Monday, 21 March 2011

Cheese-infused Beef Ragu

It's been brought to my attention that the price of beef has gone up at Sainsbury's over the weekend. Sadly, the Sainsbury's Basics range was not spared, and so, a packet of diced beef now retails for £2.75, a 25p (10%) increase. I thought I should mark the occasion by making a beef ragu, using some interesting information I picked up a couple of weeks ago.

The Toasted Salami Sandwiches that I did the last time left me with the rind of the Basics Italian Hard Cheese. I was about to throw it away when I read on the web that many enterprising chefs would use the rind of hard cheeses in soups and stews, adding a rich flavour to whatever it infused. Armed with this knowledge and a sense of curiosity, I set upon making my own cheese-infused pasta sauce.

So I start by frying some an onion and garlic on high heat, before tossing the beef in. Seal the beef, you want it to be pink on the inside while seared on the outside. This will hopefully allow the beef to remain tender with the beefy flavours sealed in while the sauce is stewing.

Add the Basics herb mix and ground black pepper for seasoning, and then a splash of vinegar, before putting in one packet of Basics chopped tomatoes. At this point, drop the cheese rind in and mix everything thoroughly. Leave to stew until half the liquid evaporates.

The rind did lift the flavour subtly although it did not provide much more than that. I attribute it to the type of cheese used: had I used a strong quality Parmigiano-Reggiano it's likely to have made the sauce more cheesy. Still, it's a good way to make use of your cheese rinds.

DescriptionPrice per UnitNo. of servingsTrade-up PremiumTrade-up Benefits
Diced Beef£2.75440g+£0.74Leaner cuts.

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