I saw the recipe for Wine-braised beef & parsnip ragù on 35aweek‘s blog and thought it could be good, even though I had never tasted or heard of this combination. So I decided to give it a try, sticking mostly to her recipe. Cooking beef and vegetables in the same stew is always a challenge since the temperature needed to cook the vegetables is too high to cook meat without drying it out, but this recipe works around that by shredding the beef. The good thing about drying out the beef is that the flavor doesn’t just disappear but ends up in the sauce, making it very tasty. I was very happy with the result, adding a whole new flavor to my repertoire of pasta sauces. It took some getting used to, but after a few bites I really started to like it. I’ll definitely make it again, but next time I’ll cut the parsnip a bit smaller.
For 2 very generous servings (for imperial metrics please check out the original recipe)
150-200 grams short pasta such as penne or rigatoni
250 grams beef stewing meat (marbled for best results), in cubes
150 grams onions, chopped
350 grams parsnip, in cubes
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 anchovy fillets, minced
1 tbsp double-concentrated tomato paste (or 2 tbsp normal tomato paste)
about half a bottle of red wine (preferably Italian and good enough to drink)
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
freshly grated parmigiano reggiano
salt, freshly ground black pepper and flour
optional: flatleaf parsley, chopped
Season the beef cubes with salt and pepper and sprinkle with flour. My beef came with a nice layer of fat that I trimmed and rendered to use the rendered beef fat for browning the beef for additional flavor. You could also just use some olive oil. Heat the oil or beef fat in a casserole (35aweek’s recipe uses a Dutch oven, but although I am Dutch I have no clue what this — go figure!). Brown the beef cubes on all sides and take out of the pan. Preheat the oven to 160C/325F.
Add a bit of oil if needed. Add parsnip, onion and garlic and sauté until the onion is translucent. Add tomato paste and anchovies and mix to coat.
Add the beef and mix. Add just enough red wine to cover everything. Bring to a boil and then turn off the heat immediately. Cover the pan and put in the oven at 160C/325F for 90 minutes until the beef is tender.
Take the beef cubes out. Cook the sauce over medium high heat to finish cooking the parsnip (which will still be a bit undercooked) and to thicken the sauce, 10-15 minutes.
Meanwhile, boil the pasta al dente in salted water for the time indicated on the package.
Shred the beef in the food processor, lower the heat and add the beef to the sauce. Add balsamic vinegar and stir. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
When the pasta is done, drain and add to the sauce. Add freshly grated parmigiano and toss to mix.
Serve in preheated plates, sprinkled with some more parmigiano and (optional) parsley.