beef ragu

beef ragu gnocchi

January like no other month in the calendar is the one where we all seek comfort and warmth from our food. Short days and slow cooked meals making the perfect the dinner. Which is why it’s rather amusing that this dish is inspired by one my husband and I ate on our honeymoon in Venice on a gloriously warm day in May! This dish works equally well on a cold day as it does on a hot day dreaming of Venetian sunshine.

We were sat aside a canal in Venice enjoying a very lazy day and the most delicious bowl of gnocchi I’ve ever eaten! Soft pillows of fresh gnocchi with a light coating of ragu sauce, just enough to give you the taste, but not so much as to make you feel overloaded.

beef ragu

I’ve often thought of that dish and wanted to recreate it, so that’s what I’ve tried to do here. I believe the original we ate was using lamb as the base meat, I’ve used beef as that’s what my family like, this recipe would work with either.

beef ragu

Serves 8-10


  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 200g pancetta (diced)
  • 2 large onions (sliced)
  • 2 carrots (sliced)
  • 2 sticks celery (sliced)
  • 2 cloves garlic (crushed)
  • 5 chestnut mushrooms (sliced)
  • 200 ml white wine
  • large bunch flat leaf parsley (chopped)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 dsp dried oregano
  • 750g beef spaul (or similar cut for slow braising)
  • 2 x 400g tins plum tomatoes
  • 200 ml beef stock


Heat the olive oil, over a medium heat, in a large oven proof casserole and add the diced pancetta and saute until crispy.
Add the onion, carrot and celery to the pan and sauté gently for 5 minutes to soften, but not colour.
Add the garlic and mushrooms to the pan and stir for a minute, before adding the white wine to deglaze the pan. Add in all the remaining ingredients to the casserole, stir well to combine and cover with a tight fitting lid.
Place the casserole in a preheated oven at 140CFan and cook for 4-5 hours. Stir the ragu throughout the cook to ensure it does not stick. The stew is cooked when the meat is tender and falling apart.
Delicious served with gnocchi, you want the ragu to coat the pillows of gnocchi, rather than sitting in large chunks on top.

This recipe has been shared with CookBlogShare. Head over to check out some other great recipes from fellow food bloggers.



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