Dec 9, 2019

Spicy Calabrian Chili Beef Ragu

Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 1 hr
This rich and thick ragu is filled with beef, tomatoes and sautéed vegetables. The sauce gets its spice from the addition of Calabrian chili paste and crushed red pepper flakes.

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This post is sponsored by Calphalon.

This rich and thick ragu is filled with beef, tomatoes and sautéed vegetables. The sauce gets its spice from the addition of Calabrian chili paste and crushed red pepper flakes. Calabrian chilis come from a region of Italy by the same name and are packed with flavor. While they are mostly spicy, they also add a slightly sweet, smokey and somewhat fruity flavor.

Spicy Calabrian Chili Beef Ragu

About the Sauce

This sauce is loaded with umami flavor referring to its savory quality which makes it one of the five basic tastes along with sweet, sour, bitter and salty. A combination of anchovy fillets, Parmesan and Calabrian chilies are all used to create that hard to define flavor profile.

Spicy Calabrian Chili Beef Ragu recipe from cooking with cocktail rings

Tips and Tricks for This Recipe

While making pasta I have a tendency to get distracted while working on other elements of the dish. Pasta sauces have a tendency to splatter, but the Calphalon Classic™ Nonstick 14-Pc. Cookware Set comes with No Boil-Over Inserts.

The BPA-free silicone insert recirculates boiling water back into the pot to keep pots from boiling over leading to messy spills. I hate cleaning up after cooking as it is – this helps keep the mess to a minimum! There’s a hole the middle of the insert so you can still stir sauces and add seasonings without removing the top or touching the hot pot. These nonstick pots make for easy cleaning later on!

Calphalon® Precision SharpIN™ Nonstick 13-Piece Cutlery Set is made from German no-stain steel which keeps the prep work moving quickly as I ready the mise en place prior to cooking. Vegetables don’t stick to the knives which makes cutting easier. The knife block even has built-in sharpeners. I have a habit of forgetting to get my knives sharpened so this makes for one less worry!

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Key Ingredients in This Recipe

  • Mirepoix – The vegetables that are sautéed as the base of the sauce to create a flavorful foundation are carrots, celery and onion. This combination is referred to as sofrito in Italian and is often called a mirepoix in French.
  • Red Wine – Red wine rounds out the flavor of this sauce. Use a dry red wine for the ragu since it won’t overpower the dish by making it too sweet. While I will use just about any red wine in a pinch I prefer cooking with pinot noir. Never cook with a wine you wouldn’t drink!
  • Calabrian chili – They are little red Italian chili peppers that pack a punch and once preserved in oil (as used here), they are smoky, salty, fruity and spicy all at the same time. 

How to Make Spicy Calabrian Chili Beef Ragu

  1. Cook the beef. Heat a large pot over medium heat, add the olive oil and heat through. Add the beef and season with salt and pepper, cooking until browned, about 6 minutes.
  2. Remove the beef from the pan. Use a slotted spoon to a bowl and set aside, reserving as much fat in the pan as possible.
  3. Sauté the vegetables. Return the pan to heat and add the onion, carrots and celery and sauté until tender, about 6 minutes. Add the red wine and simmer until the vegetables are almost completely dry.
  4. Simmer the sauce. Return the beef to the pan with the tomatoes, anchovy filets, Calabrian chili paste, red pepper flakes and half the Parmesan. Turn the heat down to medium low and simmer until the sauce comes together, about 45 minutes.
  5. Cook the pasta. Bring a large pot of water to the boil; add the salt and bring back to the boil. Add the spaghetti and cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente, about 10 minutes. Set aside 1 cup of the pasta water then drain and return the pasta to the pot. Add the sauce and stir to combine.
  6. Assemble and serve. Divide the pasta and sauce among warmed pasta bowls. Top with ricotta salata and basil leaves.
Spicy Calabrian Chili Beef Ragu recipe from cooking with cocktail rings

Other Recipes to Try

If you enjoy this recipe, I recommend checking out some of these:

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Spicy Calabrian Chili Beef Ragu

Print Pin
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 1 hr
Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 pounds ground 80/20 beef
  • Kosher salt, as needed
  • Freshly ground black pepper, as needed
  • 1 cup diced yellow onion
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1 medium celery stalk, diced
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • 1 (28-ounce) can peeled tomatoes, with their juices
  • 3 Anchovy filets, minced
  • 2 tablespoons ground Calabrian chili paste
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan, divided
  • 1 pound spaghetti
  • 3 ounces ricotta salata, shaved
  • ¼ cup basil leaves, chopped

Instructions:

  • Heat a large pot over medium heat, add the olive oil and heat through. Add the beef and season with salt and pepper, cooking until browned, about 6 minutes.
  • Use a slotted spoon to a bowl and set aside, reserving as much fat in the pan as possible.
  • Return the pan to heat and add the onion, carrots and celery and sauté until tender, about 6 minutes. Add the red wine and simmer until the vegetables are almost completely dry.
  • Return the beef to the pan with the tomatoes, anchovy filets, Calabrian chili paste, red pepper flakes and half the Parmesan. Turn the heat down to medium low and simmer until the sauce comes together, about 45 minutes.
  • Bring a large pot of water to the boil; add the salt and bring back to the boil. Add the spaghetti and cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente, about 10 minutes. Set aside 1 cup of the pasta water then drain and return the pasta to the pot. Add the sauce and stir to combine.
  • Divide the pasta and sauce among warmed pasta bowls. Top with ricotta salata and basil leaves.

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