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One of my all time favourites, 12 HOUR RAGU. And before you ask (many have), no you don't need to worry about the house burning down! The ragu will happily cook away, overnight, on a low oven and be absolutely mind blowingly delicious the next day.


2-4 Beef cheeks cut into large pieces

2 Tsp freshly ground black pepper

2 Tbsp plain flour

½ Tbsp Maldon sea salt flakes, plus more to adjust seasoning 

500g each minced pork & beef

2 Tbsp olive oil

1 Large onion, chopped

1 Large carrots, peeled, chopped

2 Celery stalks, chopped

3 Cloves of garlic, smashed

350 ml red wine

450 ml stock

450 ml milk

3 Bay leaves

1 Sprig rosemary finely chopped

1 Tbsp toasted fennel seeds toasted then crushed

1 Can crushed tomatoes

3 Tbsp tomato puree

¼ Cup red wine vinegar or Sherry vinegar

1 Tbsp honey

Parmesan rind


Step 1

Toss beef cheeks, flour, pepper, and 1 tsp. or 2 tsp. salt in a large bowl until  evenly coated. Heat oil in a casserole pot over medium-high. Cook the cheeks turning occasionally, until nicely browned all over, 10-15 minutes. Transfer to a plate and set aside.

Step 2

In the same pot (add a glug more oil, if needed) working first with the minced beef in two batches, break it up with your hands as you add to the cooking pot. It should be in pieces no larger than half of a small brussel sprout. Leave undisturbed to sizzle and brown for 5-10 minutes as you want to create a beautifully crispy, caramelized and almost charred crust on the mince. Don't worry if some bits stick. Turn the mince and cook for another 3-5 minutes then remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and do exactly the same with the second batch. Repeat the entire process with the pork. At this stage you'll have a mini mountain of meat on the plate set aside for later.

Step 3

Add onion, carrots, celery, garlic, and rosemary into the same pot, cook over a medium heat stirring often, until vegetables are browned around edges, 10–15 minutes. Add the wine, cook for a couple of minutes before adding the can of tomatoes, tomato puree, toasted fennel seeds, bay leaves, vinegar, and honey, stirring and scraping up browned bits; bring to a boil. Season, add the parmesan rind then return the meat to the pot. Pour in stock and milk; reduce to a gentle simmer. Partially cover and cook, reducing heat as needed to keep at a low simmer, 3–4 hours. Add a cup of water then cover tightly and transfer to the oven set to 110c and cook for another 6-8 hrs (overnight works well). Remove bay leaves and the parmesan rind before shredding the beef cheeks which should be buttery soft pull-apart by this stage. Let cool before adding the lemon zest; portion out and reheat, thinning the ragu slightly with some pasta water when you are ready to serve with pasta (or carb) of your choice!

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