I mentioned in my last post that I’ve been doing a lot of whining lately. On the road towards positivity, I thought I’d spin that into a win-win, wine-themed post: a fall-apart tender, red wine-enhanced brisket ragu with cellentani (corkscrew) pasta, and a chance to win tickets to the NYC Wine and Food Festival! I’m feeling more upbeat already.
Click here for details on the Barilla® “Wine & Food Festival” Sweepstakes. The grand prize includes one night hotel accommodations for two in NYC and two tickets to attend the Grand Tasting event presented by ShopRite® on 10/18/14. Hurry – entry deadline is 9/27/14.
Now back to the brisket ragu – which can be made in a slow cooker or in a Dutch oven. It’s just as good, if not better, the next day or the next. A sprinkle of Italian parsley gives the dish a fresh taste and makes it more food-festival fancy, but if your kids fear the green stuff just top it with a bit more grated parmesan.
Good luck, and buon appetito!
Slow-cooker Brisket Ragu with Red Wine and Corkscrew Pasta
Makes 8 servings; good for leftovers
- Approx. 2.5 lbs brisket (1/2 of a whole brisket)
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- freshly groud black pepper
- 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large yellow onion, diced
- 2 large cloves garlic, minced
- 1 bay leaf (fresh, ideally)
- 1 stick of cinnamon (or 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon)
- ½ teaspoon oregano
- 1 cup marinara sauce
- 1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 cup red wine
- ½ cup grated parmesan or romano cheese, plus more for garnish
- ½ cup chopped Italian parsley for garnish (optional)
- 16 oz. cellentani, rotini or rigatoni pasta, cooked according to package directions for al dente
Trim most of fat cap from brisket and cut into 2” (approx. ) cubes.
Season with 2 teaspoons kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.
In a large Dutch oven or stovetop-safe slow-cooker pot over medium-high heat, heat 1-2 tablespoons olive oil and add brisket cubes in two batches (to ensure proper browning). Brown 2 sides of the meat before setting aside and repeating with the second batch.
After 2 sides of second batch have been browned, add onion and cook for 2 mintues until onions have softened.
Add 2 cloves minced garlic. Transfer mixture and remaining meat cubes to slow-cooker pot (if not in already). Then add bay leaf (if fresh, give it a twist to release the oils), one whole cinnamon stick (or a small 1/8 teaspoon pinch of ground), and ½ teaspoon oregano.
Add 1 cup marinara sauce, 1 can (14.5 oz.) diced tomatoes, and 1 tablespoon sugar. (You could also use 2 cups of tomato puree instead of the marinara and diced tomatoes.) Stir in 1 cup red wine.
Slow-cooker: Cover and cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours.
Dutch oven: Cover and cook in a 325F oven for 2-3 hours, or until meat can be flaked with a fork or wooden spoon.
Add parmesan (or romano for stronger flavor) cheese and cooked pasta. Then taste for seasoning. (Cheese acts like salt, but you may need a pinch more salt or sugar depending on the type of tomatoes you used.) Serve with additional parmesan and chopped parsley, if using.
IMPORTANT NOTICE: As a ShopRite POTLUCK blogger, I received Barilla products for free. This was my first time using cellentani (corksrew) pasta, and I really liked how well it held up in this dish. (And reheated the next day and the next day.)