Oxtail isn’t classically a revered cut of meat, however, anyone who knows anything about slow cooking knows that it has the power to turn a fatty cut of meat, into something truly magical.
Over the 5 hours the Oxtail slow cooks inside the Ragu sauce, the fat renders, and since this cut is on the bone, and all the flavour from both the fat and the marrow bone (the part of meat which probably holds the most flavour, however, it isn’t something incredibly enjoyable to eat itself) releases into the sauce.
I love this Ragu that much, that I had to accompany it with fresh pasta because dried and packaged pasta really doesn’t compare once you’ve tried fresh. My accompanying recipe for Papperdelle Pasta can be found here.
This results in all the amazing meaty, rich flavour from the oxtail, combining with the deep Italian flavours from the vegetables and red wine, to make the most beautiful Ragu sauce, that when picked up by the thick Papperdelle ribbons of fresh homemade pasta, and topped with fresh parsley out the garden and Parmigiano-Reggiano creates a mesmerising treat for your taste buds. I served it with some homemade garlic bread too!
List of Ingredients
For the Ragu:
- Extra virgin olive oil
- A tablespoon of butter
- Some oxtail, cut into pieces 2 or 3 inch thick by your butcher
- 2 brown onions
- 1 decent sized carrot
- A few stalks of celery
- 3 cloves of garlic
- Sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 300ml of a fruity red wine
- A tin of chopped tomatoes
- 500ml of beef stock
- 2 bay leaves
For the Papperdelle pasta:
- 400g of Semolina (or ’00’) flour
- 4 large eggs
- Sea salt
- Elbow grease (must have)
- Fresh bread
- Parmigiano-Reggiano (or Parmesan if it wasn’t made in the province of Parma)
“See all the fat marbling? That’s flavour!
See the bones full of marrow? That’s flavour!”
Step by Step Guide
Step 1) Put your oxtail in a bowl, and evenly coat in sea salt, pepper, and some flour. The flour will help add a nice satisfying sear to your meat.
Step 2) Now let’s get to chopping, your onions, carrot, and celery. We want small even chunks like below.
Step 3) Get the pan nice and hot, crank that heat up, and sear the meat.
The chunk below wasn’t fully seared, you see the top? That’s how we want it all. It can be tricky with oxtail but get a nice pair of tongues as it helps a lot.
Step 4) Next, take the meat out of the pan and put it on the side. Crush and chop three cloves of garlic, and fry the garlic with some extra virgin olive oil. This gets all that lovely garlic flavour to disperse through the oil, flavouring it ready for what’s to come.
Step 5) Now fry up the vegetables in this oil so they’re nicely coated in the oil, and season them with sea salt and pepper.
Then once they’ve all softened, add the meat back into the pan.
Step 6) At this point we need to start making the Ragu sauce. Let’s start with the stock. Either use some real beef stock if you have any, or if you don’t have any like I didn’t at the time, use a stock cube and mix with 500ml of water.
Step 7) Now add in that stock along with with the tinned tomatoes, the bay leaves, the butter, and the red wine. Bring this all to a boil, then leave to simmer with a lid on for 3-5 hours depending on two things; how patient you can be, and if the meat is falling off the bone yet.
I’m a big believer in result overestimated time. Make sure you wait till the meat falls off the bone with a fork.
Step 8) When the meats falling off with a fork, remove the oxtail, pull the meat off, and add the meat back in. Give it another half hour to simmer with the meat, then when it’s done, go fishing for those bay leaves. You can remove them if you spot them while eating, but I prefer doing it beforehand.
That’s everything for the Oxtail Ragu!
If you did want to make some garlic bread then go for it. This was entirely improvised, my cameraman simply said:
‘we should have garlic bread with this’
And his wish was my command.
- Melt some butter
- Stir in finely chopped garlic and parsley
- Brush it onto some fresh bread
- Grill it.
A simple yet beautiful accompaniment to this dish.
Check out my accompanying Papperdelle pasta recipe here and if you’re going to cook them together I recommend preparing both alongside each other.
Put the pasta on the plate, dollop a nice pile of the meaty oxtail ragu on top of it, then sprinkle with parsley and grate the Parmigiano-Reggiano.
Job done! Now pour a glass of wine, or cider if you’re like me and have no class, and dig in!
One last thing – Wesley Slice cameo…
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