2 lbchuck roast , cut into 2-3 pieces large fat pieces trimmed, seasoned with salt and pepper
1large yellow or white onion, diced
3garlic cloves, chopped
¼tsp red pepper flakes (lessen to a pinch if you don't want any "heat")
1cupgood red wine (cabernet, merlot, malbec or zin will work)
28ozcanned (good!!) crushed tomatoes in heavy puree
pasta - tagliatelle, pappardelle, mafaldine, or rigatoni
whole ricotta cheese *optional
shredded parmesan or romano cheese
In a large heavy bottom pot, like a Le Crueset or Lodge cast iron pot, warm the olive oil over medium heat. Brown the chunks of beef on two sides. Then set the beef on clean plate.
Lower heat to medium low, add the onions to the pot and saute for about 10-15 minutes until they are softened. Add the tomato paste, garlic, dried basil, fennel seeds, all spice and red pepper flakes. Warm through for about 2-3 minutes.
Deglaze the pot by pouring in the cup of red wine. Scrape up any browned bits for the bottom of the pot.
Add the canned tomatoes, water, sugar, bay leaf and balsamic. Give it a good stir and then add the beef back to the pot. Bring to a boil over medium high heat.
Lower the heat to low and pop the lid on, simmer for 2.5 hours.
Remove the beef from the sauce and shred. Skim any grease from the top of the sauce, then bring the sauce to a simmer over medium heat for 5-10 minutes to thicken slightly. Remove the bay leaf!
Add the shredded beef back to the sauce. Give it a good stir and then remove from the heat.
Boil the pasta to al dente, drain or just pull out of the cooking water. Toss the noodles in the ragu. Serve topped with a dollop of whole milk ricotta and a sprinkle of parmesan or romano cheese.