What To Serve With Beef Ragu? Experts Explain

Are you looking for the perfect side dish to complement your delicious beef ragu? Look no further!

This hearty and comforting Italian dish pairs perfectly with a variety of carbohydrates, from pasta to polenta to mashed potatoes. And don’t forget to top it off with some freshly grated parmesan, cracked black pepper, and finely chopped parsley for a restaurant-worthy presentation.

In this article, we’ll explore some of the best side dishes to serve with beef ragu and provide some tips on how to make the perfect vinaigrette dressing for your salad.

So, get ready to elevate your beef ragu game and impress your dinner guests with these mouth-watering pairings.

What To Serve With Beef Ragu?

1. Pasta: The classic pairing for beef ragu is pasta, such as fettuccine or pappardelle. The richness of the sauce complements the texture of the pasta perfectly. Cook your pasta al dente and toss it with the beef ragu for a delicious and satisfying meal.

2. Polenta: For a creamy and comforting side dish, try serving your beef ragu over a bed of polenta. The rich flavors of the ragu soak into the warm and creamy polenta, creating a heavenly combination.

3. Mashed Potatoes: Another great option for a comforting side dish is mashed potatoes. The creamy texture of the potatoes pairs well with the rich and savory flavors of the beef ragu.

4. Gnocchi: If you’re looking for something a little different, try serving your beef ragu with pillowy gnocchi. The soft texture of the gnocchi complements the hearty flavors of the ragu.

5. Salad: To balance out the richness of the beef ragu, serve it with a fresh and crisp salad. A simple vinaigrette dressing made with red wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar, or lemon juice, along with some salt and pepper, will add a tangy and refreshing element to your meal.

Pasta Pairings

Pasta is the classic pairing for beef ragu and there are many different pasta shapes to choose from. The key is to choose a pasta shape that complements the nature of your sauce. For example, long and skinny pasta shapes such as spaghetti, linguine, fusilli lunghi, and vermicelli pair well with light seafood sauces, cream- or oil-based sauces. Long ribbon pasta shapes such as tagliatelle, pappardelle, fettuccine, and mafaldine pair well with rich, meaty sauces. Shell pasta shapes such as conchiglie and lumache pair well with heavy cream or meat sauces; large ones can even be stuffed. Twist pasta shapes such as fusilli, trofie, strozzapreti, caserecce, and gemelli pair well with lighter, smoother sauces which will cling to the twists, such as pesto. Tube pasta shapes such as penne, rigatoni, macaroni, and paccheri pair well with hearty vegetable sauces or baked cheese dishes. They are also good with Bolognese or ragu. Finally, mini pasta shapes such as orzo, fregola, canestrini, and stelline are perfect in soups and stews or as pasta salads. Filled pasta shapes such as ravioli, tortellini, and cappelletti are traditionally served with a light butter or oil sauce since the filling contains lots of flavor. With these pasta pairings in mind, you can create a delicious and satisfying meal that will impress your guests or family.

Polenta Perfect Match

Polenta is the perfect match for beef ragu. The creamy texture of the polenta pairs perfectly with the rich and savory flavors of the ragu, creating a heavenly combination. Polenta is a traditional Italian dish made from cornmeal that is cooked with liquid until it is soft and creamy. It is then mixed with butter and cheese to make it extra rich and delicious.

To serve beef ragu with polenta, simply scoop the polenta into bowls and top it with the beef ragu. You can also top each bowl with more grated Parmesan and fresh basil leaves for an added burst of flavor. The warmth of the braised beef ragu will soak into the creamy polenta, creating a comforting and satisfying meal that is perfect for a cozy night in.

Polenta can also be served as an antipasto or small plate to kick off a meal, or as a side dish instead of pasta. It pairs well with other hearty dishes like mushroom and sausage ragu, making it a versatile option for any meal. Polenta can be yellow or white, but yellow is preferred for its color and slightly earthy, intense flavor.

Mashed Potatoes Magic

Mashed potatoes are a classic side dish that pairs perfectly with beef ragu. The creamy texture of the potatoes provides a comforting contrast to the rich and savory flavors of the ragu. To make the perfect mashed potatoes, start by boiling peeled and diced potatoes until they are tender. Drain the water and add butter, milk, salt, and pepper to taste. Mash the potatoes until they are smooth and creamy.

For a twist on traditional mashed potatoes, try adding some roasted garlic or grated Parmesan cheese. You can also experiment with different types of potatoes, such as Yukon gold or red potatoes, for a unique flavor and texture.

To serve your beef ragu with mashed potatoes, simply spoon the ragu over a scoop of mashed potatoes on your plate. The combination of flavors and textures is sure to satisfy your taste buds and leave you feeling satisfied.

Salad Sensations

If you’re looking to add a healthy and refreshing element to your beef ragu meal, a salad is the perfect choice. Here are some salad sensations that will complement the richness of the beef ragu:

1. Italian-Style Salad: A classic Italian-style salad is a great choice to serve with beef ragu. Combine fresh lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, and olives in a bowl. Dress with a simple vinaigrette made with olive oil, red wine vinegar, garlic, salt, and pepper.

2. Broccoli Salad: For a crunchy and nutritious option, try serving a broccoli salad alongside your beef ragu. Combine chopped broccoli florets, sliced almonds, dried cranberries, and red onion in a bowl. Dress with a mixture of mayonnaise, apple cider vinegar, honey, and salt.

3. Brussels Sprouts Caesar Salad: If you’re a fan of Caesar salad, try switching it up with this Brussels sprouts version. Shave Brussels sprouts thinly and toss with a homemade Caesar dressing made with anchovy paste, garlic, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, and olive oil. Top with shaved Parmesan cheese.

4. Arugula Salad: For a peppery and flavorful option, serve an arugula salad alongside your beef ragu. Toss arugula with sliced pears, toasted walnuts, crumbled blue cheese, and a simple vinaigrette made with balsamic vinegar and olive oil.

5. Caprese Salad: A classic Caprese salad is a simple yet delicious option to serve alongside your beef ragu. Arrange sliced tomatoes and fresh mozzarella on a platter. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic glaze. Top with fresh basil leaves.

With these salad sensations, you can add some variety to your beef ragu meal while also incorporating some healthy and refreshing elements.

The Perfect Vinaigrette Dressing

When it comes to serving a salad alongside your beef ragu, a vinaigrette dressing is the perfect accompaniment. While there are many variations of vinaigrette, one simple and delicious recipe is to mix 2 tablespoons of Dijon mustard with 2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar. Whisk in 6 tablespoons of olive oil slowly until the vinaigrette becomes thick and creamy. This strong vinaigrette is perfect for salad greens such as arugula, watercress, and endive. You can also add a small minced shallot or red onion, freshly ground black pepper, or chopped herbs like rosemary or thyme for an extra burst of flavor. If the dressing is too strong for your greens, reduce the mustard by a tablespoon and add a tablespoon of water. You can also substitute red wine vinegar with practically any other vinegar or lemon juice, but balsamic vinegar is particularly nice in this recipe. Having a go-to vinaigrette recipe like this one will elevate your beef ragu meal and impress your guests with its simplicity and delicious taste.