I was supposed to have Italian food at one of my favorite restaurants on Sunday but didn’t make reservations and would have to wait at least an hour…did I mention I don’t like to wait to eat? Since then I have been craving good old Italian food so today I prepared beef brasato with pasta and mint for lunch.
Beef brasato with pasta and mint
- 2 3/4 lb trimmed boneless beef shank, cut into 2 inch pieces
- one 750 ml 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 lb fresh pappardelle
- 4 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, for serving
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**Helpful tips and common mistakes
Beef shank is the leg portion of a steer; this means that this specific cut is much tougher than others since it is muscle. There is little to no fat and can be quite sinewy and dry. For these types of meat you want to slow cook the meat for long periods of time in moist heat such as braising.
You may think the marinade requires a lot of red wine, which it does, but the flavor will be great later. I used merlot as my dry red wine.
Remember to pat dry your meat before searing in order to get that nice brown coloring.
Time to braise! Now the recipe calls for the meat to cook for 2 hours and 15 minutes but I had to cook mine closer to 3 hours. Even then the meat was not tender to the point where you can shred it with forks. Even when others had cooked beef shank for me for 8 hours, it was never to that fall apart point. The original recipe Food and Wine had adapted theirs to used a combination of oxtail and beef shank; oxtail does become very tender as opposed to beef shank and I will try using that cut instead next time. Even still, the beef was still tender, just not the extent the recipe states.
Keep an eye on that garlic and mint infused oil! Depending on how hot your oil is, the garlic can brown much quicker than one minute. Also be careful when adding the mint because it will pop!
Sprinkle some fresh grated Parmesan on top and perfection! I truly enjoyed the deep flavors from the beef infused wine sauce and the bites of fried garlic. I used linguine instead of pappardelle but the type of noodle you use is no biggie. This dish is full of meat but doesn’t feel heavy at all. Great for winter!