Weekly Winner:  Brightening up Beef Ragu – Thai Style

Beef Ragu is generally big, bold, rich, and definitely Italian.  It is usually a slow-cooked sauce of decadent beef loaded onto a pile of perfect pasta. Nothing wrong with that in the least! As a matter of fact it is one of my all time favorites.  Until of course you are cooking dinner for someone who is avoiding gluten.  That is when things get a bit challenging for me.  Until now. Enter Thai Ragu with Rice Vermicelli.

This was a light (no, really!) bright and zesty dinner that definitely had me re-think ragu.  And, it was done in a flash which gave me lots of time to visit with my dinner guest.  This recipe comes from Cuisine at Home Magazine and will probably replace my Thai Beef and Basil recipe that I’ve made a bunch of times, I think this is just an all-around better recipe.

Thai Ragu with Rice Vermicelli

Serves 4

Ingredients:

8 oz dry rice vermicelli

2 Tbsp peanut oil

1 cup diced shallots

2 Tbsp each minced fresh ginger and garlic

1-2 tsp purchased red curry paste

1 lb ground sirloin

3/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth

2 Tbsp fish sauce

1 tsp light brown sugar

1 cup each torn fresh Thai basil and mint leaves

Chopped dry-roasted peanuts for garnish

Procedure:

  1. Prepare vermicelli according to package directions; drain and rinse with cold water
  2. Heat oil in a saute pan over medium.  Add shallots, garlic and ginger; cook until shallots are translucent, 3-4 minutes.  Stir in curry paste and cook for 1-2 minutes.
  3. Add ground sirloin; cook until browned, breaking up clumps with a wooden spoon, about 5 minutes.
  4. Whisk together broth, fish sauce, and brown sugar until brown sugar is dissolved; stir into ground sirloin mixture and bring to a simmer.  Cook ragu until liquid is reduced by half, about 5 minutes.
  5. Serve ragu over vermicelli and top servings with basil, mint and peanuts.
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