In Italy, if a family had to feed eight people out of this, then they would cook more pasta and add a little more water — as always, a little meat can go a long way. You can use beef, venison, wild boar, even squab or rabbit.–Jamie Oliver
LC The C Word Note
Sure, you could use venison or boar or squab or rabbit here. Although chances are you’re going to use beef. So when you find yourself standing at the butcher counter, wondering which cut is best, think the c word. You know, cheap. Trust us on this. Even the least expensive cut will metamorph into something meltingly tender after a long, slow swim in wine and aromatics. While any boneless cut will do quite nicely, you can’t go wrong with something labeled chuck or rump or roast. If you prefer a more robust flavor, opt for a bone-in cut such as a blade roast, shanks, or short ribs, being mindful to up the overall poundage a bit so the sauce isn’t shortchanged on meat.
Another c word that’s useful to bear in mind during this recipe is “cartouche,” a French term which basically means “scroll” or “packet.” As Jamie Oliver explains, it’s a piece of paper that’s used to slow down the loss of moisture in cooking. A lid only lets a little moisture escape, whereas using no lid lets lots of moisture escape. Using a cartouche is a halfway house between the two. It also stops things from coloring too much. To form a cartouche, take a square piece of parchment or wax paper that’s slightly larger than your pan. Fold the square in half, and in half again. Keep folding the same way so that the tip becomes the center. When it’s pretty pointy you’re ready to measure up. Hold the tip of the cartouche to the center of the pan, tear or cut off any paper that extends beyond the edge of the pan. Open out to a circle—the cartouche is ready. You can get away with the cartouche being a bit larger than the pan, so don’t worry if you make it too big.
Jamie Oliver's Pappardelle with Amazing Slow-Cooked Meat Recipe
Hands-On Time: 40 minutes | Total Time: 3 hours, 40 minutes | Serves 4
- One 28-ounce piece braising meat (beef or venison or boar or squab or rabbit, per note above)
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 handful each fresh rosemary and fresh thyme, stems discarded and leaves finely chopped
- 1 small red onion, peeled and finely chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
- 1 carrot, peeled and finely chopped
- 1 celery stick, finely chopped
- 2 wineglasses Chianti
- Two 14-ounce cans plum tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons pearl barley
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 14 ounces fresh or dried pappardelle
- 7 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 handfuls grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
- 1. To make the Pappardelle with Amazing Slow-Cooked Meat in your slow cooker, see the Slow Cooker Variation below.
To make the Pappardelle with Amazing Slow-Cooked Meat on your stovetop, season the meat with salt and pepper. It can be cut into large 2-inch chunks if it’s beef, venison, or wild boar or left whole if it’s a squab (pigeon) or cut into 5 or 6 pieces if you’re using a rabbit. In a hot casserole-type pan, fry your meat in a little olive oil until golden brown on all sides. Add your herbs, onions, garlic, carrot, and celery. Turn the heat down and continue to cook for 5 minutes, until the vegetables have softened.
- 2. Add your red wine and continue to simmer until the liquid has almost cooked away but left you with a fantastic color and fragrance.
- 3. Add the plum tomatoes, the pearl barley, and just enough water to cover the meat by 1/2 inch. Make yourself a cartouche of parchment or wax paper (see note). Wet it with a little water, rub it with a little olive oil, and place it over the pan. Put a lid on the pan as well, as this will retain as much moisture as possible while cooking. Cook over really low heat for about 2 to 3 hours, depending on the tenderness and type of meat. It’s ready when you can literally pull the meat apart in tender strands.
- 4. At this point, season the braise carefully with salt and pepper to taste and allow to cool slightly before removing the meat from the pan. Using 2 forks, pull apart all the lovely pieces of meat, throwing away any bones. Skim any fat from the surface of the braising liquid. Put the meat back in the pan and place over low heat.
- 5. It’s now ready to serve, so cook your pappardelle in a pan of boiling, salted water for 3 minutes if using fresh pasta or according to the package instructions if using dried. Once it’s cooked, drain it in a colander, saving some of the cooking liquid in case the sauce needs a little loosening. Remove the pot of stewed meat from the heat and stir in the butter and Parmesan with a little of the cooking water — this will make it juicy and shiny. Toss together with your pasta and serve immediately. If desired, serve sprinkled with a little finely chopped fresh rosemary and some more grated Parmesan.
Slow Cooker Variation
- Amazing still applies to this recipe when it’s made the lazy, er, harried cook’s way in the slow cooker. Just toss everything in the slow cooker. No need to brown the meat or vegetables in a skillet first (although if you can spare the time to do so, you will be justly rewarded with a slightly more complex flavor). No need to add any water. By all means omit the cartouche. And you may want to consider either swapping fresh herbs for dried or, if you prefer fresh, adding them only during the last hour or so of cooking. Cook on low for 8 or so hours, until the meat is fall-apart tender. If the sauce seems too liquidy, simply remove the meat, crank the slow cooker up to high, and simmer until the liquid is reduced to the desired consistency. Continue with step 4 in the instructions above.
[Editor's Note: Bear in mind, no two slow-cookers are exactly alike, just as no two cooks are exactly alike. This slow-cooker approach worked really, really well for us, although if you have a different slow-cooker cooking technique you want to try by all means, do so. And, natch, we'd love if you'd share it with us in a comment below.]
Hungry for more? Chow down on these:
- Venison Sausage Braised in Sauerkraut from Starving off the Land
- Port Braised Beef Shanks from Choosy Beggars
- Braised Short Ribs with Horseradish Gremolata and Pumpkin Orso from Leite's Culinaria
- Beef Braised in Barolo from Leite's Culinaria
Jamie Oliver's Pappardelle with Amazing Slow-Cooked Meat Recipe © 2003 Jamie Oliver. Photo © 2002 Jamie Oliver. All rights reserved.