I know a slow-cooked beef shin stew is not really the way to welcome the official start of summer, but the dish lasted me a few days and rescued me from cooking during the past rainy (and lazy) week. I publish a lot of braised recipes here, but I opted to slow-cook this dish on the stovetop. I didn’t plan to hand-roll the pasta with it, but the timing just worked out perfectly.
When rolling out the dough, the original recipe called to divide it into 2 balls (Step #5 below). I ignored that note (rebel!) and had a gigantic piece to work with. If you have a large work space, keeping it in one large ball works quite well; I had to maneuver around me to continue rolling the dough out into a thin sheet. The thing with homemade pasta is that you need practice. This was my first time making papperdelle and they came out imperfectly, but I think their unequal shape made them more rustic. Your old-school Italian grandmother may disapprove, but my tummy was all for it.
2 lbs of boneless beef shins, chopped into 2-inch pieces
1 large red onion, roughly chopped
1 small bag of mini-carrots
3 sticks of celery, roughly chopped
a few sprigs of fresh rosemary
2 bay leaves
4 cloves of garlic, unpeeled
1 cinnamon stick
a small handful of dried porcini
1 can of peeled plum tomatoes
1 bottle of red wine
salt and pepper
For the pappardelle pasta:
1 3/4 cups flour, plus more for dusting
1 cup semolina flour, plus more for dusting
6 large eggs at room temperature
4 teaspoons olive oil
1. Prepare the cubed beef shins. Toss the beef pieces in a bowl with a little bit of flour and shake off excess. Set aside.
2. In a large Dutch oven, heat a splash of olive oil and sauté the onions. Add all the vegetables and the herbs with the garlic, cinnamon sticks and the mushrooms and cook for 5 minutes.
3. Add the floured beef and stir everything together. Add the tomatoes, the wine and season with salt and pepper. Slowly bring to a boil and then lower the heat to a simmer and cook for at least 2 hours, or until the beef falls apart with a gentle prod of a fork. Remove the cinnamon sticks, the rosemary sprigs and the bay leaves before serving.
Making the pasta:
4. While the beef is cooking, make the dough for the pasta. Sift both flours together on your work surface and make a well in the center. Place the eggs, olive oil and a pinch of salt in a bowl, then pour into the well. Using a fork, break up the eggs, then slowly mix the wet ingredients into the flour mixture until combined.
5. Knead by hand. Gather the dough into 1 large ball. Flour your work surface. To knead each piece, push the dough away from you with the heel of your hand and fold the dough over itself. Continue pushing, folding and turning until the dough is smooth and elastic, 4 to 5 minutes, on all sides of the dough.
6. Let the dough rest. Flatten slightly, wrap in Saran wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or overnight.
7. Roll out the dough when ready. Flour your work surface again. Place the dough and dust with more flour. Starting in the middle, push away from you with a rolling pin and continue rolling the dough into a sheet until you can see your fingers through the bottom. Feel free to dust with more flour as necessary. Let dry about 10 minutes.
8. Cut the pappardelle: Dust the top of the sheet of dough with flour and loosely roll it into a cylinder. Using a sharp knife, cut into 3/4-inch-wide slices. Dust with semolina and gently toss to separate. Place on a sheet pan and cover with a tea towel until ready to cook, or freeze in freezer bags for up to 2 months.
9. To serve, boil some salted water in a large pot and add the freshly-made pasta. Cook for no more than 15 minutes or until al dente. Drain and put the cooked pasta in a serving dish and top with the slow-cooked beef shin stew.