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Monday, April 23, 2012


This is all wrong.  There's snow in the forecast and it's April.  Did you hear me?  It's April.  And there's snow on the way.  I don't like this one bit.

My tulips have bloomed beautifully and now it's snowing.  There's just something so depressing about perky tulips peeking out of the snow.  Tulips are meant for the sunshine.  Not for snow.

There's only one good thing that has come out of this sudden burst of winter.  I had some stew meat lurking in my freezer.  I guess with the warmish winter I never got around to using it.  Well, today is apparently going to be the day.

A few months back I saw Eric Gabrynowicz demonstrate this recipe on the Today Show.  At the time I figured that this was a recipe to be tucked away in my very elaborate filing system for next winter.  This is where my "chronological" filing approach came in handy.  I remembered the recipe so I dug through one of the files/piles (and then another) until I found the recipe exactly where it should have been.

So this is a nice little braise which is lightened up substantially with the addition of arugula.  I think everything tastes better with arugula, but baby spinach would work just as well if you're not into the whole arugula thing.  I liked the idea of the rigatoni as well.  It made this dish feel more like a ragu and less like a stew.
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And it's April.  Ragu is more seasonal than stew.  Don't you think?

Recipe:  Braised Beef with Rigatoni
(Eric Gabyrynowicz)


For the braise:

1 pound beef cubes - try to utilize the less expensive cuts suitable for braising, such as short ribs, shanks, cheeks, brisket
8-10 cloves garlic
3 sprigs sage (or from your spice jar if you don’t have fresh)
1/4 cup tomato paste - homemade is best
2 cups red wine
2 tablespoons canola oil

For the pasta:

1 pound of rigatoni or your favorite pasta.
1 bunch arugula
Cheese for grating, such as parmigiano reggiano
Extra virgin olive oil
Chili flakes to taste


After setting the oven for 300 degrees, sear the meat it in a heavy-bottom saute pan over medium high heat.  Remove the meat, and saute the garlic and sage.  Add the meat back in. Add tomato paste and wine. Bring to a simmer. Cover and braise for 4 to 5 hours at 300 degrees or until tender.

Cook rigatoni until al dente.

Immediately add the pasta to the braise in the saute pan.  Fold in arugula, extra virgin olive oil and chili flakes, and toss until completely coated.

Plate and shave cheese on top.

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