Slow Cooked Shredded Beef Ragu Pasta

Recipe video above. Ragu is one of those recipes that really showcases the beauty of Italian cooking - everyday ingredients, fast prep, leave it to cook long and slow and you end up with a luscious dish that tastes like a million bucks. This recipe makes enough sauce to serve 8 and freezes great.

2.5 lb / 1.2kg chuck beef or other slow cooking beef cut, cut into equal 4 pieces (Note 1)
1 tbsp salt
Black pepper
3 tbsp olive oil , separated
3 cloves garlic , minced
1 onion , diced
1 cup carrots , diced (Note 2)
1 cup celery , diced (Note 2)
28 oz /800g crushed canned tomatoes
3 tbsp tomato paste
2 beef bouillon cubes, crumbled (Note 3)
1 cup / 250ml red wine, full bodied (like merlot, cabernet sauvignon), or sub with beef broth/stock
1 1/2 cups / 375 ml water (Note 3)
3/4 tsp dried thyme or 3 sprigs fresh thyme
3 dried bay leaves
Extra salt and pepper , to taste

1 lb /500g dried pappardelle, or other pasta of choice (Note 4)
Freshly grated parmesan cheese or parmigiano reggiano
Fresh parsley , finely chopped (optional)

Pat beef dry and sprinkle with salt and pepper
Heat 1 tbsp olive oil over high heat in a heavy based pot. Add beef and sear each piece on all sides until browned (around 3 minutes in total), then remove onto a plate.
Turn stove down to medium low and add remaining 2 tbsp of olive oil.
Add garlic and onion and sauté for 2 minutes. Then add the carrots and celery and sauté slowly for 5 minutes.
Add remaining Ragu ingredients (except extra salt and pepper) and return the beef to the pot (add the juices too). Turn the stove up and bring it to a simmer, then turn it down to low (Note 7) (see Note 5 for slow cooker and pressure cooker). Cover the pot and let it cook for 2 hours or until beef is tender enough to shred.
Remove beef then coarsely shred with 2 forks. Return beef to the pot. Simmer for 30 minutes until sauce is reduced and thickened - beef will soften slightly more during this step.