Pic of Beetroot ragu

Beetroot ragu

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Vegetarian mains

Beetroot ragu

Serves 4 1h
Beetroots are available year-round in the UK, so it’s good to have a couple of staple recipes for them, and this should definitely be one of them. The beetroot is grated raw then cooked into a rich sauce which is beautiful tossed through pasta. The flavour and consistency is best when its left to simmer for 30 minutes, but it’s a fairly low prep recipe, so you can leave it and come back to it when ready. It’s also a great recipe to make in advance and reheat when you’re ready to eat, and can be frozen too. Gremolata is optional but offers a powerful kick of flavour that works excellently as a garnish for most pasta dishes. A sprinkling of toasted pine nuts is nice as a final touch.

Cook's notes

It’s important to cook the beetroot out before adding the wine, stock and tomatoes otherwise the flavour and texture will be lost.

Ingredients

For the ragu sauce

  • olive oil, for frying
  • 1 onion, peeled & diced
  • 1 celery stick, diced
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, grated
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • 3 medium beetroots, peeled & grated
  • 125ml red wine
  • 2 400g tins of chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 vegetarian stock cube
  • 60g pine nuts (optional)

For the gremolata:

  • small bunch of parsley
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled & grated
  • zest of 1 lemon
Image of Beetroot ragu

Method

Prep time: 10 min
Cooking time: 50 min
  • Step 1

    Heat a generous glug of olive oil in a large frying pan. Slowly soften the onion, celery, carrot and garlic on a low heat until soft.
  • Step 2

    Add the bay leaves, oregano and rosemary and stir. Add the grated beetroot and a pinch of salt. Turn the heat up and cook the beetroot for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently. You will see the moisture coming out of the beetroot and then evaporating.
  • Step 3

    Add the wine and allow the alcohol to cook off a little then add the tomatoes, tomato puree and stock cube. Half fill one of the tomato tins with water and add that too. Turn to a low heat and allow to simmer and reduce for at least 30 minutes.
  • Step 4

    To make the gremolata, finely chop the parsley together with the lemon zest and garlic in a pile on a chopping board. Toast the pine nuts in a dry frying pan, if using.
  • Step 5

    Serve the ragu with pasta of your choice and garnish with the gremolata and pine nuts, if using.
  • Step 6

    If cooking in advance, keep in the fridge and use within 5 days. Alternatively, freeze to keep it for longer.

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