Pappardelle with Amazing Slow Cooked Meat Recipe

This pappardelle with amazing slow cooked meat from Jamie Oliver is essentially a braised beef ragu that can be made in the slow cooker.

Pappardelle with Amazing Slow Cooked Meat Recipe

This pappardelle with amazing slow cooked meat from food crusader and chef Jamie Oliver is, as the name implies, truly amazing. It’s essentially a braised beef ragu, although he notes that you could use venison or boar or squab or rabbit. Either way, it’s embarrassingly easy to make on the stovetop or in a slow cooker. This post has been updated. Originally published February 3, 2003.Renee Schettler Rossi

How To Select The Right Cut Of Beef?

Sure, you could use venison or boar or squab or rabbit here, as Jamie Oliver suggests above. 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 cheap. Even the least expensive cut of beef will morph into something meltingly tender after a long, slow swim in wine and aromatics, whether on the stovetop or in the slow cooker. Any boneless cut will do quite nicely, although you especially can’t go wrong with anything labeled chuck or rump or roast.

Special Equipment: Slow cooker (if following the slow cooker method)

Pappardelle with Amazing Slow Cooked Meat Recipe

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


  • One 28-ounce piece boneless braising meat (beef or venison or boar or squab or rabbit, per note above)
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 handful each rosemary and 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; left whole if it’s squab (pigeon); or cut into 5 or 6 pieces if it’s rabbit.) Place a Dutch oven or other deep-sided pot over medium-high heat. Add a little olive oil and the meat, being careful not to crowd the pot, and cook until golden brown on all sides. It may be necessary to work in batches; if so, return all the meat to the pot after it’s browned.
  • 2. Add your herbs, onions, garlic, carrot, and celery to the meat in the pot, reduce the heat, and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables have softened, about 5 minutes. Pour in your red wine and simmer just until the liquid has almost completely cooked away but has 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 about 1/2 inch. Make yourself a cartouche of parchment or wax paper. (A “cartouche” is a piece of paper that’s used to slow down the loss of moisture in cooking. To form a cartouche, take a square piece of parchment or wax paper that’s slightly larger than your pot. 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 it’s not perfectly sized to fit.) Wet 1 side of the paper with a little water, rub it with a little olive oil, and place it on the surface of the meat and vegetable mixture in the pot, oil side down. Put a lid on the pot as well to retain as much moisture as possible while cooking. Cook over really low heat at a super gentle simmer for 2 to 3 hours. The exact timing will depend on the tenderness and type of meat. You’ll know that the meat is ready when you can literally tug on it with a fork and the meat easily pulls apart in strands so tender you go wobbly in the knees.
  • 4. At this point, season the braised beef mixture with salt and pepper to taste and let it cool slightly before removing the meat from the pan. Using 2 forks, pull apart all the lovely pieces of meat, throwing away any gristle or chunks of undissolved fat. Skim any fat from the surface of the braising liquid. Return the shredded meat to the pot and place over low heat.
  • 5. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook your pappardelle 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 water.
  • 6. Remove the pot of braised beef from the heat and stir in the butter and Parmesan along with a little of the reserved pasta cooking water—this will make it juicy and shiny. Toss the beef ragu with your drained pasta and, if desired, serve sprinkled with a little finely chopped fresh rosemary and some more grated Parmesan. Serve immediately.

Slow Cooker Variation

  • The term “amazing” still applies to this recipe when it’s made the lazy, er, harried cook’s way in the slow cooker. Perhaps even more so since it’s so ridiculously easy. 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.
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Recipe Testers Reviews

Recipe Testers Reviews
Testers Choice
Caroline Chang

Apr 02, 2016

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 used a cartouche, which was really an easy task and helped with the simmering process. Don't forget the final step of adding 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

Apr 02, 2016

I love this recipe! I can't believe 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 practically fell apart. I browned the meat and veggies before throwing them 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

Apr 02, 2016

I made this in the slow cooker, and 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…

      • Kat says:

        We made this dish tonight and loved it. Delicious! I only used 1 to 2 tablespoons of butter at the end and that seemed like quite enough.
        P.S. The barley was a nice touch. It rather disappeared into the dish but the delectable nutty taste was there. I wouldn’t skip the barley. Barley by the box is available in most stores in the rice and dried beans aisle.

        • Renee Schettler Rossi says:

          Lovely to hear it, Kat! And thanks so much for the helpful information on the barley.

    • Deb B says:

      I have made this in the crock. Barley is a great thickener and really helps with final consistency. I use boar meat because, well, it is just so awesome.

  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.

  23. Anna says:

    Delicious recipie. I used rolled brisket of beef as this is one of the best cuts for pulled beef style recipes and is good for very slow cooking I’m also going to try it with beef short ribs as I think cooking this with beef on the bone would add extra flavour. I will remove the beef from the bones before putting back in the sauce.

    I cooked mine in the fan oven for 5 hours at 140 degrees centigrade and when the beef was ready I took it out and reduced the sauce until it was the consistency I wanted before putting the beef back in.

    • Renee Schettler Rossi says:

      Lovely, Anna. Thank so much for taking the time to share your technique and tricks. I now have beef short ribs on the mind and shall have to do something with them this weekend…probably this very recipe.

  24. Jean Gogolin says:

    I made Julia Child’s Boeuf a la Mode a couple of weeks ago from my original 1960s cookbook, which is pretty much the same. I don’t use the tomatoes, though — for some reason I don’t like the taste they impart. Must try it with a bit of barley, though I’ve always thought I didn’t like the gumminess of it.

    • Renee Schettler Rossi says:

      (Nodding.) Jean, I tend to omit tomatoes, too, in braises even where they’re traditional. I think you’ll like the nutty heartiness that barley imparts to the dish. It could be my imagination, but when barley is cooked low and slow, I find the texture to be much more appealing than when it’s cooked hard and fast as in a quick boil. Perhaps you’ll feel the same…

  25. Arianne says:

    I’m very much looking forward to this. I have a cornish hen – could I use that?

  26. Karen says:

    I just finished placing this deliciously aromatic entree, made with a nice wild boar roast someone who hunts gave me, in the oven. Followed the recipe exactly EXCEPT I did brown some bacon bits and a half of an andouille sausage. Sneak tastes said it was AWESOME! Thank you. Will continue following recipe INCLUDING the butter and Parmesan cheese over pasta! Thank you!

    • Karen says:

      Ok, so it’s done. Falling apart. Melting in everyone’s mouths. Everyone is raving about what a good cook I am. Thank you so much! BTW, it’s ONLY 103 degrees outside….and STILL they scarf it down.

      • Renee Schettler Rossi says:

        Music to our ears, Karen! Love it. Many, many thanks for taking the time to let us know! Looking forward to hearing which recipe on the site you try next…

    • Renee Schettler Rossi says:

      You are so very welcome, Karen! Looking forward to hearing what you think…

  27. Kelly says:

    Made this the other week for friends—amazing recipe! I slayed them with this one for sure. I forgot to grab a carrot at the supermarket so I made it without. And I wasn’t sure about the canned tomatoes—at the end they were still mostly whole, so I tried to smush them up a bit about a half hour before serving so people wouldn’t end up with a whole tomato on their fork. I did use the barley—it was difficult to find and in the end not worth the effort (for me). It was still chewy/grainy by the time my meat was done, so next time I’ll probably be omitting it or presoaking it? I think I may have cooked the dish too fast- I think I did it for 2 hours at a higher temp. I made the cartouche but mine was bubbling quickly enough that it didn’t seem necessary for me. I guess what I’m saying is that you can “hurry” this dish to be complete in 2 hours and develop a wonderful flavor…but your barley may not be completely done…though you won’t need a cartouche? All that said- it was a very memorable dish that my friends and I thoroughly enjoyed. Definitely a keeper recipe! God I love your recipes…

    • Renee Schettler Rossi says:

      Kelly, lovely to hear all this. Barley is definitely not for everyone. I love it’s nutty taste and chewy (in a good way) texture, but I do think the crunched cooking time may not have given the barley to soften into a pleasantly chewy experience for you. Sorry to hear it! But so glad you loved the rest of it. Lovely tips you shared. Thank you!

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