I have always grown up eating homemade pasta. Always. My parents brought a hand crank pasta machine back with them from a trip to Canada when I was about four. That thing is a workhorse - it still cranks out pasta just as well today as it did the day that we got it, and we have PUNISHED it in its lifetime. My Mum trains basketballers and would often have them around for dinner, and pasta was always the best option to feed loads of hungry athletes. Pasta is always the default when we have people around for dinner, and pasta night has become somewhat of a signature meal in our house - everyone knows about it, and everyone loves it. Mum usually makes two sauces - a super simple but amazing bacon and tomato sauce using home canned tomatoes, and then generally something involving chicken. Both are always amazing, and my parents always make incredible foccacia bread to go alongside it. We have loads of pasta bowls from the local potter who lives down the road from us, and everyone jams themselves around our giant kitchen table to eat. It's always crowded, and there are giant dishes of pasta and sauce and salad being passed around, but I can honestly say it is one of my favourite ways to spend an evening - surrounded by people I love, eating carbs. (How can you go wrong there really).
Once we moved to New York, pasta night has continued to be a fairly regular occurrence in our house. Guests who offer to help are often given the task of arranging the pasta on the pasta tree to dry it out before cooking. I try and mix up the sauces and types of pasta each time we have it. The dough recipe here is extremely versatile - I have used it to make ravioli, fettuccine, spaghetti, lasagne, tortellini, the list goes on.
I make my pasta dough in the food processor. While I am aware that this is not the traditional method, I prefer it done this way. It comes together super quickly, and makes it extremely easy to scale. It also makes making fresh pasta a relatively quick, simple and mess-free task as opposed to mixing by hand. I use a pasta roller and cutter attachment for my stand mixer, which makes it super simple to roll. Pappardelle is cut by hand, but you could serve this dish with any sort of pasta that you please. It would also work just fine with store bought pasta. For pappardelle I rolled the pasta out using the roller attachment, then folded it up and cut it by hand into thick noodles.
I paired the pappardelle with a rich beef and mushroom ragu. The sauce is flavourful, and the mushrooms and red wine give it an amazing depth. In my opinion, this is the ultimate comfort food. The beef is slow cooked on the stove for 4-5 hours, resulting in meat that falls apart and a rich tomato sauce. I used a piece of brisket for this dish, but you can use any cheap cut of beef - cheek or shin would also work perfectly. I do recommend that you make the full recipe of the sauce, even if you are planning on only serving a few people - because of how long it has to cook, it requires a large amount in order for it to not dry out. The sauce freezes perfectly well, so for no extra effort you can have an easy meal on hand in the freezer. The pasta recipe here serves 6, but if you were serving more, there would easily be enough sauce leftover for another 6 servings if you wanted to make more pasta.
This pasta dish is part of the #noodleholicsparty, hosted by Soe of Lime and Cilantro! I have listed all the other amazing bloggers partaking in this party at the end of the post. Thank you so much Soe for organising this! I love coming together with like minded people to share amazing dishes that we love. You can check the hashtag #noodleholicsparty on instagram to check out all the others participating!
Fresh Pappardelle with Beef and Mushroom Ragu
- Serves 5-6 -
Note: The Ragu recipe makes enough to serve about 10 people (it makes approx 10 cups of sauce). The pasta recipe I have listed here serves 4-6, so you are going to have some Ragu left over. If you would like to serve more people, you can double the pasta recipe, or the sauce freezes amazingly if you wanted to have some on hand for another meal.
Approximately 3 pounds (1.35kg) Beef brisket, or similar cut of meat
5 Tbsp olive oil
2 small onions, finely diced
5 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 cup of celery, finely diced (4-5 stalks)
1 cup Carrot, finely diced (1-2 medium carrots)
1 pound (450g) portobello mushrooms, or a mixture of mushrooms, finely chopped
2 cups (500ml) red wine, divided
3 cups (750ml) beef stock
1 28oz (800g) can of crushed Tomatoes
1 6oz (170g) can of tomato paste
1 Tbsp (15ml) worcestershire sauce (optional)
4 Bay leaves
2 cups (290g) All-purpose flour
3 large eggs
water to bind
- PROCESS -
BEEF AND MUSHROOM RAGU
Cut the meat into 4-5 large pieces. Pat each dry, and season well with salt and pepper. Heat 2 Tbsp olive oil over high heat in a large heavy pot (cast iron if possible). Sear the meat for 1-2 minutes per side, until it is golden brown. You may have to do this in a few batches. Remove and set aside.
Add 3 Tbsp oil to the pot, and reduce the heat to medium. Add the onions, garlic, and a big pinch of salt. Fry off for 5 minutes, until the onions are starting to turn translucent. Add the diced carrots and celery, and cook for 10-15 minutes, stirring often, until they are soft. Add the diced mushrooms and another pinch of salt, and cook for a further 10-15 minutes, until soft and collapsing slightly. Deglaze the pan with half a cup of the wine, and cook for a minute or so.
Add the beef back into the pan, along with the rest of the ingredients. Reduce the heat to very low, and simmer, covered for 3-4 hours, stirring very occasionally, until the beef is fork tender and falling apart. Remove the lid, and allow to simmer for 30-40 minutes, until the sauce has reduced. Taste and season with salt, pepper and sugar as required. Remove the beef from the pan, and shred with two forks into small pieces. Return to the pot, and stir well to incorporate. Set aside until you are ready to use. You can also make this a day in advance and store in the fridge - the flavour develops with time.
In the work bowl of a food processor, place the flour and eggs. Pulse until incorporated - it should resemble chunky cous cous, and should hold together when you pinch some between your fingers. If it is a little dry, add water a teaspoon at a time and pulse to combine. Turn the dough out onto plastic wrap, and press together into a large disc. Rest at room temperature for 30 mins to an hour.
Divide the dough into six. Working with one piece at a time, and keeping the others well covered, run the dough through the rollers of a pasta machine on the widest setting. Pass it through the rollers on the widest setting 4 or 5 times, folding it up between each pass to help develop the dough. Once you have given it several passes on the widest setting, begin decreasing the width of the rollers with each pass. You do not need to fold the dough on the thinner width passes. Continue rolling, decreasing the width, until you are on about the fifth widest setting of your pasta machine (for me this is a number five, but I know that some pasta machines count in the opposite direction).
Place the long strip of dough onto a floured surface, and lightly flour the top of the dough. Fold it lengthways into quarters, then using a sharp knife or dough roller, cut the dough lengthways into strips about the width of your thumb. Unfold each strip and place on a pasta drying rack or similar apparatus (in a pinch I have used a clean coat hanger hung on a drawer handle, or a metal clothes horse). Leave to dry while you repeat the process with the remaining dough.
Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Heat a large skillet or frying pan on another element. (if you do not have a large skillet, do this in two frying pans). Add 5-6 cups of ragu to the skillet, stirring frequently to heat. Add the pappardelle to the salted water, and cook for 4-5 minutes, or until al dente. (if you are using packet pasta, cook for 1 minute less than the specified cooking time). Using tongs, transfer the pasta to the skillet, reserving the pasta water. Add 1.5 cups of the pasta water to the skillet, and toss the pasta and the sauce together using the tongs, until the water has evaporated slightly and you are left with a thick, rich sauce.
Transfer to serving bowls and serve immediately topped with parmesan cheese.
This post was done as part of the #noodleholicsparty hosted by Lime and Cilantro! Check out the other bloggers participating and the dishes they created:
Pho Ga by Beyond Sweet and Savory
Vegetarian manchurian with stir fry noodles by Boxofspice
Indonesian boiled noodles (mie rebus) by Piquecooking
Malaysian Laksa with Pumpkin by Vermillionroots
Chestnut Tortellini & Fettuccine in Sage Cream Sauce by Cuococontento
Vegetarian Tteokbokki by husbandsthatcook
Shrimp Scampi with Tagliatelle by Regan Baroni
Juniper Berry & Barley Noodles with Creamy Chantarelles by North Wild Kitchen
Vegan Jjajangmyeon by the Korean Vegan
Duck Noodle Soup by Lindsaysfeast
Avocado pesto cream sauce with homemade fettuccine noodles by Lyndsey Eden
Homemade sobs noodles in a lapsang souchong broth with crispy tofu by Twiggstudios
Kuching Style Laksa by Passmethedimsum
Shanghai Scallion Oil Noodle (Cong You Ban Mian) by Omnivorescookbook
Oak-Smoked Pasta Cacio e Pepe by Harvest and Honey
Noodle in Burmese coconut and chicpea broth (Oh- no-khao-swe) by Lime and Cilantro
Aceh noodles (Mie Aceh) by Whattocooktoday
Persian Noodle (Reshteh) by Noghlemey