Monday, 22 August 2016

Linguine with Beef Rib in Red Wine Sauce

It's been 10 months since I last posted! During that time, I have completed my teaching induction year, gained a whole load of experience, not seen my family as much as I should have and reverted to same old, same old, boring meals. Mother's guilt - doing it all and feeling not particularly good at any of it. Still, my students have made progress, my family still love me and we've had a wonderful, chilled-out summer break.

Today I defrosted a pack of beef ribs which had been lurking in the freezer for a few months. In 2002 my then boyfriend booked a trip to Tuscany as a Valentine's gift. All of my friends were convinced he would propose (he didn't, even when we were on a bridge in Florence!). What sticks in my mind is the meal that our hosts cooked for us on the first night - pappardelle with hare. The sauce had been cooked in red wine for several hours and was just sublime.

I would have liked pappardelle with this dish, but one look at the queues into the shopping centre were enough to convince me that linguine would be fine. The beef rib is cooked in a slow-cooker and falls apart in a meltingly delicious way. I was worried that the chilli kick would be too much for the children, but on tasting the sauce they opted for it over yesterday's rather failed sweet and sour chicken. Even though the notoriously fussy little one had declared it his "favourite dish ever".

The beef is cooked in a slow-cooker but would be fine in a covered pan in an oven at around 120 degrees. If you aren't fond of heat, leave the chilli out.


  • 2 beef ribs, approx. 500g
  • 1 carrot
  • 3 shallots
  • 1-2 sticks of celery
  • 80ml red wine
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 tsp dried mixed herbs
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 red chilli
  • Ground black pepper to season
  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • Drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
  • 350-400g linguine pasta (or use tagliatelle or pappardelle)
Serves 3-4

  • Dry the beef ribs on kitchen towels and season with black pepper
  • Peel the shallots, cut into half and then slice into semi-circles
  • Peel the carrot and dice finely and dice the celery. Using a sharp knife, perforate the skin of the chilli once or twice so that it doesn't inflate and explode during cooking
  • In a bowl, mix the red wine, tomato puree and dried mixed herbs
  • Heat 1 tbsp vegetable oil in a pan until very hot. Add the beef ribs, browning well on all sides. Remove from the pan and place into the slow cooker
  • Add the wine/puree/herb mixture and the chilli to the slow cooker and cook on low for 4 1/2 hours
Browned ribs with wine mixture in the slow cooker

  • Heat the beef fat left in the pan gently and add the garlic. Bubble the garlic in the pan for a minute, taking care not to let it catch and burn
  • Add the shallots to the pan, increase the heat to medium and stir for 1 minute to coat and soften
  • Add the celery and carrots to the pan and stir for 2 minutes
  • Add the vegetable mixture to the slow-cooker, cover and continue to heat on slow for a further 1 1/2 hours
Adding the vegetables to the slow cooker

  • When the sauce is ready, remove the chilli and the ribs. Discard the chilli and the bones and shred the meat with a fork, removing any tough or sinewy bits
  • Return the meat to the slow-cooker and mix well
The finished sauce - just add the pasta and a bit of extra virgin olive oil!

  • Cook 75-100g per person of linguine, according to pack instructions. When al dente, drain the pasta in a colander. Return to the pan, add the sauce and 1 tsp of extra virgin olive oil and mix well
  • Serve immediately on warmed plates

Linguine with Beef Rib in Red Wine Sauce

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