Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Vive Italia

With my impending side trip visit to Italy, I have been a little bit of a pasta obsessive, and seem to be making the stuff every second day. I'm hoping for honorary citizenship. And I think this hand cut pasta with beef short rib ragu might be my golden ticket. Like all secondary cuts of beef, the longer this sits and wallows in the oven, then in its reduction, the better it tastes so it calls for long, languid cooking when time is on your side. 
I use Anna Del Conte's pasta recipe - my only tip - if you use eggs on the smaller side and your dough seems a touch dry, add in an additional egg yolk.

Hand cut pasta with beef short rib ragu

300g 00 flour
3 fresh eggs

1.5kg beef short ribs
1 bottle red wine
Olive oil
4 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
6 eschallot, peeled
1 each celery stalk and carrot, peeled, roughly chopped
1.5kg beef short ribs
4 cups good quality beef stock
Sprig rosemary
Sprig lemon thyme
1 cup passata

Parmesan and fresh parsley to serve

Place beef ribs in a single layer in a non-reactive container that fits ribs snugly, add 1/2 the wine, cover and refrigerate 
Preheat oven to 130C. Heat oil in a casserole dish over medium heat, remove ribs from wine (reserve wine), pat dry on absorbent paper and cook, turning occasionally, until golden.Remove ribs and set aside, reduce heat to low, add vegetables and stir occasionally until tender (12-15 minutes). Add wine and cook over low heat until reduced by half. Add the ribs and remaining ingredients. Pop on the lid then cook in the oven for 6-8 hours or until the meat is falling from the bone and the sauce has thickened significantly.
Carefully remove the ribs. Remove the bones (they should just fall out at this stage) and shred the meat with a fork. Strain the liquid from the pot into a clean put. Add the shredded meat to the reduced sauce. Season generously. Cover and refrigerate until required.
Make the pasta. Add the flour and eggs to a bowl and bring together with your hands until a course dough forms. Dust your bench with flour, turn out the dough and knead until smooth and elastic. Cover in plastic wrap and allow to rest for 30 minutes. Use a pasta roller on its widest setting and run the dough, through the machine, repeating this step until desired thickness, reducing the setting as you go. Dust with semolina to prevent sticking. Gently fold the sheets then cut with a sharp knife into wide strips.
Return the saucepan of ragu to a medium to low heat and cook until warmed through.
In a large saucepan of boiling water, cook your pasta for 1-2 minutes,or until al dente and it rises to the top. Strain, give it a lug of olive oil, season with salt then add to the pot of ragu. Stir gently to combine then serve hot with a slathering of pecorino or parmesan over the top and some roughly chopped flat leaf parsley. Heaven.


  1. Hello!
    Made the ragu last night - very tasty, but found the sauce was quite watery despite reducing it for about 30 minutes after I removed the meat to shred it. Would you keep it on the boil for even longer or thicken it somehow?

  2. Hi Carrie,
    I'm sorry to hear the sauce was watery. It could have come undone in a few spots - perhaps when adding the wine to the vegetables this wasn't cooked down for long enough and therefore the wine didn't reduce by half and you would have started with more liquid. Or it could be something as small as variations in oven temperature - less heat would mean that your sauce didn't reduce enough in the oven cooking time.

    My immediate thought is that the wine wasn't reduced enough early on but as I wasn't there cooking with you, I can only guess.
    When making again I would definitely suggest a few alternatives to see what result you get - cooking the wine down for longer in the initial phase; turning your oven heat up by about 10 - 15 degrees; removing the lid in the last hour or so of cooking (although you'd have to watch the top didnt burn) or as you suggested, keep it on the boil even longer until the sauce has reduced further.
    I hope this helps.