“OMG this is amazing!!! Where did you get it?” The age old question of someone who can’t fathom cooking something so scrumptious. This is the exact reaction shared around the room as we began to dig in to our steaming Braised Beef Rigatoni.
In light of the current global situation; dining out or picking up whatever we were craving became a bit tricky. Some nights it’s easier to order in than to plan what we actually wanted to cook for dinner. Weeks pass and the fascination with take-out has lifted, leaving us unsatisfied. Like a vinyl record stuck crackling on that last groove, we needed to force ourselves out of the loop. We needed more than some soggy fries and cold wings. In a pursuit to rediscover the kitchen we hit the web, searching for the ultimate dish to pull us out of this food funk. We needed something tasty, that could feed the masses (my select group of friends with large appetites). We finally found it; the Braised Beef Rigatoni, restaurant quality all done within the comfort and safety of our own home! The only semi-dangerous outing being the grocery run. Once we acquired the ingredients we got to work; chopping, slicing, dicing—all the kitchen things! We were feeling a renewed sense of purpose, excitement to eat and pride. Waiting for the meal to be complete felt like an eternity, we were just hoping it was worth all the mouthwatering. FINALLY! Plates were passed around and our homemade-fancy-restaurant-dinner was served! The first bites hurt but in the best possible way; when you chomp on something you know is too hot but you couldn’t possibly wait a second longer—yeah, that.
After all our lil bellies were stuffed, we were quite impressed with ourselves and felt encouraged to make more—who needs restaurants anyways!
Braised beef rigatoni
4 tbsp olive oil
1.5kg braising steak cut into large pieces
2 tbsp plain flour
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
2 celery sticks, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 bay leaves
3 thyme sprigs
250ml red wine
2x400g tin chopped tomatoes
A bit of tomato puree
100ml full-fat milk
400g dried pappardelle
Extra-virgin olive oil
Sea salt and black pepper
Parmesan/pecorino shavings (serve)
Heat half the oil in a large shallow casserole over a medium–high heat while you season the beef and dust it in the flour. Shake off any excess and add the beef to the casserole in batches, browning it on all sides. Remove from the casserole with a slotted spoon and set aside.
Add the remaining oil to the casserole and fry the onion, carrot and celery for 5–6 minutes until softened, then add the garlic, bay leaves, thyme sprigs and red wine. Bubble for 2–3 minutes then return the beef to the casserole with the chopped tomatoes, tomato puree and milk.
Bring to a boil then reduce the heat and simmer gently, uncovered, for 2 hours, adding a splash of water or chicken stock if it starts to look too dry. The beef should be lovely and tender and give when you push it with the back of a spoon.
When the cooking time is almost up, cook the pasta in boiling salted water for 8–10 minutes or until al dente then drain and drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil. Shred the meat into the sauce then serve the ragu on top of the pasta, scattered with lots of shavings of parmesan or pecorino.