This hearty comforting fall meal is a seasonal warm hug. Slow Cooker Beef and Pumpkin Ragu are made with fall-apart steak mixed with a garlic pumpkin sauce topped over pasta.
Slow Cooker Beef and Pumpkin Ragu
As the days begin to drag into colder temperatures thoughts of warming up inside with a comforting meal become my top priority. Serving these heartwarming meals to my family and friends brings a joy that warms my soul, and hopefully theirs too.
This type of meal, which is easy in preparation, encourages me to fully set the table and serve it with sides of buttered loaves of bread and light salads.
Slow Cooker Beef and Pumpkin Ragu has notes of seasonal fall flavors and is hearty enough to fill the strongest of appetites. Scents of the ragu sauce waft through the kitchen as you start it early in the day and let the meat cook to a fall-apart perfection near the end.
Serving the meat on top of noodles completes the comforting meal. Meals that bring friends and family together to sit and communicate and share are my favorite. This dish is one to encourage such moments.
Best Pasta to Serve with Beef and Pumpkin Ragu
I prefer to sever ragu of any kind with pappardelle pasta. Many other variations of noodles will work including gnocchi. This dish prepares a bunch of sauce. Unless you are serving a crowd below are some ideas for repurposing this meal.
- Serve over mashed potatoes or even boiled potatoes.
- Steam long grain rice and pour the sauce on top.
- Place on top of any kind of vegetable noodles such as zucchini or butternut squash.
- Pour over cauliflower mash for a slightly healthier version.
Other Additions to the Ragu Sauce
The name alone suggests this recipe is not a traditional ragu sauce. The traditional sauce is comprised of meat, tomatoes, chopped carrot, celery, and onion (known as a soffrito) and often uses red wine.
To enhance the pure flavor of the pumpkin I removed the soffrito and red wine. These can easily be added to this recipe. If you choose to add these ingredients I highly recommend sauteing the vegetables first.
Instead of using beef chuck roast, I choose to use a beef flank steak. If you choose to use beef chuck, which can oftentimes be more cost-effective, make sure to slice the meat into 4 large chunks. Then brown the meat on all sides in oil before placing it in the slow cooker.
Slow Cooker Beef and Pumpkin Ragu
- 2 lbs Flank Steak cut in 3 pieces against the grain
- 16 ounces Crushed Tomatoes
- 14 ounces Pumpkin Puree
- 1/4 cup Beef Broth
- 3 tablespoons Tomato Paste
- 2 Beef Bouillon Cubes
- 4 Garlic Cloves minced
- 1 teaspoon Cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon Dried Thyme Leaves
- 1/4 cup Ricotta Cheese
- 1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese
- 16 ounces Pappardelle
- Slice the flank steak into 3 pieces making sure to cut against the grain of the meat. Season each piece with salt and pepper and then place it into a 5 qt slow cooker.
- Pour the crushed tomatoes, pumpkin puree, beef broth, tomato paste, bouillon cubes, cinnamon, and dried thyme, over the steak. Cover and cook on high for 4 hours or on low for 6 hours, or until the meat falls completely apart when gently pulled with a fork.
- Remove the beef and shred using two forks and return to the slow cooker. Turn off the heat and let sit for 15 additional minutes.
- Taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning to your liking.
- When ready to serve, bring 6 quarts of salted water to a boil and add the pasta. Cook for about 8 to 10 minutes, or until al dente (see packaging for further directions). Drain and divide between bowls. Top the pasta with the ragu sauce, ricotta cheese, and sprinkle with grated parmesan cheese.