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.
In 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
- 4 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
- 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.
- 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.
- Cover and cook until fork tender, about 4 hours on high or 6 hours on low.
- 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.