Foodbuzz 24 x 24 | An Ode to Orvieto
This recipe was a part of a special menu for Foodbuzz’s June 2011 food blogger party, 24×24. Showcasing posts from 24 Foodbuzz Featured Publisher bloggers, the monthly Foodbuzz 24 highlights unique meals occurring around the globe during a 24-hour period. Read more about my meal along with all of the other recipes at An Ode to Orvieto.
Of the many meals that I’ve eaten in my life time, only two do I consider truly transcendental. One of which, a dinner served al fresco on the cobblestone streets of Orvieto, was at a little haunt called L’Asino D’oro (Italian for “The Golden Ass”). We had decided to go, a group of us, on the cryptic recommendation of one of our professors, “It’s the most amazing meal of your life. Oh, and if they have the stinco, order it. I don’t know what stinco means, but it’s incredible.” A table was set right in front of the restaurant that looked more townhouse than dining space. Apparently, only two or three parties could dine each evening, and the process of making a “reservation” was literally informing the owner that you would be popping by. In a clammour of conversations in rapid-fire english and broken italian, it was accidentally (or maybe it was intentionally) relayed to the owner to bring us one of everything on the menu. Plate after plate of deliciousness, from fat little sardines dressed in tomato sauce to marbled platters of salumi to heaping mounds of toothsome fresh cut pastas, graced the table as we barely kept up.
One dish in particular gave me pause as for the life of me, I could not figure out the angle. Gorgeous purple noodles were topped with a savory braised stew of sorts. I peeked at the menu and saw that it was Tagliatelle all’Ubriaco con Ragu di Coda de Bue. What the…? I asked one of the guys on the trip who spoke fuent italian for a little translation help, to which he proffered, “It’s some kind of tail.” Wait, wha?
I came home and did a little research – coda de bue was oxtail and the sauce was a ragu di carne bianche, or a tomato-less ragu. In addition, the boozy pasta was purple from a bath in red wine as opposed to the traditional salt water jacuzzi. What a revelation! Between the absence of tomato in the ragu and the wacky purple pasta, I knew I had to take this dish on for myself.
Because oxtails need a lot of love and time to become tender, I like to make this sauce in the pressure cooker. In addition, they tend to be fatty, so try to make the sauce the night before you serve it for simpler deglazing. As for the pasta, the more that it cooks, the more purple it becomes. Try fresh or dried pastas with different cooking times to see an array of lovely crimson shades. And above all, make this meal for folks in need of a little wonder in their lives – from start to finish, this dish is really something magical.
Drunken Pasta with Blond Oxtail Ragu
3 lbs. of oxtails
3 oz. of pancetta
1 onion, minced
4 cloves of garlic, minced
3 carrot, finely chopped
3 stalks of celery, finely chopped
3 parsnips, finely chopped
2 tbs. of olive oil
1 c. of dry white wine
6 c. of beef stock
3 sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves removed
2 fresh bay leaves
kosher salt and black pepper to taste
2 bottles of red wine
2-3 tbs. of chopped parsley
2 tbs. of butter
Add two tablespoons of olive oil to a pressure cooker and heat on high. Salt and pepper the oxtails and sear on all sides in the olive oil. Remove and set aside. Add the onions and pancetta to the pot and cook until onions are translucent. Add the garlic, carrots, celery and parsnips and cook until fragrant. Add the wine and cook until alcohol cooks off. Add the beef stock, thyme and bay leaves and put on the pressure cooker lid. Cook on high pressure for one hour. Turn off the heat and let the pressure drop naturally. Using a pair of tongs, remove all the oxtails and put in a plastic tupperware. Drain the vegetables using a strainer, reserving the liquid in a second tupperware. Add the vegetables to a third tupperware. Refrigerate overnight.
Pour two bottles of red wine into a large pasta pot. Fill the rest of the way with water and bring to a boil. While the water heats up, begin by taking the meat off of the oxtails, saving the bones and fat for a homemade stock. Skim the fat off the reserved liquid and either discard or save for the aforementioned homemade stock. Put the stock into a saucepan and cook on high, allowing to reduce by half. Add the oxtails and veggies to the pot and let the liquid continue to reduce. Cook your pasta according to the package directions and then drain. Toss the hot pasta with the two tablespoons with butter and top with the oxtail ragu. Serve with chopped parsley and grated parmesan.