Still on the theme of comfort food, one of my favourite things to make is homemade pasta and beef shortrib sauce. This is not a meal you throw together at the end of the day for dinner, but is something you take the time to enjoy making on a snow day, or on a lazy Sunday with your loved ones around and a glass of red wine in hand. The kitchen will become a disaster zone of flour, dishes, and dirty utensils scattered everywhere, but the dinner will be so good that others will offer to clean up as a thank you. Perfect!
As a sidenote, you’ll need a food processor to make the fresh pasta (it is way too easy to do it this way to even consider kneading by hand), and a pasta maker. Believe me, I have tried cutting noodles by hand before, considering that one of my favourite Chinese restaurants literally has hand-cut noodles on the menu, and I figured how hard could it be to replicate? Well turns out it wasn’t so much the cutting that was tedious, but the fact that I couldn’t roll out the dough thin enough to make actual noodles. They turned out as fat lumps of boiled dough, so I really don’t recommend doing this unless you like wet dough sausages!
- 2 cups flour
- 3 eggs
- 1 tsp water
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1 tsp salt
Beef short rib sauce
- 0.5 cup pancetta or bacon
- Olive oil
- 2.5 lbs beef short ribs
- Flour for dredging
- 1 large onion
- 2 carrots
- 14oz can of diced tomatoes
- 1 Tb tomato paste
- Fresh rosemary
- Dry thyme
- Dry oregano
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 cups beef broth
- 1 cup red wine
- In a large pot, heat up the olive oil and cook the chopped pancetta or bacon. If using bacon, you won’t need the olive oil.
- While the pancetta/bacon is cooking, season the short ribs with salt and pepper, then dredge in flour to coat.
- Remove the cooked pancetta/bacon and brown the short ribs on all sides.
- Add the onion, carrot garlic, and parsley to the food processor and create a fine mince. I haven’t specified quantities of garlic and parsley so you can adjust to your own taste. My taste runs garlicky so I added almost an entire head of garlic.
- Once the short ribs are browned, add the minced vegetables, diced tomatoes and tomato paste to the pot. After this has cooked for a couple minutes, add the rest of the ingredients, stir, and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 2-3hrs, removing the lid if the mixture is too dilute. You can also stick this in the oven, but I like having a pot of delicious sauce simmering away on the stove, filling the house with the smell of homemade dinner.
- While your sauce is cooking, now is the time to make the pasta. Add all the ingredients into the food processor, and pulse until you get a ball of dough that doesn’t stick to the sides of the bowl.
- Divide the ball of dough up into manageable pieces (I did about 8) and on a floured surface, roll out into a vaguely rectangular shape that with a width smaller than that of the pasta maker (it’ll expand).
- On the widest setting, roll the dough through the pasta maker, returning the sheet of pasta through and gradually making it thinner and thinner by adjusting the settings. Finally, when you have the thickness you prefer, run it through on the noodle setting. I made tagliatelle because the thicker noodles seemed appropriate for a hearty rustic stew.
- Continue to make noodles, flouring well, and making sure pieces don’t stick together. As you make them, you’ll start running out of counter space to store the finished noodles, so I curl mine up into a whirl.
- After a couple hours, go back to your pot of sauce and remove the short ribs, and separate the meat from the bones. Return the meat to the sauce and taste, adding salt and pepper as needed. You can keep the sauce warm by simmering it on low while you make the pasta.
- In well-salted boiling water, add the fresh pasta noodles. Be careful not to overcook, as fresh pasta is ready much faster than dry pasta. I’d start tasting the noodles for doneness after only 2-3min. Remove noodles once done, drain, and drizzle with some olive oil if you have more batches to make.
- Plate your pasta, spoon the short rib sauce overtop, garnish with parsley, and wow your tribe.