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When it’s cold and gray outside, almost nothing is more comforting than a warm, hearty homemade meal. Braising is one of my favorite cooking methods, and this savory ragu is the perfect cure for the winter blues. I like to start this recipe right after breakfast, so the whole house smells incredible for hours!

Brian’s Ragu


  • 1 ½ lb beef, chuck, boneless, silver skin removed, cut in half
  • ½ yellow onion, peeled, rough cut
  • 1 small carrot, peeled, butt end removed, rough cut
  • 2 ribs celery, washed, rough cut
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled, butt removed, smashed then sliced
  • 3 Tbsp+ extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 oz red wine
  • 32 oz San Marzano tomato puree
  • 8 oz San Marzano tomatoes, whole, peeled in juice, crushed
  • 4 basil leaves, torn
  • 1 lb DeCecco rigatoni pasta
  • 2 Tbsp parsley, chopped
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • Freshly cracked pepper to taste


  1. In a food processor, combine onion, carrot and celery. Process into a fine mince. Remove and set aside.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large cast iron Staub Pot until almost smoking.
  3. Season beef with salt and cracked pepper and sear on all sides, adjusting heat to brown evenly.
  4. Remove the beef from the pot and set aside.
  5. Turn down heat and add a little more olive oil if necessary to brown the garlic. Add onion, celery and carrot mixture and sauté until soft.
  6. Place the beef back into the pot and add red wine, then add the tomato puree and the tomatoes in juice. Stir to distribute tomatoes evenly.
  7. Cover the pot and turn flame down to simmer.
  8. Check every 30 minutes, but this ragu will simmer long and slow for about for hours or until beef is tender.
  9. Meanwhile, bring a separate pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the rigatoni until tender, drain and place on a sheet pan to cool.
  10. Toss rigatoni with olive oil to keep it from sticking together, reserve until ragu is ready.
  11. When the beef is tender, remove it from the pot and let cool enough to pull it apart into bite-sized chunks. Turn off heat.
  12. Add beef back into the sauce with the torn basil and chopped parsley. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and cracked pepper.
  13. Stir rigatoni into the sauce over medium heat until hot, serve right from the Staub pot.
  14. Garnish with freshly grated parmesan cheese and chili flakes.

The simple preparation and truly delicious flavor of this ragu make it a great go-to recipe for any cook. It will feed four to five people, so this dish is ideal for your next get-together or just for a cozy winter night at home.

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