Braised Beef Ragu with Rigatoni

You are going to love this recipe!!  It is amazing (if I do say so myself).   Slowly braising the beef makes it so tender it falls apart in the wonderfully rich tomato sauce.  I use a dutch oven & cook it in the oven but it could easily be adapted for a slow cooker or crock pot.  It is simple, rustic & delicious! 
1.5 Beef Stew Meat, cut into 1" pieces
32 oz can Whole, Peeled Plum Tomatoes
1 cup dry Red Wine
1 large Yellow Onion, cut in half then sliced
4 cloves of Garlic, smashed
2-3 tbsp Olive Oil
1 tsp dried Italian Seasoning
Salt & Pepper, to taste
1 1/2 lbs Rigatoni Pasta (approximately)

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.  Season your beef with salt & pepper.  I bought the beef roast already cut up.  But you could buy a chuck or round roast whole & cut it up your self.  Just make sure you trim & discard the excess fat if you do so.
 Add 1-2 tbsp of olive oil to a large dutch oven & heat to medium-high heat.  Add the beef to the hot pot & sear both sides, working in batches if needed.  You don't want to over crowd the pot. 
 Remove the seared beef from the pot & reserve. 
 Lower the heat to medium & add the onions with the remaining olive oil, if needed. 
 Cook the onions for 2-3 minutes, until softened & add in the smashed garlic cloves.  Saute 1 more minute.
 Add the canned tomatoes with all of their juices.  Use your spoon to crush up the tomatoes. 
 Add in 1 cup of red wine (you could substitute beef broth or water), the dried Italian seasoning & stir to combine.  Then return the beef to the pot with any juices that accumulated on the plate.  Cover & place in a 300 degree oven.
 This is after about 2 hours of cooking.  I pulled it out of the oven to stir & scrap down the sides of the pot.
 Cook for about 4 hours (total), until the meat is so tender that if breaks apart as you stir.  The sauce will have reduced greatly to make a thick ragu.
 Stir to distribute flavors & to break up the meat.  Adjust your seasonings, if needed.  Mean while, cook your pasta according to the package directions.
Toss with cooked pasta & plate.
Top with freshly grated Parmesan Cheese & serve.
This recipe serves 8 people.

I usually use half the sauce for one meal, then freeze the second half for another time.  The sauce tends to thicken when I reheat it.  When that happens, I ladle some of the starchy pasta water into it until it's the consistency that I want.  I also like to serve it with pappardelle pasta! 

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