Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Beef Brasato with Papardelle and Rosemary

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We know we said we were going to post the main course recipe on Wednesday, but we were just too excited to share this recipe with you! This might be one of the best things we've ever cooked.

For the main course of our dinner party we made Beef Brasato with Papardelle and Rosemary. This recipe is like the motherload of everything delicious - we want to live inside this pot. The sauce is made from beef shank that is slow-cooked until it's fork-tender -- braised in red wine and tomato sauce. The sauce coats the fresh papardelle pasta, and then the whole thing is drizzled with rosemary and garlic infused olive oil and topped with freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Stop drooling. 

Although it requires some foresight and planing, this dish is actually shockingly easy to make and has a very short list of ingredients. We adapted the recipe slightly from Food and Wine

This will make 8 large servings.

You will need:

  • 3 lbs pounds trimmed boneless beef shank, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • One 750-milliliter bottle dry red wine - we used an inexpensive chianti
  • 10 large Rosemary sprigs
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 28-ounce cans peeled Italian tomatoes, crushed
  • 2 pounds fresh pappardelle (homemade, but not by us!) 
  • 4 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, for serving
The easiest way to cook this dish is in a dutch oven because you can do everything in the same pot - brown and braise the meat and reduce the sauce at the end. However, if you don't own a dutch oven, you can brown the meat in a large skillet and then braise the meat in a roasting pan and then reduce the sauce in a large saucepan at the end. 

The night before you plan to serve this dish, cut your beef shank into two inch cubes. Trim off any large pieces of fat. 

Take the beef shank and generously season it with salt and pepper. Then, scatter 8 springs of rosemary over the meat. Take the meat and rosemary and put into a double-lined gallon-sized Ziploc bag. Then pour the entire bottle of wine into the bag, seal it shut, and place it in the fridge to marinate overnight. 

The day you plan to serve this dish, you will need to start cooking 4 hours ahead of serving time. First, remove the bag from the fridge and empty the contents into a large bowl. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. 

Use a slotted spoon and remove the meat from the marinade. Place the meat onto a paper towel and pat it dry. Then using the slotted spoon, remove and discard the rosemary springs from the marinade. Don't throw the marinade away, you will be using this again! 

Next, pour 2 Tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil into the bottom of your dutch oven (or skillet) and heat over medium-high heat. As soon as the oil is hot, put half of the beef shank into the bottom of the pan. Brown the meat, turning it over occasionally, until it is browned on all sides. This took me 12 minutes. 

Remove the browned meat, add a little bit more extra virgin olive oil to the bottom of the pan, and repeat the browning process with the second half of the meat. 

While your meat is browning, open up your cans of crushed tomatoes.

Then, return all of the meat back into the pot. Add the wine marinade into the pot and bring it to boil. Then, add the crushed tomatoes into the pot and bring it back up to a boil. Cover the pot and place it into the oven. Set your timer for 2 hours and 15 minutes. 

I used this time to clean the giant mess in my kitchen and set the table for our tiny dinner party! 

After two hours and 15 minutes, pull the dutch oven (or roasting pan) out of the oven and place it onto your stove top. Turn the stove onto medium heat and reduce the sauce until it is about 2.5 cups.  Whilte its reducing, use a slotted spoon and remove the meat from the pot - set it onto a large plate or platter. 

Take two forks and shred all of the beef. Time to multitask: while you are shredding the beef and reducing the sauce, place a large pot of salted water up to boil. Cook the pappardelle for 6-7 minutes to until it is al dente.  

Return the shredded beef back into the reduced tomato sauce and give it a good stir. Then drain the cooked pasta and add it to the dutch oven with the meat sauce. Stir the mixture so that the sauce coats each strand of pasta.

Lastly, take a small saute pan and heat 2 Tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. As soon as the oil gets hot, add the garlic and 2 sprigs of rosemary to the oil and cook for 1 minute. Then, drizzle the infused oil over the top of the pasta and give it another good stir. 

Finally, grate a generous serving of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese onto each individual portion and serve! 

Stay with us the rest of this week for the rest of the Italian Tiny Dinner Party recipes. If you guys missed it, check out the recipe for crostini three ways. Tomorrow we'll give you the recipe for dessert: Chocolate Almond Biscotti. 



  1. Hi Liz and Amanda! I came across your blog via Joy the Baker's site. Love that you are blogging about the DC area. We used to live in Fairfax, VA (not too far away), but now are living in Belgium. I really like your Tiny Dinner Parties series because it gives great total menu ideas. Hope there are more to come!
    You can find me at http://milosandbeans.blogspot.com/

    1. Hi Liz!

      Thanks so much for checking out our site! Glad you like the tiny dinner parties! They are so much fun to throw and even more fun when you get friends involved! Your site is great too; totally want to try out the broccoli soup this weekend!



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