Stracotto

A Tuscan family favourite: think the emotion of Bolognese on the familiarity scale, but with a whole new level of comfort. It's inspired by Nonna Miriam from Panzano, and this simple cooking process gives you what she calls a 'rich plate'--she likened it to the moment you know you've got a winning hand in poker. To serve, it's traditional to enjoy the rich sauce with freshly cooked tagliatelle as a primo, serving the rest of the sauce with the meat as a secondo, teamed with steamed greens, oozy polenta, mash or whatever you fancy!
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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 4 hr
  • Active: 30 min
  • Yield: 8 servings
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Ingredients

1-kilogram (2-pound) piece of higher-welfare beef chuck, sinew removed

Olive oil

2 red onions

2 carrots

2 cloves of garlic

2 sticks of celery

1 bulb of fennel

1/2 a bunch of fresh rosemary (15 grams [0.5 ounce])

1/2 a bunch of fresh sage (15 grams [0.5 ounce])

Sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper

250 milliliters (1 cup) Chianti red wine

2 tablespoons tomato puree

1 1/2 liters (1 1/2 quarts) organic meat or veg stock

Directions

  1. Place the meat in a fairly snug-fitting casserole pan on a medium-low heat with 2 tablespoons of oil, turning with tongs, while you peel the onions, carrots and garlic, trim the celery and fennel, then roughly chop it all to make a soffritto--it cooks low and slow so there's no need to be too precise. Stir into the pan, tie the rosemary and sage together and add, then season with sea salt and black pepper. Cook for 20 to 30 minutes, or until starting to caramelize, stirring the veg and turning the meat occasionally.
  2. Turn the heat up to high, pour in the wine, stir in the tomato puree, and let the wine cook away. Pour in the stock, bring to the boil, then place a double layer of scrunched-up wet parchment paper on the surface. Reduce to a low heat and cook for around 3 hours, or until the meat is meltingly tender, turning and basting occasionally. Season to perfection.
  3. Lift the meat out on to a board, carve it into thin slices, and spoon over enough of that incredible sauce to keep the meat nice and juicy. Toss the rest of the sauce (reduce on the stove, if needed) with freshly cooked tagliatelle, and finely grate over a little Parmesan, to serve. Double win.
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