Beef shin ragu with pappardelle

This is a delicious pasta dish. The rich, long-simmered sauce coats the pappardelle so well. And it only takes around five hours to cook, perfect for a midweek supper if you’re unemployed. The bone marrow in the shin adds a fantastic richness the sauce.

Serves 4 with enough sauce left over for another 4 portions

For the sauce:

1 kg meaty beef shin, cut into 1.5 inch thick slices

50g plain flour

2 tbsp vegetable oil

100ml dry white wine

1 large Spanish onion, 2 sticks celery, 2 medium carrots, finely diced

4 cloves garlic

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tin chopped tomatoes

1 litre beef stock

Small bunch thyme

Sea salt and black pepper

Rare breed beef shin

For the pasta:

500g plain flour

2 large eggs and 3 large egg yolks

Pinch of salt



Grated parmesan

Chopped parsley

Caramelised beef shin

Heat a large saucepan on medium-high heat with the vegetable oil. Put the flour on a plate and roll the beef shin pieces in the flour. Fry in batches until well caramelised and dark brown all over. Place all the beef back in the pan and add the wine, stirring to remove the residues from the bottom of the pan. Cook until all the wine has evaporated and the beef caramelises again in the pan.

Remove the beef from the pan and reserve, deglaze again by adding the chopped vegetables. Cook, stirring, until the vegetables have taken a little colour. Push the vegetables to one side of the pan, add 1 tbsp olive oil and fry the chopped garlic in the added oil, stirring the garlic for 2 minutes. Then add the chopped tomatoes, stock and thyme to the pan, stir well then add the beef and stir again.

Bring to a simmer and turn the heat down to low, simmer, covered, for a further four hours, stirring occasionally.

While the sauce is cooking make the pasta dough. Sift the flour onto a work surface and make a well in the centre. Add the eggs and salt to the well and mix the eggs with your fingers, breaking the yolks. Then gradually mix the eggs in with the flour to make a dough.

When the dough is formed, knead it for 5-10 minutes by stretching the dough with the palm of your hand then turning it 90 degrees and repeating the action. Eventually you should have a springy, elastic dough that is hard to work. You may need to add some additional flour or a drop of water to the dough to make sure it’s not too dry or wet. It needs to be the right consistency to roll out properly without falling apart or sticking.

When the dough is ready, divide into four pieces and let it rest for an hour in a damp cloth. Then flour lightly and pass the dough through the widest setting on a pasta machine. Fold the dough over on itself and then pass it through again the opposite way. Then gradually reduce the settings when you pass the dough through the machine. For pappardelle, I find it’s best not to pass the dough through the narrowest setting, it will be too thin. The second narrowest is fine as this gives the pasta the best texture to match the sauce.

Slice the pasta sheets into long strips at least an inch wide on a lightly floured surface and leave to hang somewhere until ready to cook.

Finish the sauce by removing all the bones, cartilage and thyme stalks. Using a spatula, gently break up any large chunks of meat in the sauce and reduce, uncovered, until you have a consistency like thick cream. Then season the sauce with salt and black pepper to taste. If there is too much oil collected on the top of the sauce for your liking, you can remove some.

Cook the pasta in a large pan of heavily salted boiling water for around three minutes, until cooked to taste. Drain the pasta and then mix well with the butter in the warm pan, stirring to coat.

To serve, add portions of the buttered pasta to large warmed bowls with a couple of tablespoons of the sauce and mix gently. Then garnish with the parmesan and chopped parsley.

Beef shin ragu with pappardelle

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