July 7, 2021

Collective Ragu Ft. Copper Hill Farm

This recipe was developed in collaboration with Copper Hill Farm. Greg gifted me an abundance of produce and meat. Though I typically avoid red meat this recipe quickly became the latest family favorite!

This recipe is in collaboration with Greg Hazleton of Copper Hill Farm. Over the summer he gifted me an abundance of carrots, purple and yellow green beans, and a portion of meat. Though I typically avoid red meat I simply would not allow anything to go to waste!

Though I am not well versed with red meat recipes I poked around at ideas and ragu sparked my interest the most. I made sure to document all the steps along the way just in case. One thing lead to another, and can I just say how happy I am I jotted down all the notes?

Now this recipe is the latest family favorite!

But don’t just take my word for it. I recommend trying for yourself, whether you are an avid meat eater, dabble here and there, or even if you are a vegetarian! You can simply swap the meat for an alternative and apply similar cooking techniques for the tastiest results!

That said, I hope you enjoy!

Did you know: “Tubular shapes like penne and ziti are perfect with hearty, thick sauces like ragu. Rigate, the ridged ones, capture even more sauce. Wide, flat pastas like pappardelle are ideal for sopping up creamy sauces. Generally, the wider the noodle, the heavier the sauce.” – https://www.bonappetit.com/test-kitchen/cooking-tips/article/how-to-choose-the-right-type-of-pasta-for-a-sauce

Collective Ragu ft. Copper Hill Farm

SERVES: 10-12


  • 4.5 lb chuck beef (cut into equal, smaller pieces to make the browning process easier)
  • 1 tbsp sea salt
  • 1.5 tsp black pepper
  • 3 tbsp olive oil, separated
  • 2 cups onion, finely diced (about 1 large Vidalia onion)
  • 1 1/2 cups carrots, finely diced (about 4-5 medium carrots)
  • 1 1/2 cups celery, finely diced (about 3 medium ribs celery)
  • 2 (28oz) crushed, canned tomatoes (I prefer San Marzano tomatoes if I don’t have local options at hand)
  • 2 Tbs Better than Bouillon (vegetable or beef)
  • 1 1/2 Tbs garlic, minced
  • 1.5 cups full bodied red wine, (I used a red blend so it added a bit of sweetness too)
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 4 sprigs rosemary
  • 3-4 dried bay leaves
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

Black Peppered Ricotta:

  • 1 lb egg pappardelle pasta
  • 1 cup fresh, whole milk ricotta (mixed with 1 Tbs freshly ground black pepper and 1/2 tsp sea salt – TRUST)
  • Freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano
  • Finely chopped parsley (optional)
  1. Bring a large dutch oven pot to medium-high heat. In the meantime, pat the beef dry and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.
  2. Next, sear the beef by adding 1 tbsp of olive oil into the pot and adding the beef pieces (may take 3-4 batches), allowing enough space for the pieces to brown instead of steam.  Allow to cook for 3-5 minutes per side, or until browned.  Transfer to a plate and repeat with remaining pieces. 
  3. Afterwards, add the diced pancetta and reduce the heat to medium and add another tablespoon of olive oil.  Allow to cook for 2-3 minutes to brown, then add the diced onions, celery and carrots. Sauté for 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally, then add the garlic and continue cooking for 2 minutes until the mixture turns golden brown.
  4. Add the remaining Ragu ingredients and return the pieces of beef into the pot, nestling them below the surface of the liquid. Increase the heat to high just until the liquid begins to bubble and boil, then reduce to a low simmer.  Cover with the lid and allow to cook for 2.5 hours or until the beef is tender enough to shred.
  5. When ready, uncover and remove the beef then use two forks to roughly shred. Increase the heat of the sauce to medium while using shredding the beef (It will take 5-10ish minutes). Discard the bone(s) and herb stems, then return the shredded beef back into the pot. Reduce to medium low, then continue simmering for an additional 30 minutes, uncovered, until the sauce thickens and the liquids reduce. (The shredded beef will soften during this stage as well.)
  6. Finally, give another stir and taste test.  Adjust the salt and pepper to preference (keeping in mind the cheese at the end will also season. Place the lid on and set aside until ready to serve


  • The flavors marry and blend more the following day, which make for fabulous leftovers!  It lasts about 5 days in the fridge.  Bonus: it freezes well up to a few months!
  • I have a gas stove so a simmering low on a gas stove may be a medium-low on an electric stovetop.  Everything varies, but look for a rapid, yet small bubbling simmer.  Too high, the bottom may burn, too low, it may take longer to cook.
  • I prefer using a Dutch oven to cook with because it retains heat and distributes more evenly.  If using a stainless steel pot, cooking times may vary as well.  I avoid opening the lid as much as possible, that way the steam can trap inside making the cooking process a bit faster.
  • For leftovers, it is awesome made into a lasagna the following day!
  • You want the onions, celery and carrot to turn golden brown.  This is referred to as soffritto. (“Soffritto is Italian word for “under-fried” or “fried slowly” and perfectly describes the process of gently cooking the vegetables in oil to soften them and release their flavor.” –https://www.italianfoodforever.com/2011/11/soffritto-the-holy-trinity-of-italian-cuisine/)
  • Cook your pasta just before “al dente.’ Though most cooks already know this, it does not hurt to repeat. “Al dente,” which translates to “with a bite” in Italian, pasta is still firm yet cooked. Since the pasta finishes in the sauce it will continue to cook.
  • Don’t skip the step of tossing pasta with the sauce! This is called “marrying the sauce” and it is KEY because it helps the sauce cling to the pasta. I cannot stress enough what a difference this makes to pastas!
  • For more delicious recipes to create or pair alongside, visit the Kitchen Journal.