Rich beef ragu with rosemary gremolata

  • serves 8
  • A little effort

You can make this ragu a day or two ahead and it feeds a lot of people so it’s brilliant if you want to get ahead over the Christmas period. It’s also great with pappardelle or garlicky mash.



  • plain flour for dusting
  • beef shin 1.5 kg, left in big slices/pieces
  • olive oil
  • onions 2, finely chopped
  • carrots 3, finely diced
  • celery 3 stalks, finely diced
  • garlic 6 cloves, finely sliced
  • rosemary chopped to make 1 tbsp
  • star anise 1
  • robust red wine 1 bottle
  • passata 250ml
  • chicken stock 1 litre
  • instant polenta 250g
  • parmesan 100g, grated
  • butter 125g
  • parsley
  • rosemary needles chopped to make ½ tsp
  • lemon
  • garlic 1 clove, finely chopped


  • Step 1

    Heat the oven to 160C/fan 140C/gas 3. Put about 4 tbsp flour on a plate and season. Dust the beef in the flour and shake off the excess. Heat some oil in a large non-stick frying pan and cook the shin pieces until they have a good colour. Transfer to an ovenproof casserole.

  • Step 2

    Add the onion, carrot, celery and garlic to the frying pan, then season and cook for about 10 minutes, until soft. Add the rosemary and star anise and cook for a few minutes. Add enough wine to loosen any bits on the bottom of the pan then tip everything into the casserole with the beef. Add the passata to the beef pan with the rest of the red wine, then bring up to a simmer. Cover the pan with foil and put on a lid to create a good seal. Transfer to the oven and cook for 3½ hours, then check the beef is done – you want it to fall apart easily. If it doesn’t, put it back in the oven for another 30 minutes to an hour.

  • Step 3

    Mix the gremolata ingredients together. Make the polenta by heating the chicken stock in a pan. Pour in the polenta, whisking until it is combined. Cook for 4 minutes, then beat in the parmesan and butter.

  • Step 4

    Serve the ragu with the polenta and sprinkle with the gremolata.

Nutritional Information

  • Kcals 729
  • Fat 33.7g
  • Carbs 38.7g
  • Fibre 4g
  • Protein 50.1g
  • Salt 1.1g