Thursday, November 15, 2012

Pappardelle with Oxtail Ragu

After an impressive run of 290 editions, the time has come to sadly say farewell to Presto Pasta Nights. I took part in the first edition and as I wrote at the time, with an Italian background I just had to join in but I kept coming back because it was so much fun (actually surprised myself to discover that this will be my 76th PPN - I only wish it could have been more).

Many thanks to Ruth who created this event and is also hosting - there's a fantastic repository of pasta dishes from all corners of the world residing in the PPN archives, you should be very proud of this legacy.

For this last PPN, I have a dish that I made, appropriately, in Italy - using one of my favourites, pappardelle.

Pappardelle© by Haalo

Pappardelle are a wide egg noodle are are terrific with hearty, meaty sauces - I've chosen to make something a little unusual, an oxtail ragu.

Pappardelle with Oxtail Ragu© by Haalo

Pappardelle with Oxtail Ragu


Oxtail Ragu
1 kilo oxtail, approx
2 onions, diced
3 carrots, roughly chopped
2 stalks celery, sliced
fresh rosemary, finely chopped
sage leaves, finely chopped
2 coeur de boeuf tomatoes, skinned & seeded, roughly chopped
beef stock or water
fresh or frozen peas
freshly ground chilli

Make the oxtail ragu:

oxtail© by Haalo

They aren't the most photogenic subject but they make up for it with taste. When I spotted these really meaty tails at the butcher I knew they would be perfect for this ragu.

Wash and dry them, and remove any excess silver skin before giving them a light dusting in flour - season with salt and pepper.

Use a heavy based pot and place over a medium heat - drizzle in oil and a knob of butter and when the butter has melted, add in the oxtails. Keep an eye on the heat as you want the meat to brown and not stew. Seal on all sides and when evenly browned, remove from the pan.

Discard the excess fat - add in some fresh oil and a little more butter - then drop in the onions, carrots, celery, rosemary and sage. Lower the heat and saute gently until softened and just starting to colour - don't rush this process, should take a good 20 to 30 minutes or even longer.

Return the oxtails to the pan, stirring well. Add the chopped tomatoes and either hot stock or water - just enough to almost cover the oxtails. Turn the heat way down and simmer slowly for a few hours - until the meat is soft enough to fall from the bones. You may need to add extra water or stock during this time if the sauce seems to be drying out too quickly.

Let the oxtails cool in the pan before moving onto the next stage.

Remove the oxtails and carefully strip the meat from the bone, breaking it into bite sized pieces - return the meat back to the pan and add in a cupful of fresh or frozen peas. Taste and adjust the seasonings - I added freshly ground dried chilli to give the ragu a bit of a kick.

Oxtail Ragu© by Haalo

Place the sauce back on the stove and reheat over a gentle flame.

Toss the pappardelle through the sauce and serve with a generous side of thickly grated parmesan.


  1. Ahhhhhh!!!
    I know it is not photogenic, but your photo is lovely!
    The oxtail is very very tasty, I make Coda alla Vaccinara and with the sauce that remains I season pasta the next day.
    Beautiful dish, Haalo!

    1. Thanks Brii - I do the same thing with left-over osso buco - even better the next day with buttery pasta!


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