Sunday, April 29, 2012

Strozzapreti with Three Meat Ragu

If it's good with one cut of meat, surely three are even better.  This is an excellent make ahead meal and equally excellent for a large group.  Start a day ahead as it's better chilled and reheated to serve.


I made this to serve 12


3 lbs veal shank
1 3/4 lbs beef short ribs
1 lb pork shoulder, cut into large 6 inch pieces
4 carrots, roughly chopped
4-5 celery ribs, from the center of the stalk with leaves, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, smashed and roughly chopped
2 sprigs fresh thyme
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
2 springs fresh sage
4 bay leaves
4 roma tomatoes, cut into quarters
1/2 cup cognac
2 cups medium bodied red wine
3 1/2 cups beef stock
2 1/2 cups chicken stock


Tie together the thyme, rosemary, sage and bay leaves.
Heat a large dutch oven over medium high heat.  When hot, add 2 tbsp of olive oil.
Salt and pepper only the amount of meat that will fit in the pan, and brown it in batches making sure not to crowd the pot.
Brown all sides of each cut of meat in turn, salt and peppering the meat as you are ready to brown it and adding more olive oil as needed.
Place the meat onto a baking sheet as your work through all of it.
When you are finished browning, discard all but 1 tbsp of oil.  Then add in the carrots, celery, onion and garlic and saut√© until the vegetables are lightly browned and almost caramelized looking.
Deglaze the pot with the cognac and let it boil until almost fully evaporated.
Then add in the red wine and bring to a boil.
Follow with the beef and chicken stocks and the tomatoes.
Once the sauce is returned to a boil, add the meats back in along with any juices that have collected.
Cover and bring to a simmer and then turn down heat to low to medium low.  
Let simmer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until the meat is pull apart tender.  Check it periodically to rotate the meat around and make sure it is covered under the liquid.  I found the veal and pork were ready at 1 3/4 hours, while the short rib was more like 2 to 2 1/2 hours.
When the meat is finished, pull it out onto a baking sheet and cover until cook enough to handle.
Meanwhile strain the sauce through a fine mesh sieve pressing on the solids to extract all of the flavorful juices.
Return the strained sauce to the pot and bring to a rolling boil to reduce slightly.  Thicken with a flour roux.  Take 1/4 cup flour and about 1/2 cup of the sauce and whisk together into a paste.   Then whisk the paste back into the pot.
When the meat is cool enough to handle, use your hands or two forks to pull it apart, discarding any sinewy gristle and excess fat.
Then return the meat to the sauce.  Cool the sauce and meat down and then place it in the refrigerator overnight.
The next day, skim off any fat that has risen and solidified on top.  Simmer the sauce for another 20 minutes or so.
I used Lagana Foods Strozzapreti pasta, but pappardelle noodles or another shaped pasta would be great as well.


I served the pasta with a gremolata:
1/2 Cup finely chopped Italian parsley
1/4 Cup grated parmaggiano reggiano1/4 Cup pine nuts, toasted
Zest of 1 lemon

Mix all together


And a cheese crisp made of parmaggiano reggiano and pecorino romano. 
Meaty goodness.



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