Does the name of the dish make your mouth water? It should. Beef braised to the point where it falls away from the bone and its unctuous sauce coats fresh egg pasta is a dish most people dream of coming home to in this weather.
This time of year is full of conflicting feelings. As a child, I remember Christmas with a mystical nostalgia for all things cosy and familial. As an adult, I keep anxiety at bay by ignoring the mounting to-d0 list of writing Christmas cards, doing holiday baking, buying and wrapping presents and selecting, decorating the Christmas tree and attempting to look cheerful. The pressure of delivering perfect holiday memories for my young children could ruin the whole month if I let it.
To add cooking comforting, delicious and nutritious family meals to keep the cold out to this veritable mountain of extra work seems like the straw that broke the proverbial camel’s back. If you feel like I do then let this dish be yours. If you have a slow cooker (and if you don’t, then splurge on one for a mere $25) then this dish will take no time at all. I put the ribs on in the morning and let it cook all day. You can serve the ribs one day, reserving 1 or 2 and the sauce for the next day to toss with pappardelle (buy it at the store to save time and keep stress levels low). With about 10 minutes of work, you will have created 2 fabulous meals and feel like a superstar. What are you waiting for?
Pappardelle con ragú di costine di manzo (pappardelle with beef short rib ragú)
If you want to make the braised beef ribs for dinner one night and then reserve a rib or two and the sauce for tossing with pasta the next night, then double the recipe. For illustrated step-by-step instructions and additional ingredient information, click here.
30 mls extra-virgin olive oil
2 carrots, rinsed, peeled, ends removed and finely chopped
1 onion, skin and ends removed and finely chopped
1 garlic clove, skin removed and finely chopped
150 mls red or white wine
500 ml tomato passata
1 kilo beef short ribs, rinsed and dried
2 branches rosemary, rinsed
5 sprigs thyme, rinsed
250 grams peeled tinned San Marzano tomatoes
300 grams fresh egg pappardelle or tagliatelle (can substitute dried egg pasta in a pinch)
30 grams Parmigiano-Reggiano, finely grated
Black pepper, freshly ground
Place the olive oil, carrots, onion and garlic in a saute pan and cook over medium heat until soft, 5 to 10 minutes. Add the white wine and reduce the wine until half of it has evaporated, about 5 minutes. (If your slow cooker has the sear function, then use this to cook the vegetables and reduce the wine.) Add this mixture to a slow cooker /crock pot with the tomato passata, beef and salt and pepper to taste. Cook on low for 10 hours.
If you do not have a slow cooker, then this can be cooked covered on low in a heavy bottomed Dutch oven for about 4 hours. If you use this method, then use the Dutch oven to saute the vegetables and eliminate the need to clean another pan.
Remove as much fat as you can on the surface. This is even easier to do if you are making this dish in advance and can refrigerate the whole thing and remove the fat when it solidifies.
If you are going to eat some or all of the ribs without pasta, then skip the next step. Remove the bones and shred the meat.
Bring to boil a large pot filled with 6 litres of water and 60 grams of salt.
Add the rosemary, thyme and crushed tomatoes to the rib sauce. Cook in the slow cooker on the higher setting for 30 minutes. If making this in a Dutch oven, cook over medium heat for 20 minutes.
Boil your pasta for the time indicated on the package or for 2 to 3 minutes for fresh egg pasta.
Drain the pasta and toss with the meat sauce. Sprinkle with Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and serve.