after being back up to 20 degrees earlier this week, it’s finally it’s getting chilly again! (i never thought i’d be looking forward to that…. weird). but it means it’s acceptable to have the oven on all day, baking sweet smelling things and something delicious simmering away on the stovetop for hours. i think i’ve grown to love the coziness of a winter kitchen almost as much as the humid late night rooftop dinners of the summer. i love to feel like a little nona, tasting sauce, pulling baked treats out of the oven, feeding friends who pop by out of the cold and rain, and last sunday was a particularly nona-esque day spent rolling out pappardelle, braising beef for ragu, baking pies using the apples from the orchard the day before, making batches of soup for friends and i couldn’t be happier.
i think the other reason i’m starting to embrace the cooler weather more is it makes it a little more acceptable to eat pasta every night. or a big bowl of sauce scooped up with lightly toasted & buttered bread, which is exactly what i did with the leftover ragu. i love meat sauces as they’re traditionally served with broad noodles such as pappardelle or tagliatelle, that give you lots of surface to cover in sauce. my other favourite part of making wintery meat sauces is you can use cheaper cuts of meat since you’re braising them. this is great because buying quality meat from a butcher who supports sustainably ethically sourced meat (which you should always be doing!!! more on that in another post soon) can get a little pricey. this recipe calls for beef chuck, which is wallet friendly and with a little time and TLC, melts beautifully into the sauce.
fresh pappardelle with beef ragu
1 batch fresh egg pasta (1 1/2 cups of flour, 2 large eggs & 3 large egg yolks) find additional directions for making fresh pasta here
1 1/2 pound piece of whole beef chuck
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 carrot, diced
1 celery rib, diced
1 small white onion, diced
3 garic cloves, minced
2 bay leaves
4 sprigs of thyme
1/2 cup full bodied red wine
1/2 can tomato paste
1 can whole tomatoes & their juice
1 cup frozen peas
1 1/2 cups of button mushrooms, washed
heat vegetable oil over high heat until shimmering. season beef with salt and pepper and brown well on all sides, then transfer to platter. turn heat down to medium low, add celery, onion, carrot and garlic and cook until soft and starting to brown gently.
add tomato paste and cook until darkened, about 5-8 minutes, stirring frequently. turn heat to medium high, add wine and stir well, scraping up browned bits. cook until reduced by half. crush tomatoes with your hands and add to the pot, along with their juices, the bay leaf and thyme. stir in 1 cup of water.
add beef back to the pot with any accumulated juices, season with salt and pepper. bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 2 1/2 to 3 hours, turning beef every so often. once beef is tender and falling apart, remove from sauce along with thyme and bay leaf and set aside. tomato sauce should be thick and reduced by 1/3.
blend sauce with an immersion blender until smooth. shred the beef shoulder, and add to the pot along with the peas and mushrooms, simmer while you prepare the pasta.
cook the fresh pasta for about 2 minutes in a large pot of salted water. drain, and add back to the pot with just enough sauce to coat noodles. divide among bowls, topping with more sauce and parmesan cheese. serve with crusty bread to use as a scarpetta to scoop up remaining sauce.