This is exactly the type of recipe I love because it is best made the day before and requires just a little time assembling the ingredients in a pot – and then the pot goes in the oven for four hours. My Chianti Beef is based on a classic Italian recipe, usually requiring beef chuck stew meat. My People like brisket, so I use brisket. I prefer the smaller bits of shredded beef in the savory tomato sauce. So delicious. So thick. So easy. I also veer a bit off the traditional path serving the sauce tossed with big rigatoni, instead of the usual pappardelle – but use any pasta you prefer. (Special equipment: you will need a large heavy oven-proof pot with a tight-fitting lid.) You may want to buy two bottles of Chianti – one for the recipe, and another to drink with the Chianti Beef!
Extra virgin olive oil
1 large yellow onion, minced
4-6 cloves garlic, minced
1 carrot, peeled and minced
2 stalks celery, minced
One 15 ounce can tomato sauce
One 6 ounce can tomato paste
1 bottle good quality Italian Chianti wine
1 Tablespoon rosemary leaves, minced
Large handful fresh basil leaves, minced
Large handful fresh flat-leaf parsley, minced
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
2½ pound center-cut beef brisket (trimmed of fat)
One pound rigatoni, pappardelle or other pasta, cooked according to package directions or until al dente.
Optional garnish suggestions:
fresh basil chiffonade and/or freshly grated parmesan cheese
Heat oven to 300°.
Heat a large oven-proof 5 quart Dutch oven (with a tight-fitting lid) over a medium heat on the stove. Coat the bottom with a layer of olive oil. Add the onion and saute until soft, about five minutes and then add the garlic, carrot and celery and saute for another few minutes. Stir in the tomato sauce and tomato paste. Remove from heat, then add the wine, rosemary, basil, parsley, one bay leaf, salt and pepper. Stir well, then place the whole brisket into the pot, pushing it down into the pot until it is well-covered with the sauce. Bake, covered, for four hours at 300°.
Remove the pot from the oven. Carefully remove the brisket to a cutting board and let rest for about thirty minutes. Slice the brisket length-wise into four strips and use two forks to shred the meat. Remove and discard the bay leaf. Return the shredded beef back into the sauce and stir well.
Toss with hot pasta and serve. Garnish with fresh basil and/or shredded parmesan cheese.
OPTIONAL DO-AHEAD: After shredding the beef and returning it to the sauce, cover, and refrigerate over-night, or up to two days. Reheat on the stove and serve tossed with hot pasta.
Serves 6 to 8.