This braised beef with red wine pasta is versatile. You can use oxtails, short ribs, or stew meat to make the ragú. And the homemade red wine pasta? You have to experience it to truly understand its loveliness. The beef ragu is even better the next day.
“When I was growing up, my mom made the best pot roast with potatoes and carrots,” says Andy Ticer, coauthor of Collards & Carbonara. “This recipe is an homage to that memorable dish.” We’ve all got memories similar to his, of walking into the house from playing football or some such tomfoolery outside in the cold, the aroma of braised beef enveloping and enticing us the moment we stuck our head in the back door. Though I assure you, while our memories may be largely the same, with all due respect to your mom’s cooking, we’re confident her go-to recipe for beef stew falls waaaaaaay short of this braised beef with its magnificent melding of beef, wine, and pasta. No contest. Originally published February 3, 2014.–Renee Schettler Rossi
How To Save Yourself Some Carbs
As one of our astute recipe testers noted upon making this recipe, depending on your penchant for pasta, this dish has the potential to either robust braised beef resting on a modest tangle of noodles or an epic platter of pasta with a dab of daube. We suggest going halfsies on the carbs, using only half a batch of the lovely hued homemade red wine pasta, so you end up with less pasta, more an equitable balance of starchy and savory.
Braised Beef with Red Wine Pasta
- Quick Glance
- 2 H
- 5 H, 30 M
- Serves 6 to 8
- 3 to 4 large, meaty oxtails or bone-in short ribs or 2 pounds (910 g) boneless beef stew meat, cut into 2-inch (5-cm) pieces
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 3 stalks celery, chopped
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 1 carrot, chopped
- 1 small head garlic, unpeeled, halved crosswise
- 1 tablespoon store-bought or homemade tomato paste
- 3 cups dry red wine
- 1 bunch thyme
- 1 bunch flat-leaf parsley
- 1 sprig rosemary
- 2 dried bay leaves
- 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
- 1 cup demi-glace (store-bought or homemade; see How To Make Cheater's Demi-Glace below)
- Semolina flour, for dusting
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 12 baby carrots (not those blobs labeled “baby carrots” but actual young, slender carrots), blanched and halved lengthwise
- 1 cup mixed minced thyme, rosemary, and flat-leaf parsley leaves
- 1 cup dry red wine
- 1/2 recipe Homemade Red Wine Pappardelle
- Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, for serving
- 1. Preheat the oven to 300°F (150°C).
- 2. Season the oxtails or stew meat with salt and pepper. In a large Dutch oven, warm the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the meat and sear, turning once, until browned, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer the meat to a plate.
- 3. Add the celery, onion, carrot, and garlic to the oil and beef drippings in the Dutch oven and sauté until the vegetables are softened and lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Add the tomato paste and sauté for about 5 minutes to develop the flavor. Add the wine, stir to scrape up the brown bits on the bottom of the pan, and cook until the wine is nearly evaporated, about 10 minutes.
- 4. Add the meat, thyme, parsley, rosemary, bay leaves, peppercorns, demi-glace, and enough water to almost cover the meat. Cover, place in the oven, and braise for 1 1/2 hours.
- 5. Uncover the pot, rotate it 180°, and continue to braise the oxtails until the meat is fork-tender and nearly falls off the bone, about 1 hour more.
- 6. Using tongs, transfer the meat from the pot to a cutting board and set aside until cool enough to handle. Return the pot to the stovetop and simmer over medium heat until the liquid is reduced by half. Meanwhile, pull all of the meat from the bones in large pieces, if necessary, and discard the bones and any gristle. Strain the braising liquid through a fine-mesh sieve and discard the solids.
- 7. Warm a large skillet over high heat and add the olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the carrots and sauté until slightly charred, about 3 minutes. Add the reserved meat, chopped fresh herbs, and wine and cook until the wine has nearly evaporated. Add the reduced braising liquid and simmer until the mixture has a nice, sauce-like consistency. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the pasta to the sauce. Cook, gently stirring, until the pasta is al dente and well coated with the sauce, about 3 minutes. If the sauce is too thick, add a little pasta cooking water to thin it.
- 8. Divvy the red wine pasta, meat, and vegetables among warmed plates. Top each portion with the Parmigiano-Reggiano or pass it at the table.
How To Make Cheater's Demi-Glace
- If you just can’t bring yourself to pay for a wee container of demi-glace, or just can’t bear to leave the house and run to the store for just that one ingredient, the authors have a solution. It’s this cheater’s demi-glace, which is essentially just reduced beef stock. It’ll work fine in this recipe, though kindly note, it’s not a fail-safe substitute for demi-glace in other situations. Pour 4 cups chilled homemade stock into a stock pot and skim any fat from the surface. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered and skimming as necessary, until the stock is reduced by half, 1 to 2 hours. Strain the stock and then pour it into a saucepan. Repeat the simmering process, reducing the stock until it is reduced by half again to about 1 cup and/or has a rich, meaty flavor, about 1 hour. (You can cover and refrigerate the pseudo demi-glace for up to a week or freeze it for up to 3 months. If you choose to freeze it, for ease of thawing and using, we suggest measuring it into 1- to 2-tablespoon portions, dumping them into ice cube trays, and then, when frozen, turning them into a resealable plastic bag. Don’t forget to label the bag, natch.)
Recipe Testers Reviews
This braised beef is a fabulous dish and relatively easy to make. The flavor is soooo good.
I used a beef chuck roast, cut into pieces, and it was melt-in-your-mouth tender. I ran out of beef stock, so I added consommé with a little wine and water to keep the liquid volume the same. The first part of the recipe can be prepared a day ahead with no ill results—in fact, it seems to have made it better. The quantity of wine seems like a lot, but don't skimp, as the alcohol cooks out and the flavor is awesome. I used a Cabernet. I only used 1/4 of the red wine pasta recipe and saved the rest for another meal.
Overall, this recipe is a winner and I will be making it again as it's well worth the effort. I'll add this to my rotation as a hearty beef stew any time of the year.
This braised beef is a great dish. It's complex and elaborate, especially when you make your own demi-glace and pasta. And it's kinda expensive with the oxtail and decent wine. But in my opinion, it's absolutely worth it.
It's easy to space the work over 2 or even 3 days. And I'm convinced the meat sauce gets even better when it sits for a day or two. The pasta can be made many hours before you cook it. (Actually, I kept some pasta, uncooked, until the next day and it worked just fine.)
A couple of thoughts. I used oxtail, partly because I just love it and partly because I think it tastes better in this dish. It has a deeper flavor and a different texture. The cheater's demi-glace is pretty straightforward, but DO NOT use store-bought beef broth to make it or you'll be left with some chemical-tasting and ugly liquid that will ruin the whole dish. I made the entire recipe twice—once with homemade beef stock and once with a roasted chicken stock (courtesy of Barbara Lynch)—and in my opinion, there wasn't much difference in taste in the end product. Because the chicken stock is easier to make, I'll go with that in the future.
You have to use a decent wine. A $10 or $12 bottle will do, but don't buy the cheapest you can get. It will be dramatically reduced and therefore the flavor will be very concentrated.
Last, I think this dish would go very well with polenta, too. Add some green stuff, like broccoli rabe or regular broccoli, and you have a great-looking meal on your plate.
Thick, fresh, red wine pasta flavored coupled with rich oxtail meat cooked in plenty of red wine—what a delicious, comforting, and perfect dish for a cold winter's night. It also has loads of fresh herbs that help keep it perky and fresh.
The recipe is a bit involved, especially if you need to make the beef stock and the demi-glace, but it's so worth it. My only issue with the recipe is the quantity of pasta. Reading through it and seeing that it asks for a full 2 1/2 pounds flour, I went ahead and halved the amounts for the pasta. That worked perfectly. The amount of noodles that resulted was just the right amount to be coated with the meat sauce. Making the full amount will surely give you way more pasta than you need. The thick, soft noodles carried the sauce perfectly and retained a great texture.
This braised beef dish is a labor of love. The finished dish is absolutely wonderful. The sauce is deep and rich, and the red wine pasta itself is luxuriously silken and satisfying.
It is well worth the effort, but it is an effort. It took a full day to make the demi-glace and to braise the beef. It then took another day for me to make the red wine pasta and put the whole dish together. I chose to use beef stew. With the 1/4 cup olive oil, there was a lot of splattering going on while sautéing the beef. The stew meat worked well, however, and the last hour of uncovered braising really darkened the top of the meat.
I only made half of the pasta dough and it came together just as written without any problems. The pasta was easy to work with, but it did take 40 minutes to roll and cut half the dough recipe. The homemade pasta is a lovely, deep, lavender color.
I used a 14-inch nonstick skillet to finish the dish. Once again, the 1/4 cup olive oil did spatter some while charring the carrots. The rest of the sauce worked just as written. I was relieved I only made half of the pasta dough, as there was more than enough pasta and it barely fit in the skillet with the sauce. It only took 3 minutes to finish cooking the pasta and warm the dish. If you make the homemade demi-glace, watch it closely. I burned the first batch since the demi-glace reduces quickly after the first 2 hours of cooking. Plan on a significant amount of time to make this dish. Watch the beef during the last hour of braising so it doesn't overcook and dry out. A twist of fresh cracked pepper is the perfect touch to finish the dish.
It seems that everyone has a family link to a perfect pot roast recipe. My Grandmother Muriel’s pot roast with carrots, potatoes, and mushrooms is my ideal version. I loved this Italian twist on the dish, which incorporates the same flavor from the sauce into the homemade red wine pasta. This specific braised beef had many working parts and takes a bit of dedication to make, but oh, the results! Well worth the time and effort.
I actually had a hard time finding oxtails, but I did find short ribs, so I substituted 2 pounds short ribs for 2 pounds oxtails. In terms of the demi-glace, I did actually use an unsalted store-bought beef stock and reduced it to 1 cup demi-glace. It was very fragrant and rich. Obviously homemade stock would have been better to reduce, but as long as you use unsalted store-bought stock, I think it's a good, convenient option. Next, I didn't have baby-cut carrots, so I just used whole carrots, halved and cut into 1 1/2-inch long pieces, which gave the stew a rustic look which I like with this sort of dish. Lastly, the recipe suggests you add enough water to cover the meat. I did not add any water because I think that would have diluted the overall flavor; instead, the liquid level was already just about at the top of the meat, so no need to add it in my opinion.
Overall this was a superb recipe that was just as fun to make as it was to eat! Pappardelle is my favorite pasta shape and really holds up well in ragus and similarly hearty sauces like this one. And any comforting dish that takes a few hours to braise in the oven until perfectly tender and luxurious is one of my favorite types of dishes to make. There's something so fulfilling and exciting about cooking early in the afternoon and anticipating the mouthwatering results for a few hours. This is a truly impressive dish for a winter gathering.