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…though you could swap in store-bought pasta instead. The beef ragu is even better the next day.
How to save yourself some carbs
As one of our astute recipe testers noted upon making this recipe, depending on your penchant for pasta and how much you put on the plate,, this dish has the potential to either be 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. That also leaves you with additional pasta for another night.
Braised Beef with Red Wine Pasta
- Quick Glance
- 2 H
- 5 H, 30 M
- Serves 6 to 8
Preheat the oven to 300°F (150°C).
Season the 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.
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 cook, stirring often, for about 5 minutes.
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.
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.
Uncover the pot, rotate it 180°, and continue to braise until the meat is fork-tender and nearly falls off the bone, about 1 hour more.
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, if not using stew meat, and shred it. Discard the bones and any gristle. Strain the braising liquid through a fine-mesh sieve and discard the solids.
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.
Divvy the red wine pasta, meat, and vegetables among warmed plates. Top each portion with the Parmigiano-Reggiano or pass it at the table. Originally published February 3, 2014.
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.