce ….. Ragu di Fusello

Pappardelle al Ragu di Fusello

There is absolutely no denying that cuts of beef such as chuck or blade are not only cost effective but the flavour that they add to a pasta sauce is incredible. My mum used to refer to these cuts as sweet meat and only ever used them to make her steak and kidney pies. They do require longer in the pot to get the meat tender but if you have a slow cooker, you could put this sauce on in the morning and come home to a pot of delicious pasta sauce, ready to cook with when you get home.

Carol, of Underberg fame, had some doctors’ appointments in Durban this past week and spent a few days with us at la casa Tripepi. She arrived with dozens of beautiful fresh eggs of all shapes and sizes as usual, and kilograms of beautiful chutney flavoured biltong that is produced locally in Underberg. The day before her arrival, I phoned her, as I always do to see if she had any special requests for dinner. Her response was standard, “OhHHHH, absolutely anything my JanJan’ she giggled, “as long as it’s pasta!” I just love her!

So, on went enough Chuck Sauce to dress our pasta that evening, and enough to freeze for another meal for 6 – 8 people. Whenever I make a sauce that needs to cook for hours I always double up and make extra to freeze for another meal. It just makes perfect sense.

I have been dying to make Pappardelle for the longest time. Pappardelle are very broad noodles and are about 8cm in length. There is no denying it, they are big! The flip flop into your mouth and make for a very sensual eating experience. Anyone who is adept at using a rolling pin could make these without using a pasta roller.

I am posting this recipe in two parts, The Chuck Ragu in the first post and How to Make Fresh Pappardelle in the second post. I am doing it this way

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Chuck Pasta Sauce

Ragu di Fusello


Olive Oil for frying

3kg of chuck steak

3 medium onions finely chopped

1tbs dried oregano

8 cloves garlic finely chopped

6 sprigs fresh rosemary

6 sprigs fresh thyme

1Tbs tomato paste

4 bay leaves

3 chicken stock cubes

1tbs fine black pepper

3 carrots peeled and chopped into 3cm lengths

3 sticks of celery washed and cut into 3cm lengths

½ bottle red wine

2 large cans of tinned tomatoes – squashed roughly in a bowl

½ can water


Preheat your oven to 160degrees

In a large heavy based pot heat enough oil to cover the bottom of the pot generously

Pat the chuck steaks dry and brown each steak on both sides. It’s best to do this in batches so you don’t overcrowd the pan. Set them aside on a plate to catch the juices that will leach from them.

Add you garlic, onion, stock cubes, pepper, bay, rosemary, thyme and oregano to the same pot that you browned the meat in and brown well.

Add the red wine to the pot, using a wooden spoon scrape the bottom of the pot to make sure that the caramelisation is incorporated into the sauce, cook until all of the alcohol has evapourated. If you don’t like to cook with alcohol, dissolve the three chicken stock cubes in 400ml of boiling water and use this stock to deglaze the pan.

Add the carrots, celery and squashed tinned tomatoes, give the sauce a good stir and place the browned steaks back into this sauce. Make sure that they are submerged under the sauce and if you need to add a cup of water to increase the amount of sauce.

Bring the pot to the boil, cover with a lid or some tin foil and place into the oven. Cook at 160 degrees for 40 minutes then reduce the heat to 100d for another hour.

When the meat is falling apart, remove from the oven and allow it to cool a little. With a slotted spoon, remove the herb stalks, bay leaves, celery and carrot pieces. If your chuck was quite fatty remove the pieces of fat.

You are left with a beautiful big pot of Meat sauce.

When the sauce is ready the meat should just fall apart when you put a fork in it.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil

Add the Pappardelle and cook for approximately 4 – 5 minutes or until tender.

Fresh Pappardelle – click on the picture for the recipe.

Drain the water in a colander

Put the Pappardelle back into the pot – add 5 large spoons of sauce and mix well into the pasta.

Serve in bowls with a little extra sauce on the top – making sure to give each person a few pieces of meat.

Top with a few teaspoons of grated Parmesan cheese.

Dinner Divas

Watch out for my blog post on Friday –

I will be sharing the first instalment of my Dinner Diva adventure with you, my thoughts and experiences

along with my Diva Chocolate Truffle recipe.

Diva Chocolate Truffles

When the going gets tough …. The tough get chocolate!

As always

Buon Appetito



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