I have a love affair with beef. It’s scandalous. I’ll admit it. There’s something about the variety of cuts and the endless ways in which you can use them that always has me hovering around the meat department at the grocery store, gazing ever-so-longingly at the mounds of carnivorous perfection.
One of my favorite cuts is the chuck roast. From its reasonable price to the way it reacts to a slow braise, I find myself purchasing slabs of it more than any other cut of beef. I’ve used this in the most elaborate of French dishes, and just recently, paired it with a batch of homemade fresh pasta.
I revisited my imaginary Italian roots by putting together this slow-braised beef pappardelle, which I find is a pasta dish usually made with the chuck roast’s slightly more highfalutin cousin the short rib. Slow-braised for hours in wine, whole tomatoes and an uncharacteristic combination of fresh herbs and peppers, this pasta will have your taste buds demanding a repeat of it at least once a week for the rest of your life.
Slow-Braised Beef Pappardelle
with Pepperoncini and Goat Cheese
(recipe serving size – 4-6 people)
For the beef:
1 to 1.5 lb chuck roast, chopped to 1 inch cubes
2 tb olive oil
1 tb salted butter
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp cracked black pepper
1 tsp dried oregano
Heat a saucepan over medium/medium-high heat. Coat the beef in 1 tb of olive oil and the seasoning. Add 1 tb of olive oil and the butter to the pan and sear beef for 2-3 minutes on each side. Remove beef from pan.
For the braise:
1 28 oz can whole peeled tomatoes
1 cup white wine (pinot grigio)
1 cup beef stock
1 medium onion, sliced 1/2 inch
1 1/2 tb pepperoncini, diced
3 cloves garlic, sliced, plus 2 cloves, minced
1/4 tsp cracked black pepper
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1 1/2 tb chopped basil
2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp cracked black pepper plus 1/4 tsp
2 tb tomato paste
Add onions to the same pan you seared the beef in along with 1/4 tsp cracked black pepper. Cook for 5 minutes. Add the peperoncini and 3 cloves of sliced garlic. Sauté for a few seconds. Return beef to the pan and add the wine. Cook for 2-3 minutes until wine reduces by about half. Add the tomatoes, beef stock, cilantro, basil, garlic, 1/2 tsp cracked black pepper and the salt. Place a lid on the pan. Simmer for 3 hours.
Remove lid, raise heat to medium, stir in 2 tb of tomato paste and 2 cloves of minced garlic and let simmer with the lid off for 10-15 minutes, allowing flavors to concentrate. Break up meat and tomatoes just slightly while simmering, still leaving chunks of both in the sauce.
For the pasta:
1 lb of pappardelle pasta (or any pasta of your choice)
1 1/2 tb kosher salt
1 1/2 tb olive oil
Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add the kosher salt and the oil. Drop the pasta into the water. Stir initially to prevent the pasta from sticking. Following the recipe on the box, cook the pasta until al dente.
Reserve 1 cup of the pasta water.
Special note: if you have the time and the means to make your own pasta and want to take this dish to the next level, incorporate my Herb-infused Fresh Pasta Dough recipe. Double the ingredients to ensure there is enough pasta for a larger group!
Bringing it all together:
1 cup of reserved pasta water
8 oz goat cheese
8 fresh basil leaves
1 cup of grated pecorino romano cheese (optional)
Drain the cooked pasta and combine it with the braised beef sauce. Add 1/2 cup of the reserved pasta and let the noodles and the sauce simmer together for 1-2 minutes. If you find that too much of the sauce has cooked away, add the entire cup of pasta water when adding the pasta to the sauce.
Tear the basil leaves into pieces with your hands and fold the herb into the pasta. Pour the pasta and sauce into a large serving dish immediately after the herbs have been added. Set small chunks of goat cheese on top of the pasta, spacing the chunks evenly across the surface so each person you serve will get at least one dollop. Offer the grated pecorino after serving your guests and enjoy!