Pappardelle with Amazing Slow-Cooked Meat

Jamie Oliver's Pappardelle with Amazing Slow-Cooked Meat Recipe

In Italy, if a family had to feed eight people out of this, then they would cook more pasta and add a little more water—as always, a little meat can go a long way. You can use beef, venison, wild boar, even squab or rabbit.–Jamie Oliver

LC The C Word Note

Sure, you could use venison or boar or squab or rabbit here. Although chances are you’re going to use beef. So when you find yourself standing at the butcher counter, wondering which cut is best, think the c word. You know, cheap. Trust us on this. Even the least expensive cut will metamorph into something meltingly tender after a long, slow swim in these wine and aromatics. Any boneless cut will do quite nicely, although you can’t go wrong with something labeled chuck or rump or roast. If you prefer a more robust flavor, opt for a bone-in cut such as a blade roast, shanks, or short ribs, being mindful to up the overall poundage a bit so the sauce isn’t shortchanged on meat.

Another c word that’s useful to bear in mind during this recipe is “cartouche,” a French term which basically means “scroll” or “packet.” As Jamie Oliver explains, it’s a piece of paper that’s used to slow down the loss of moisture in cooking. A lid only lets a little moisture escape, whereas using no lid lets lots of moisture escape. Using a cartouche is a halfway house between the two. It also stops things from coloring too much. To form a cartouche, take a square piece of parchment or wax paper that’s slightly larger than your pan. Fold the square in half, and in half again. Keep folding the same way so that the tip becomes the center. When it’s pretty pointy you’re ready to measure up. Hold the tip of the cartouche to the center of the pan, tear or cut off any paper that extends beyond the edge of the pan. Open out to a circle—the cartouche is ready. You can get away with the cartouche being a bit larger than the pan, so don’t worry if you make it too big.

Special Equipment: Slow cooker (optional)

Jamie Oliver's Pappardelle with Amazing Slow-Cooked Meat Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 40 M
  • 3 H, 40 M
  • Serves 4


  • One 28-ounce piece braising meat (beef or venison or boar or squab or rabbit, per note above)
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 handful each fresh rosemary and fresh thyme, stems discarded and leaves finely chopped
  • 1 small red onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 celery stick, finely chopped
  • 2 wineglasses Chianti
  • Two 14-ounce cans plum tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons pearl barley
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 14 ounces fresh or dried pappardelle
  • 7 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 handfuls grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish


  • 1. To make the Pappardelle with Amazing Slow-Cooked Meat in your slow cooker, see the Slow Cooker Variation below.

    To make the Pappardelle with Amazing Slow-Cooked Meat on your stovetop, season the meat with salt and pepper. It can be cut into large 2-inch chunks if it’s beef, venison, or wild boar or left whole if it’s a squab (pigeon) or cut into 5 or 6 pieces if you’re using a rabbit. In a hot casserole-type pan, fry your meat in a little olive oil until golden brown on all sides. Add your herbs, onions, garlic, carrot, and celery. Turn the heat down and continue to cook for 5 minutes, until the vegetables have softened.
  • 2. Add your red wine and continue to simmer until the liquid has almost cooked away but left you with a fantastic color and fragrance.
  • 3. Add the plum tomatoes, the pearl barley, and just enough water to cover the meat by 1/2 inch. Make yourself a cartouche of parchment or wax paper (see note). Wet it with a little water, rub it with a little olive oil, and place it over the pan. Put a lid on the pan as well, as this will retain as much moisture as possible while cooking. Cook over really low heat for about 2 to 3 hours, depending on the tenderness and type of meat. It’s ready when you can literally pull the meat apart in tender strands.
  • 4. At this point, season the braise carefully with salt and pepper to taste and allow to cool slightly before removing the meat from the pan. Using 2 forks, pull apart all the lovely pieces of meat, throwing away any bones. Skim any fat from the surface of the braising liquid. Put the meat back in the pan and place over low heat.
  • 5. It’s now ready to serve, so cook your pappardelle in a pan of boiling, salted water for 3 minutes if using fresh pasta or according to the package instructions if using dried. Once it’s cooked, drain it in a colander, saving some of the cooking liquid in case the sauce needs a little loosening. Remove the pot of stewed meat from the heat and stir in the butter and Parmesan with a little of the cooking water—this will make it juicy and shiny. Toss together with your pasta and serve immediately. If desired, serve sprinkled with a little finely chopped fresh rosemary and some more grated Parmesan.

Slow Cooker Variation

  • Amazing still applies to this recipe when it’s made the lazy, er, harried cook’s way in the slow cooker. Just toss everything in the slow cooker. No need to brown the meat or vegetables in a skillet first (although if you can spare the time to do so, you will be justly rewarded with a slightly more complex flavor). No need to add any water. By all means, omit the cartouche. And you may want to consider either swapping fresh herbs for dried or, if you prefer fresh, adding them only during the last hour or so of cooking. Cook on low for 8 or so hours, until the meat is fall-apart tender. If the sauce seems too liquidy, simply remove the meat, crank the slow cooker up to high, and simmer until the liquid is reduced to the desired consistency. Continue with step 4 in the instructions above.

    [Editor’s Note: Bear in mind, no two slow-cookers are exactly alike, just as no two cooks are exactly alike. This slow-cooker approach worked really, really well for us, although if you have a different slow-cooker cooking technique you want to try by all means, do so. And, natch, we’d love if you’d share it with us in a comment below.] Curious to hear more about working magic with your slow cooker? Peruse our entire selection of slow cooker recipes.
Hungry for more? Chow down on these:

Hey, there. Just a reminder that all our content is copyright protected. Like a photo? Please don't use it without our written permission. Like a recipe? Kindly contact the publisher listed above for permission before you post it (that's what we did) and rewrite it in your own words. That's the law, kids. And don't forget to link back to this page, where you found it. Thanks!

Recipe Testers Reviews

Recipe Testers Reviews
Testers Choice
Caroline Chang

Feb 03, 2003

Ah, Jamie Oliver recipes. Sometimes they're more a list of suggestions than a strictly written recipe. This beautiful ragu is a classic example. The butcher is out of one cut of meat? That's fine, just move on to the next. I used a rump roast because it looked much leaner than the chuck and the flavor was still great. This was also the first time I had used a cartouche, which was really an easy task and helped with the simmering process. Don't forget the final step of adding the Parmesan and butter! Wow! That added so much flavor and texture. If—I mean when—I make this again, I may give it a little whirl with the immersion blender before returning the meat to the pot.

Testers Choice
Kara Vitek

Feb 03, 2003

I love this recipe! I couldn't believe how something that tastes so divine requires so little work. I used grass-fed beef roast and grass-fed beef stew meat, already cut into chunks. I wouldn't recommend using stew meat; the chunks were tender, but the meat remained as chunks even after cooking, whereas the roast was practically fell apart. I browned the meat and veggies before throwing into my slow cooker. And I didn't add fresh herbs until the last hour of slow cooking. I used about a half bottle chianti. This needed very little seasoning. I almost left out the butter as it was delectable without it, but it was even more delicious with the butter. I cannot wait to make this again. It's definitely a great dish to serve to company.

Testers Choice
Helen Doberstein

Feb 03, 2003

Today I made this in the slow cooker. It smelled amazing! It wasn’t as intensely flavored as I thought it would be, but it was really tasty nonetheless. I used half a bottle of Chianti and the full 28 ounces tomatoes, although I didn’t add any water. I didn’t think the cartouche was necessary for slow cooking, so I didn’t bother with it. I had to go out today so I let it do its thing on low for 8 hours. The family really loved it. I think when I make this again—and I will make it again—I’ll try dried herbs instead of fresh, as I think the fresh may be too delicate for such a long cooking time and I believe dried herbs will retain their flavor better. Or maybe I’ll add the fresh ones towards the end for a little more punch. I think this might be one of those recipes that’s better the next day, so I’ve packed some up for my lunch tomorrow.

  1. Katherine Baird says:

    This recipe has a definite restaurant taste — and you can make it — so simple! I used 4 lamb shanks, and it certainly was amazing. Very healthy too! A must-make!

  2. Christine Bonney says:

    Absolutely amazing. Fantastic flavours and so easy! A family favorite.

  3. Jan says:

    What’s the purpose of the barley. That was a surprising ingredient to see in a recipe like this.

    • Beth Price, LC Director of Recipe Testing says:

      Adding a bit of pearl barley will not only improve the flavor, but also your health. Barley is a great source of fiber and selenium, and a good source of phosphorus, copper and manganese. It is one of my favorite add-ins for soups and stews.

    • David Leite says:

      It also adds a bit of texture.

    • Renee Schettler Rossi, LC Editor-in-Chief says:

      And not just the texture, but the flavor. It has a really lovely nutty taste that goes spectacularly well with beef, Jan. Of course, you could omit the barley (and cut back on the water by just a soupcon), although we encourage you to try it. You can often find it in the bulk bins at Whole Foods Market or other health food stores, which means you can buy as much or as little as you like rather than committing to an entire package of it. And if all you can find is barley by the box, let us know. We have ideas aplenty on how to use the rest of it, beginning with breakfast…

  4. Wow perfect timing, now I know what I am doing with this elk roast I just scored!

  5. Lynell says:

    Wow, I’m on a braised meat kick during this cold weather and this recipe looks great. Nothing like a tender stew to warm the bones.

    • Dan Kraan, LC Community Moderator says:

      This does look very appealing. We have a spate of cold weather here and this is on my radar for next week. I have some nice stewing venison that’s just begging for this dish!

  6. marcella says:

    This looks a bit like a meat sauce from Genoa called “tocco”. You braise the beef chunk whole, and end up using just the slivers that fall apart in the sauce by themselves to toss your pasta with. The rest of the meat is eaten separately as a main course. Yup, you work once and get two dishes in one go – clever people from Genoa, aren’t they.

    There’s no barley in it, though: it’s the very first time I see a grain used in a sauce for pasta. It would be like tossing pasta with rice and I’m quite perplexed about it.

    • Toni says:

      Hey Marcella, I thought it would be strange with the barley, too, but I trusted Jamie and gave it a shot. It pretty much disappears and becomes like a soft and creamy element in the sauce. I’d say give it a go even though it seems weird :-)

  7. Sarah-A Beach Home Companion says:

    I had pasta with pork ragu two nights in a row at different restaurants this past summer when we went to Napa. It was heavenly at both places and I’m thinking this recipe might be a close approximation without the barley. Regardless, I know it will be good, I trust Jamie Oliver’s recipes.

  8. Gina Melton says:

    Can’t wait to try this recipe out! Yum!

    • Renee Schettler Rossi, LC Editor-in-Chief says:

      We’ll second that yum, Gina. We’re big fans of slow-cooked meat, in all its guises…especially this one.

  9. Georgia Pellegrini says:

    Slow-cooked boar and rabbit are some of my favorites. Thank you for reminding me to make this again soon.

  10. Peter says:

    Can the meat be REALLY slow cooked? Schedules at my house call for a slow cooker for recipes like this, and I wonder how adaptable this recipe is to that piece of equipment. Thanks for any thoughts….

    • David Leite says:

      Peter, sure. The low temperatures of a slow cooker will allow the meat to be cooked much longer than the recipe states. So follow the instructions on your slow cooker, using the ingredients from the recipe.

      Are there any slow cooker cooks out there who can add more info here?

      • Peter says:

        Thanks, David. I’ll give it a whirl.

      • Vivien says:

        Better late than never. I indulge in really slow cooking by plugging my non programmable (high, low, warm and off) slow cooker into a PID where I can really control both the temp and the time to a finite degree. Using this method I can braise or stew for hours (or days if I want) at a constant temperature I set giving me fantastic results that melt in the mouth and remain moist and juicy throughout.

        • Renee Schettler Rossi says:

          We, too, swoon to slow cooking, Vivien. Such depth of flavor and tender textures that can only be achieved by low and slow heat. Here’s to your continued experimentation….

    • Daniella says:

      Hi Peter,

      I just made this last night in my slow cooker and turned it off this morning before going to work – a total of 8 hours on the slow cooker. It smelt amazing this morning! The meat was perfectly cooked as were the veggies. Have a go. I just chuck everything in before bed and in the morning it’s all done.

  11. Linda says:

    This sounds lovely. I want to make it tomorrow for hubby & son. I got a fabulous Le Creuset tagine for Christmas, and still feel a bit uncertain about the advantages of this over stewing in big pot. But, when I read this recipe, wondered if the tagine might be a good substitute for your parchment tent?

  12. Chuck McGregor says:

    Just curious why the chef chose pappardelle over tagliatelle or other pastas. Would the pasta have delivered a different result to the meal?

    • Beth Price, LC Director of Recipe Testing says:

      Hi Chuck, I can’t speak for the chef but I do know that I swoon when I see pappardelle on a menu. I think that it is truly just a matter of taste. If you try the tagliatelle, please let us know.


  13. Toni says:

    I made this using emu served with a rosemary and chili flavored pasta from the market and it was AMAZING! Has definitely earned a spot in the recipe folder :-) Thanks Jamie!

  14. Bex says:

    This recipe is the best I’ve tried for a ragu type sauce, It’s positively delightful with home made gnocchi.

  15. Terese says:

    Just made this with a bolar roast (I’m in Australia, so not sure what you would call it), but it sat in my slow cooker on low all day, yum yum yum. Didn’t have pearl barley, but will try it next time. Husband very happy, also the dog, who got scraps. This recipe is a keeper!

    • Renee Schettler Rossi says:

      Lovely to hear it, Terese! Many thanks for taking the time to say so. And although naming conventions can be tricky and often change from one region to the next, the bolar roast that you have there in Australia seems to be equivalent to what’s commonly called a “blade roast” or, more commonly, a “bottom sirloin roast” here in the states. It’s a shoulder cut, yes? At any way, we appreciate the terrific cocktail party chitchat sorta information!

  16. Can this be made with (home) canned venison chunks? If so, should I reduce the cooking time?

    • Beth Price says:

      Hi Deborah, I can honestly say that I have never cooked with canned venison. Is the meat completely tender before canning?

      • It’s raw packed; it’s pretty tender when it’s reheated.

        • Beth Price says:

          In that case I would occasionally check it, and cook it until it is tender and easily falls apart. Let us know the venison version works, Deborah.

          • The venison worked great—I had a late start so cooked it four hours on high in the slow cooker. This is a recipe that I’d be proud to serve guests, and I’ll be happy to make it again for just the two of us.

            • Renee Schettler Rossi says:

              Deborah, that’s really terrific to hear, many thanks for taking the time to let us know!

  17. Natalie Sgambelluri says:

    I did the slow cooker recipe. I used veal osso bucco and basically did stages 1 through 3 (omitted water) then transferred it to the slow cooker, crumbled up a chicken stock cube, and cooked on low for ~ 7 hours. Most amazing thing I have ever tasted!

    • Renee Schettler Rossi says:

      Natalie, we love hearing this! Many thanks for taking the time to let us know you’ve got a new go-to recipe.

  18. Sehaj Sethi says:

    Made this a little over a year ago with a venison roast and forgot to comment on how UNBELIEVABLE it was. I added some meyer lemon zest at the very end before serving, and that truly kicked up the flavor a notch. I think the effect could be imitated with a combination of orange and lemon zest. Seriously, made a fantastic dish several times better.

  19. Caitlin says:

    Does anyone know how many rabbits I would need to cater for 6 hungry people with this amazing dish?

  20. Caitlin says:

    Hi guys, I made this yesterday and it was very nice. I might not do it again with Rabbit as I found the back legs dried out a little too easy.

    Next time I will try with lamb as I believe the ingredients will all compliment one another. Can’t wait!! The barley was a good touch as it really helped soak up the liquid :)

  21. Rod says:

    I keep coming back to this recipe. I usually cook with lamb in a traditional sense, but the only two things I do differently are to add a pinch of chilli flakes and cook in a pressure cooker.

    The pressure cooker takes 45 minutes, and the dish is as tender as if I did it slow cooking. I stop it half way to mix it up and stop any burning on the bottom. So you actually have this done quickly with that method. I tend to let it simmer a bit longer afterwards out of the pressure whilst I get everything together and it gets to a consistency I like.


    I was given Jamie’s book above as a present, and I keep coming back and back to this recipe. I use the slow cooker version. Sometimes I add a little extra barley and leave out the pasta, then turn it into bowl food.

    • Renee Schettler Rossi says:

      Sounds fantastic, Annette. Many thanks for sharing your trick, I know it’ll come in handy for us as well as others.

Have something to say?

Then tell us. Have a picture you'd like to add to your comment? Send it along. Covet one of those spiffy pictures of yourself to go along with your comment? Get a free Gravatar. And as always, please take a gander at our comment policy before posting.


Daily Subscription

Enter your email address and get all of our updates sent to your inbox the moment they're posted. Be the first on your block to be in the know.

Preview daily e-mail

Weekly Subscription

Hate tons of emails? Do you prefer info delivered in a neat, easy-to-digest (pun intended) form? Then enter your email address for our weekly newsletter.

Preview weekly e-mail