Farideh’s Ragu Is The Ultimate Comfort Food

Farideh is back in her kitchen making a savory beef and pork ragu served with creamy polenta and an herb dressing, a perfect meal for a cold winter night. Farideh slow-cooks this ragu made with beef chuck, pork shoulder, pancetta, and red wine. The polenta is packed with parmesan cheese and Farideh whips up a bright herb dressing with basil, red wine vinegar, and chili flakes to drizzle on top.

<p>Serves 6<br>Prep time: 20 minutes<br>Total time: 3 ½ hours</p>


for the ragu:
2 ribs celery, roughly chopped
1 large carrot, peeled and roughly chopped
1 medium yellow onion, diced
4 tablespoons|60 ml olive oil, plus more as needed for frying
1 ½ pounds|665 grams beef chuck, cut into 2-inch pieces
8 ounces|225 grams pork shoulder, cut into 2-inch pieces
kosher salt, to taste
4 ounces|115 grams pancetta, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons tomato paste
½ cup|125 ml red wine
1 cup|250 ml beef stock
1 (28-ounce|794-gram) can whole peeled tomatoes, crushed by handADVERTISEMENT

for the polenta:
1 cup|175 grams coarse polenta
3 cups|750 ml whole milk
6 tablespoons|85 grams unsalted butter
4 ounces|120 grams freshly grated parmesan cheese, plus more to serve
kosher salt, to taste

for the herb dressing:
1 (1.25 ounce|35.4 gram|1 cup) pack fresh basil
¼ cup|60 ml olive oil
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon chile flakes


  1. Make the ragu: Place the celery, carrot, and onion in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until fine, but not puréed. Set aside.
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high. Season the beef and pork all over with salt and, working in batches, cook, tuning as needed, until browned on two sides or so, about 5 minutes per batch. Add more oil as needed per batch and transfer the meat to a plate once browned.
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  4. Lower the heat to medium and add the remaining 2 tablespoons oil to the pan along with the puréed vegetables. Season with salt and cook until soft, about 4 minutes. Add the pancetta and cook until the fat has rendered, about 5 minutes more. Stir in the garlic and cook 1 to 2 minutes, then stir in the tomato paste. Cook 2 minutes, then stir in the wine. Cook until thick, about 1 minute, then return the meats to the saucepan along with the stock and tomatoes. Bring to a boil over high, then reduce the heat to maintain a simmer. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the meat is super fucking tender, about 2 ½ hours. Use a couple of forks or a wooden spoon to break up and shred the meat. Keep warm.
  5. Make the polenta: Bring the milk and 2 cups|500 ml water to a boil in a medium saucepan over high. Slowly stir in the polenta while whisking constantly and reduce the heat to low. Cook, stirring often, until the polenta is creamy and the individual grains are tender, about 30 minutes. Stir in the butter until melted, then remove from the heat and stir in the cheese. Season with salt and keep warm.
  6. Make the herb dressing: Place all the ingredients in a food processor and pulse until smooth. 
  7. To serve, divide polenta among plates and top with the ragu. Drizzle with the herb dressing and grate on some extra cheese. 
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