Beef ragu

To be precise, this meal, in today’s terms would be called ribbed penne with a beef ragu. But my mum never called it that, she called it macaroni and it was a regular on the menu in our house. It is a simple dish, something mum no doubt learnt from a Croatian woman somewhere, for mum wasn’t Croatian and because she married one, there had to be some kind of European representation on the dinner front. Let me reiterate, this dish is not fancy, in fact it is dead easy, and can be applied to many kinds of meats and dishes, which the Croatians often do (with chicken pieces and rice, fish stews, mince for spag bol). It does, however take time. Like the beef pie recipe, it can be cooked at a stretch in an hour if you cut the beef small. But this recipe gets significantly better after a few hours simmering on the stove, and even more so by an overnight stay in the fridge. This for me, is the ultimate comfort food. Cuts of beef suitable for this recipe are chuck steak, shin, skirt steak and stewing steak.

Macaroni Recipe


500g Chuck steak, diced
1 diced onion
1 heaped tsp minced garlic
1 heaped tbl spn tomato paste
handful of parsley
Ribbed penne pasta

Saute onion and garlic
Turn heat up in pan and brown beef
Stir in tomato paste and cover with water.
Bring to boil, and then turn heat right down to simmer for as long as possible. Adding more water when needed
Season to taste.
Thicken with flour and water (see notes)
Boil up pasta and serve with Parmesan cheese.