• Italian Tomato Sauce:
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2-3 clove garlic, crushed
  • 2 x 400g cans Wattie's Tomatoes Chopped in Juice
  • 2 tsp Gregg's Rubbed Sweet Basil
  • 1 tsp Gregg's Rubbed Oregano
  • 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • ½ tsp salt

  • Beef Ragu:
  • 750g beef cheeks, cut into approx. 7cm pieces
  • 2 sticks celery, chopped
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 2 Tbsp Wattie's Tomato Paste
  • 1 cup red wine*
  • Pappardelle Pasta (allow 60-70g uncooked pasta per person)

To make the Italian Tomato Sauce:

  1. Heat the olive oil in a medium/large saucepan. Add the onion and cook over a low heat until onion softens, stirring regularly.
  2. Add garlic and cook a further minute. Pour over Wattie's Tomatoes Chopped in Juice and add Gregg’s Rubbed Sweet Basil, Gregg’s Rubbed Oregano, balsamic vinegar, sugar and salt. Stir while bringing the sauce to the boil. Reduce heat to a low simmer. Cook for 30 minutes with the lid off, stirring occasionally making sure the sauce does not reduce too much. Remove from the heat. Taste and adjust seasoning adding a little extra salt and black pepper if wished. When cooked it will make approximately 2 and ½ cups of sauce.

To make the Beef Ragu:

  1. Preheat the slow cooker on low. Heat a dash of oil in a frying pan. Brown the beef cheeks over a high heat. Remove them from the pan and place into the slow cooker. Reduce the pan heat. Add the celery and carrot and stir-fry for 2 minutes. Stir in Wattie’s Tomato Paste.
  2. Add the red wine and allow to boil and reduce by a third. Pour over the Italian Sauce. Stir and bring to the boil. Pour sauce into the slow cooker over the beef cheeks. Cover. Cook for 7-8 hrs until the meat is very tender and pulls apart easily.
  3. Once the meat is cooked remove it from the sauce. With 2 forks pull it into small pieces. The sauce should be thick enough to coat the meat but still pourable. If necessary thin with a little water. Add the meat back into the sauce. Taste and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper if necessary. Serve over Pappardelle pasta. Garnish with chopped fresh parsley and a little grated Parmesan if wished.

Top Tips

  • *Use a merlot or cabernet sauvignon. If you don’t want to add red wine, omit this step and add ½ cup beef stock with the Italian sauce.
  • The Ragu can also be cooked in the oven. Cook at 140°C (fan assisted) or 150°C (conventional) for 4 ½ - 5 hours. The sauce may become quite thick so check after about 3 hours of cooking, adding a little extra water if necessary.
  • Cook pasta according to packet directions. Use any of your favourite pasta shapes – fettuccine, spaghetti or penne will work well.
  • The Ragu can be made the day before and reheated. Often slow cooked meals such as the Ragu taste better when reheated.
  • Use gluten-free pasta to make this recipe gluten-free.
  • To freeze: allow the meat sauce to cool. Spoon into airtight containers. Cover and freeze. Can be frozen for up to 1 month. Thaw in the refrigerator before reheating.

This slow cooked beef ragu makes a delicious pie filling

1. Allow to cool completely. Spoon into a pie dish and top with flaky puff pastry. Brush the top with a little beaten egg. Cook in a preheated oven 210°C (fan assisted) for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to 190°C and continue cooking for a further 20-25 minutes, until the crust is golden and filling hot.


2. Spoon beef ragu into a pie dish. Top with creamy mashed potato. Place in a preheated 200°C (fan assisted oven) for 25-30 minutes, until filling is hot and potato top nicely browned. Heat filling and serve over toasted ciabata bread - garnish with chopped parsley.

Try These Other Recipes

The Italian Base Sauce is super versatile and can be made ahead of time. The base sauce is perfect for:

**Depending on how you use the sauce - you may want to add a little stock or water.

  • Heat the sauce and pour over grilled sausages, steak or chicken.
  • Brown chicken thighs in a lidded frypan. Pour over sauce. Cover and simmer for 40-45 mins, until chicken thighs are cooked.
  • Brown 400g mince. Pour over sauce. Stir and simmer for 30 minutes - serve over your favourite pasta. Add sliced mushrooms to the browned mince if wished. Crumb fish fillets. Pan fry. Heat sauce, adding a few capers and olives if wished, and serve with the fish.
  • Brown stewing steak in a flameproof casserole. Pour over sauce. Cover. Cook at 160°C for 2½-3 hours until meat is tender.
  • Reduce sauce to a thick paste. Allow to cool and spread over pizza bases before topping with your favourite toppings.

Made With

Chopped Tomatoes in Juice

Vine-ripened in Hawke’s Bay and picked when perfectly ready, these tomatoes are chopped and blended in their own juices to bring you only the best.

Tomato Paste

Concentrated tomato suited to adding to sauces, casseroles & pizzas.

* This recipe is classified as Gluten Free. To the best of our knowledge, the ingredients used in this recipe including the Heinz Wattie’s products do not contain any added cereals containing gluten or ingredients derived from cereals containing gluten. It is important to carefully read ingredient labels on food products because foods can sometimes be reformulated and the ingredients, allergens or nutrition information can sometimes change without notice.

Rate and Review

3 Ratings

Reviews (3)

Emily Rose Sheehan's Review | Rating

simple and easy!! yum comfort food!!

Dana's Review | Rating

This is so nice to come home to after leaving in the slow cooker! Very yum

Lauren Harris's Review | Rating

Good as pasta, but even better in a pie!