Slow Cooker in Summer? Make this Easy Ragu Recipe While Relaxing at the Pool

Does your slow cooker gather dust all summer? Break it out this season and free up some of your time for other outdoor pursuits – like a glass of refreshing rosé on the patio. The slow cooker is great for summer cooking because it won’t heat up the whole house; just plug it in and forget it for a few hours.

For this super-easy ragu, we used veal flank steaks as a lighter alternative to beef. And although this cut is usually associated with quick-cooking, it works perfectly in this tasty slow-cooker ragu.

Make it this weekend, and learn more about our new humanely-raised French veal here.

veal ragu recipe hi res.jpgIn this recipe, our veal demi-glace adds body and balances the bright tomato flavor, while a touch of balsamic lends a gentle sweetness and tang. Fresh ricotta puts this rustic dish over the top and gently melts into the sauce.


  • Neutral oil (we used avocado)
  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed
  • Veal Flank Steaks, cut in half against the grain
  • Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 container Veal Demi-Glace
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 can (about 28 ounces) whole peeled San Marzano tomatoes, crushed by hand, liquid reserved
  • 1 medium carrot, diced
  • ½ rib celery, diced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 3 fresh basil leaves, chiffonade
  • Handful of fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1 pound pappardelle pasta, cooked al dente (reserve ½ pasta water)
  • Parmigiano Reggiano, freshly grated, for serving
  • 6 ounces best-quality whole milk fresh ricotta


  1. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, cook until golden and fragrant, about 2 minutes. Remove garlic and add to the slow cooker. Raise heat to high. Season veal with salt and pepper; brown lightly, about 2 minutes each side; add to the slow cooker.
  2. Drain oil from the skillet and discard. Add the water to the pan and scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan; pour into the slow cooker along with demi-glace, balsamic vinegar, tomato paste, tomatoes and ½ of the tomato liquid, carrot, celery, bay leaves, and thyme.
  3. Cover and cook until fork tender, about 4 hours on high or 6 hours on low.
  4. Remove bay and thyme, discard. Using 2 forks shred the veal right in the slow cooker. Taste for seasoning and add salt and/or pepper to taste. Add drained pasta and toss to coat. Add basil and parsley; add Parmigiano to taste, toss gently. Serve in warmed bowls and top with a generous scoop of fresh ricotta.

Recipe tip: If your ragu is too thick, you can thin it out with a little pasta water. If your ragu didn’t thicken up enough, you can reduce it in a pan over medium-high heat until thickened to your liking.

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