By Chef Jason Miller, Corporate Chef of Balducci's. From "What's In Season" in our Winter Holiday 2015 Issue. Sponsored by Balducci's.
2 to 3 dinner portions or 4 to 6 appetizer portions Rich, savory, lavish—this pasta dish by Balducci Corporate Chef Jason Miller is beyond hearty. There are several steps, but most things can be done ahead for easy assembly before a dinner party. Oxtail needs a lot of time slow cooking to unleash its wonders. Truly a stunning pasta dish, your guests will thank you.
Step One: Preparing the Oxtails 2 tablespoons Balducci’s extra-virgin olive oil 2 pounds oxtails sliced 2 inches thick (ask your butcher) 1 cup large-diced mirepoix* 1 cup Balducci’s Private Label Malbec 1 quart beef or veal stock Salt and pepper
Prep time: 4 hours. Cook time: 10 minutes. Season oxtails on all sides with salt and pepper. Heat heavy-bottom sauté pan over high heat, and sear oxtails on all sides until brown. Remove oxtails, add your diced mirepoix and sauté until caramelized, about 3 minutes. Deglaze pan with the red wine and bring to a simmer. Add veal stock and bring to a simmer. Add oxtails and braising liquid into a CrockPot or Dutch oven and cook on low (CrockPot) or 325° (Dutch oven), for about 4 hours, until meat falls off the bone.
When finished, remove oxtail meat from bone and reserve for pasta dish, and strain the braising liquid and reserve for pasta dish.
To Assemble the Pasta Dish 2 tablespoons Balducci’s extra-virgin olive oil 1 cup small-diced mirepoix* 3 cloves garlic diced 2 cups mixed fresh mushrooms 1 cup butternut squash, medium diced, roasted 1 cup roasted tomatoes 1 pound braised oxtail meat (above) 1 cup braising liquid (above) 3 tablespoons chopped parsley 2 tablespoons butter (cold) 2 ounces baby arugula Salt and pepper, to taste 1 pack Balducci’s Private Label Fresh Lasagna Sheets, cut into pappardelle about ½ inch wide 1 ounce shaved Balducci’s Parmesan
Put heavy-bottom pot or pasta cooker on stove over high heat to cook pasta; be sure to season the water heavily with salt.
Heat large sauté pan over medium-high heat, add the olive oil and sauté the mirepoix and garlic for 1 minute, then add mixed mushrooms and ½ the cold butter and sauté for roughly 2 minutes, being careful not to burn or overcook the mushrooms.
Add the tomatoes, roasted butternut squash, braised oxtail meat and braising liquid and bring to a quick boil. Remove from heat and add the fresh parsley, arugula and the remaining cold butter. Toss gently, seasoning with salt and pepper, reserve warm. To cook pasta: Add pasta to boiling salted water, cook about 2 minutes or until desired tenderness, remove from water and add to oxtail mixture in the sauté pan, toss gently and serve in a pasta bowl, garnishing with Parmesan cheese.
NOTE: To roast butternut squash: In mixing bowl, toss squash with a dash of extra-virgin olive oil, salt and pepper. Lay out on roasting pan and cook in oven at 350° for about 10–12 minutes, until tender but not mush.
* Mirepoix is a chopped vegetable mixture of onions, carrots and celery. Traditionally it is 2 parts onions, 1 part carrots and 1 part celery.
Chef Jason got his start in the kitchen at 13 working as a dishwasher. His rapid rise through the ranks to line cook were signs of more good things to come. Today, as Balducci’s Corporate Executive Chef, he oversees culinary operations for the brand, including: menu development, food safety, research and development and product sourcing. When he’s not cooking, you’re likely to find him hunting, fishing, kayaking or otherwise enjoying the great outdoors.