Irish Waygu Ragù

11 Sep 2012

This week I am delighted to share two prized personalities in Irish food: Catherine Fulvio & Pat Whelan.

Catherine Fulvio has just released a gorgeous new cookery book, Eat Like An Italian: Recipes for the Good Life, which the postman delivered to the farm last week. In my estimation, I’ve made three stunning recipes already, so I am hoping we are all well on our way to la dolce vita.

Catherine grew up holding the apron strings of her mother who managed their guesthouse on the family farm. She continues her passion today at Ballyknocken Country House and Cookery School in the wilds of gorgeous County Wicklow, which has been in her family for more than 100 years. {If you are traveling to Ireland, book in and stay, I’ll come join you for a cookery class!}.

Catherine’s interest in Italian cooking may have something to do with the fact that her husband, Claudio, hails from Palermo, Sicily, and judging from her latest release, she certainly knows how to celebrate Italian food like a bonafide bella donna.  Catherine has presented two food programs for RTE, Catherine’s Italian Kitchen and Catherine’s Roman Holiday as well as appearing on NBC’s The Today Show in the USA. In person, she has a way of making you feel instantly at ease with her genuine warmth and girl-next-door nature. Her books and television programs convey that same welcoming feeling, leaving you yearning to sit down at her kitchen table for lunch and end up chatting all afternoon.

Pat Whelan is a fifth generation butcher from Clonmel, County Tipperary. Both his mother and father came from farming families, and the family business, James Whelan Butchers uses beef from its own farm where the cattle are grass-fed and then into their own private abbatoir. Pat explains “having our own farm, our own abattoir and our own shop to sell our beef, allows us to give people that essential element of trust that every consumer requires when they buy meat today in our store or order meats online.”

I count Pat as a friend and collaborator. We have worked together on several creative food endeavours and he is a featured artisan in my film, Food Island alongside his happy herd of Irish Waygu cattle. Pat is a butcher and businessman who has a big personality and is constantly thinking out-of-the box, yet always manages to be quietly composed, if not humble. He is considered to be an innovator and inspiration to many in food including Rick Stein, who lists Pat as one of his food heroes.

James Whelan Butchers is headquartered in Clonmel, County Tipperary and also recently opened a stunning boutique butcher shop in Avoca, Monkstown, Dublin.

In Eat Like An Italian Catherine Fulvio celebrates all that is great about Italian food and food culture with over 100 new recipes for la dolce vita complete with tips on introducing Irish artisan produce to each preparation as well. On the bottom of each recipe page there is a lovely footnote which includes a suggestion for a local Irish ingredient. In my case, her recipe for pappardelle with ragù was made impossibly delicious by using braised Waygu short ribs from Pat Whelan.

So go on, Waygu your ragù.

Pappardelle with Ragù

from Eat Like An Italian

extra virgin olive oil

75g pancetta diced

400g slow-roasted shoulder of pork (I used slow braised Waygu beef)

1 onion

1 carrot

1 celery stalk

1 tsp dried oregano

2 garlic cloves

2 tbsp tomato puree

400g tinned chopped tomatoes

275 beef stock

150ml red wine

salt and freshly ground black pepper

350g pappardelle

fresh basil leaves to garnish (I used fresh oregano leaves)

1. To make the ragù, heat a large saucepan with a little oil over a meduim heat. Add the pancetta and cook until it’s crispy and brown, then add the shredded pork (or substitute)

2. Stir in the onion, carrot, celery and oregano and cook for about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and tomato puree and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the tinned tomatoes, stock, wine, and some salt and pepper. Allow to simmer for 15-20 minutes, until a thick ragù has formed. Season to taste.

3. Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to the instructions on the package.

4. Add the cooked, drained, pasta to the ragù sauce and garnish.

Wherever you live, you can substitute a locally sourced ingredient…or just use the recipes as-is, they all look absolutely gorgeous.

Leave a comment below to enter the drawing for a spanking new copy of Eat Like An Italian. Will ship anywhere in the world. Best of luck!

Slan Abhaile,


Eat Like An Italian: Recipes for the Good Life is available in Easons and online at

Pappardelle photo by Imen McDonnell 2012

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