Monday, July 14, 2014

Cooking: Oxtail Ragu

Well now that I have started blogging again, I decided to continue with my last real post. Yes, it was the dinner party that I had. You may ask why since I've already posted about it. Well, truth is, I was really proud of that meal. I tried a recipe that I've never attempted before (oxtail ragu) and it was very successful. So I wanted to show you, my readers, how to make it too. It's a fairly easy dish but just time consuming. But don't fret, it is well worth it.
And this is a really good party dish. Not only does it make a lot of food, it also works well being cooked ahead of time then being reheated when you're ready to serve.

The first part of the recipe begins with the luxurious sauce. I get my oxtail from a butcher but I have seen it in supermarkets too. I season the oxtail liberally with salt and pepper.
I heated up some oil in a large pan and browned all sides of the oxtail. You're not cooking it through but instead just searing the outside. Remove and set aside.
Next, add your mix of chopped vegetables which includes carrots, onions, celery, and parsley. Cook it in the same pot until softened. Season with salt.
Once the vegetables have cooked down, add the crushed tomato sauce and bring to a light boil. Re-introduce the seared oxtail and any juices back to the pot of sauce and vegetables. Bring to a light simmer and allow to cook and cook and cook until the meat from the oxtail falls off the bone.
Once the meat is tender, carefully remove from the sauce and pick it off the bones. Lightly break it apart and then add back to the sauce. At this point, you can add whatever pasta you want to the sauce to finish cooking. Serve and enjoy!
The sauce is rich in flavor with the slow cooking of the vegetables and the meat. All those delicious things mixing together in a slow sexy dance until they're just one homogeneous sauce. For the pasta, I used a new imported brand that I found in an Italian market. It's made with durum wheat and held up really well against the sauce. It never got too soft and stayed cylindrical through every bite. So I'm convinced and will now only buy very good pasta to serve. It just made that much of a difference to me.

Recipe below courtesy of Lidia's Italy Braised Oxtail with Rigatoni

Oxtail Ragu with Rigatoni
Makes 8-10 servings

2 1/2 pounds oxtails, about 1 inch thick
6 tbsp olive oil
2 medium yellow onions, chopped
2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
4 celery stalks, chopped
1/2 bunch fresh Italian parsley, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced chopped
2 cups dry white wine
1 35-ounce can crushed San Marzano tomatoes
4 cups chicken stock
black pepper

1. Season both sides of the oxtail pieces with salt and pepper. Heat the olive oil in a wide and tall, heavy pan. Add oxtail pieces, cook, turning as necessary, until golden brown on all sides, about 10 minutes. If necessary, remove the pieces as they brown to make room in the pan for remaining pieces.
2. Remove all the oxtail pieces from the pan. Stir in the onion, carrot, celery, parsley and garlic. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, until the vegetables are wilted, about 4 minutes.
3. Pour in the wine, bring to a vigorous boil and cook until the wine is evaporated, about 10 minutes.
4. Pour in the crushed tomatoes. Bring to a boil, lower the heat so the sauce is at a lively simmer and season lightly with salt and pepper.
5. Tuck the oxtail into the sauce and cook until very tender. The meat should be practically falling off the bone and the vegetables disintegrated into the sauce, about 3 hours. As the oxtails cook, add the chicken stock, about 1/2 cup at a time to keep the level of the liquid more or less steady during cooking.
6. Once the sauce is done, cool the oxtails in the cooking liquid to room temperature. Skim the excess fat from the sauce.
7. Remove oxtail from sauce, then remove all meat from the bones. Shred it coarsely and return it to the sauce. Keep warm over low heat.
8. Cook pasta as directed, but leaving it slightly underdone. Drain and add to warmed sauce. Stir gently and serve immediately. Add fresh grated cheese if you desire.

Note: The pasta sauce can be prepared and refrigerated up to 3 days in advance.


  1. i'm glad you're blogging again. My favourite are your home cooked meals.

  2. this looks awesome!!! I totally love your recipes!

  3. Thanks everyone for your support!


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