Thursday, March 11, 2010

Adventures in Eggland: Beef Ragu with Papardelle

As part of the Eggland challenge through Foodbuzz I made homemade pasta. I really enjoyed the experience, though it was tough (warning, it took forever). I made two types out of the one recipe, and had plans for both-- the other was this strozzapreti with kale, potatoes, and browned butter. The other was this delectable beef ragu inspired by Jason Cooks.

I really-- really enjoyed this ragu. It took awhile too make, which is always tedious, especially when sometime smells so good. Letting a sauce reduce is hard-- just out of pure impatience. I'd never really made pasta sauce before, either (well, I've made alfredo's and carbonaras, but not a tomato based sauce) so that also added an extra challenge.

And I gotta say, it turned out amazing. Brian LOVED this dish-- he devoured it. It was rich, the cabernet was strong and aromatic. The beef tasted amazing-- it was seasoned well (from me tasting it so many times). Yes, indeed, this was a fantastic italian dish. I don't know if I'll make it again any time soon-- after all, making the pasta was a long drawn out process, and making the sauce was equally so. But, I did enjoy it, and I wouldn't mind eating it again.

Papardelle is also like, one of my favourite pastas. The first time I had it was for an anniversary dinner a couple of years ago (or Valentine's, it used to be that they were very close together for me) and it was amazing!! It was served with a rich wine sauce and chunks of tender beef. It wasn't quite a ragu, but it was amazing.

I really enjoyed that serving of pasta, but I gotta admit, I like the homemade love of this one.

It was homey and rich, without being too overdone. A few days ago I watched this movie called Everybody Wants to be Italian, directed by a photographer I know named Jason Todd Ipson who is, in fact, a really cool guy (we've been talking about doing a shoot posing with food-- because come on!) and in it the girl is pretending to be Italian and her Italian neighbor is teaching her to make a ragu or some sort of sauce, and is like... a way to a man's heart is through his stomach (that old proverb). I don't know how true that is-- though my boyfriends have always loved me and my cooking, I don't think any of them are truly blown away by the amount of good food I put infront of them. But this ragu makes me think of that movie (now, even though I watched the movie after eating the ragu) because if I had an Italian grandma neighbor making me pasta, I think it'd taste something like this.

Also, Brian's roommates Dan and AJ just got back from a trip to Italy (like, two days ago?? It was AJ's Birthday. Happy Birthday girly!!). I've never had true Italian pasta-- heck, I've never been out of the country (despite my desire to. Please send me out of this country, Next Models. Let's work together to get me some work. Even if you won't sign me for print. Oh, fickle modeling agencies)-- but I dunno. It might also be something like this, right? I guess I have to go to Italy to find out. Maybe Dan's family will make me some pasta. I know AJ has been trying to make a variety of recipes for Dan/etc, and from what I hear they've been pretty amazing.
I just realized this post doesn't have much to do with the ragu anymore.

But yeah, it was good. Very rich, very flavorful. I loved the extra basil I added-- but that's because Brian and I are kind of in love with Basil for life. FOR LIFE!!

Beef Ragu with Papardelle
Recipe adapted from Jason Cooks

1 pound beef - I used some steak, since you can't really get a pound of beef chuck roast. But it was a chuck steak. Unfortunately, too long ago to remember specifically.
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 basil leaves
1 sprig of rosemary
2 sprig of thyme
1 carrot
1/4 onion
1 shallot
3 oz mushrooms
1 teaspoon flour
1/2 can crushed tomatoes
1/3 bottle cabernet
2 garlic cloves, peeled and seperated
1 cup beef stock


In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Sear the sides of the beef. Add all the vegetables and cook until slightly tender and aromatic. Add the flour and stir in. Add the crushed tomatoes in and continue stirring for a few minutes. Add the garlic, beef stock, and all the herbs and leave on the stove too simmer for 3 hours or until reduced by half. Continue checking and stir occasionally, and when close to being finished start shredding the beef with a fork.

In the last 30 minutes of cooking the sauce, bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add in the papardelle and cook until al dente. Drain and pour into two bowls. Serve topped with the ragu, shredded basil, and a heaping of parmesan cheese.

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