Being a chef herself, my Mom likes to do food-themed gifts for Christmas. I once had a baking Christmas focused on pies and tarts; I got pie plates, cookbooks, pie weights, a good rolling pin, etc. Bliss. This past Christmas was the year of pasta! She got Branden and I a pasta cookbook, pasta drying rack, a hand-crank pasta roller/cutter, and the pasta attachment to our Kitchen Aid mixer. Sad to say, we finally just had the time to dedicate to making homemade pasta – I just wish it would’ve happened sooner!
Branden found this recipe in our Pasta cookbook on Christmas Day and has been drooling over it ever since so of course, this is where we decided to start on our pasta adventure.
We’ve also recently stumbled upon a couple local butcher shops lately that we are in love with (and they only source local meat…SCORE!). We really like both The Spoon Market and The Butcher Block and Deli. Today’s meat came from The Butcher Block – we couldn’t beat $2.49/lb. for beef short ribs!
The meat...they didn't have 4 lbs of short ribs, so we added a soup bone cut to ensure we had enough meat in our ragu. Worked like a charm!
Now the fun begins, you have to sear all sides of the meat before letting it melt for 3 hours in a Dutch oven. Golly do we love our Dutch oven for dishes like this! Now that we’re all good and seared, its time to prepare for the magic to begin! Throw those veggies in the Dutch oven. No need at all to clean up after the meat searing. This recipe is getting better and better (I’ve only used one pot!).
- Branden and I ALWAYS fight over who gets to stir. So childish!
Everything is resting beautifully in the Dutch oven and we’re on to making the pasta. This definitely took some teamwork! Homemade noodles are really quite easy to make, its just a labor-intensive process. I’ve got two pieces of good news for you, though: 1) Homemade noodles are really inexpensive. Seriously. 2) Homemade noodles can be made in advance and stored in the refrigerator or freezer. So take a day and make some noodles, its so worth it!
Rolling out the pasta by hand. I think we eventually got the hang of it.
And here’s the finished drying rack of pasta: (we ended up cutting our noodles with a pizza cutter because we needed thicker noodles. Clearly we were a little bit inconsistent with our noodle width).
- A tree of carbs! My dream come true!
Once our pot of heaven was down melting down, it was time to pull the meat apart and discard the remaining fat and bones. This is a man’s job…thank goodness we were making this meal together!
- Its really a shame that this is what we had to throw out. That’s a LOT of fat but it makes the meal oh-so-delicious!
And the trimmed meat goes back in the pot where it belongs. It smells like heaven!! Before we dig in, we have to actually cook the pasta that we left hanging on the “carb tree.” Here’s where a pasta insert for our stock pot would come in handy because unlike dried pastas, the cooking time is only a matter of seconds, so you have to work quickly or you’ll end up with mush…and nobody likes mush!
We don't own a pasta pot, so Branden tied some kitchen twine around the handles of our metal colander. #kitchenmacgyver
Okay, so you’ve been really patient through all these pictures (this is one of those meals that I thought multiple pictures would be nice for), so here’s the grand finale…the finished product at last. The quintessential fall dish, heaven in a bowl!
The 3+ hours of waiting for this was totally worth it!
Short Rib Ragu:
4 lb. beef short rubs, each 2″ long or 2 lb. beef top round
3 TBS extra virgin olive oil
2 oz. port fatback or proscuitto fat, cut into matchsticks, or 4 TBS unsalted butter
1 large yellow onion
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
1 large clove garlic, minced
2 bay leaves
1 cinnamon stick, 3 inches long
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp. ground cardamom
Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 TBS tomato paste, diluted with 3-4 TBS water
1/2 c. full-bodied dry red wine
3 1/2 c. beef stock
Egg Pasta (next page)
2 TBS unsalted butter
3 oz. fresh wild mushrooms, brushed clean, tough stems removed, and sliced
Kosher salt for cooking pasta
Trim the beef of excess fat. If using the beef round, cut into 1 1/2″ dice. Past the meat dry thoroughly with paper towels.In a Dutch oven or other large, heavy pot over medium heat, warm 1 TBS of the olive oil. If using the fatback or prosciutto fat, add to the pan with the olive oil and saute until lightly browned, 2-3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a large platter and reserve.
If using the butter, melt it with the olive oil. Working in batches to avoid crowding, add the beef to the pan and brown on all sides, about 12 minutes for each batch. Transfer the beef and its juices to the platter with the fatback.
Add the remaining 2 TBS olive oil to the pot over medium heat and stir in the onion, carrot, garlic, bay leaves, cinnamon, cumin, cloves, and cardamom. Saute until the vegetables are softened, lightly colored, and aromatic, about 10 minutes. Return the beef and fatback (if used) to the pan, add 1 tsp. sea salt and several grinds of pepper, and stir well. Stir in diluted tomato paste, the wine, and enough stock to just cover the meat. Cover partially, reduce the heat to low, and cook, stirring occasionally and adding additional broth or water as needed to prevent the pan from drying out, until the meat is tender, about 3 hours.
While the sauce is cooking, make the pasta dough as directed, then roll out and cut into pappardelle. Let dry for 30 minutes or up to 3 hours.
Just before sauce is ready, in a frying pan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the mushrooms and saute until tender, about 4 minutes. Remove the sauce from the heat and move and discard the bay leaves and cinnamon stick. Fold in the mushrooms, cover, and let rest while you cook the pasta. In a large pot, bring 5 quarts water to a rapid boil. Add 2 TBS kosher salt and the pasta and cover the pot. When the water returns to a boil, incover, cook for about 5 seconds, and then drain. Transfer the pasta to a warmed large, shallow serving bowl or individual shallow bowl. Top with sauce and serve immediately.
Egg Pasta (in a machine, because its easier that way. And cleaner. Okay, cleaner is debatable)
- 2 1/2 c. unbleached, all-purpose flour, plus more as needed
- 1/4 tsp. fine sea salt
- 4 large eggs, at room temperature
- 2 tsp. olive oil
Fit a food processor with the metal blade. Add all but 1/2 cup of the flour and salt to the bowl and pulse to mix. Set the reserved flour aside; you will use it later to adjust the consistency of the dough.
Crack the eggs into a liquid measuring cup and remove any stray shells. Add the oil; there is no need to stir. Pour the eggs and oil into the food processor work bowl.
Process until the flour is evenly moistened and crumbly, about 10 seconds. Test the dough by pinching it; if it is very sticky, add more flour, one tablespoon at a time, processing until it is incorporated. After about 30 seconds total, the dough should come together in a loose ball and feel moist, but not sticky.
Dust a clean work surface with flour. Remove the ball of dough from the work bowl and place it in the center of the floured surface. Using your handsm flatten the dough into a disk.
Using the heel of your hand, push the dough down and away from you, fold it in half back towards you, rotate a quarter turn, and repeat the kneading motion. After about 10 minutes, the dought should be smooth and elastic.
Shape the dough into a ball, cover with an overturned bowl, and let rest for 15 minutes before you roll it out. The gluten in the flour will relax, making the dough easier to roll. Do not let it rest longer or it will be too dry.
Roll out the dough using a pasta machine and until its about 1mm thick. Cut into strands 3/4 to 1 inch wide.
Hang to dry for 30 minutes and up to 3 hours before cooking or storing in refrigerator or freezer.
Recipes courtesy of Pasta by Williams-Sonoma