Slow Cooked Beef with Pappardelle and Mint

I LOVE eating pasta.  To the point that it’s not terribly healthy for me to have leftovers around as I end up picking at it.  But on the other hand, this braised beef with mint seemed like such an interesting combination that I had to try it.

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Luckily for us our grocery story only seems to sell fresh pappardelle in 12 oz portions so between us we had not worries about leftovers.  When I first set about to marinade the beef for this, we were rushing home after a fun dinner out (since it’s always nice to pepper in date nights) to get to the grocery store before it closed.  We were able to get in and out in the nick of time, but I realized upon coming home that I had totally forgotten the mint.

I did however have fresh thyme lying around, and so threw that in the marinade for the meat, and then after doing some research, felt okay about continuing with add the mint in the next day for the final product.  It’s not clear to me that the thyme made that much of a difference, but I’m including it here since that’s how we made this pasta that ended up being spectacular.

Ingredients

  • 2 lb trimmed boneless beef shank, cut into 2-inch pieces (or just beef stew cubes)
  • One 750-milliliter bottle dry red wine
  • 15 mint sprigs, stems reserved
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • One 35-ounce can peeled Italian tomatoes, crushed
  • 1 pound fresh pappardelle
  • 4 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 3 tbsp fresh thyme (optional)
  • Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, for serving

Directions

  1. In a large resealable plastic bag (or a glasslock container or just a big mixing bowl), combine the beef with the wine, thyme and a generous pinch of salt and pepper. Seal the bag and refrigerate overnight.
  2. Preheat the oven to 325°. Drain the beef, reserving the marinade; discard the mint stems. Pat the beef dry. In a large enameled cast-iron casserole, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add half of the meat to the casserole and cook over moderately high heat, turning occasionally, until well browned all over, about 12 minutes. Transfer the meat to a plate. Brown the remaining meat over moderate heat.
  3. Return all of the meat to the casserole. Add the marinade and bring to a boil. Add the tomatoes, season with salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Cover and braise in the oven for about 2 hours and 15 minutes, until the meat is very tender.
  4. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the meat to a plate and shred with 2 forks. Boil the braising liquid until reduced to 2 1/2 cups, about 20 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, in a large pot of salted boiling water, cook the pappardelle until al dente. Drain and return the pasta to the pot. Add the meat and the reduced braising liquid and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until the pasta is well coated with the brasato, about 2 minutes.
  6. In a small skillet, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil until shimmering. Add the garlic and cook until lightly golden, about 1 minute. Add the mint leaves and cook for 10 seconds. Pour the garlic-mint oil over the pasta and toss. Serve in shallow bowls, passing the cheese alongside.

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