Tonight I tried out Corsican Beef Stew with Macaroni from page 146 of World Cook’s Collection – Mediterranean Kitchen. Just delightful. And here I present to you, my dear reader, my modified take (which turned out marvelously by the way):
3 tbsp olive oil
1/4 lb bacon
2lb stewing beef, cut into ~2″ cubes
2 onions, sliced
6 garlic cloves, crushed
1 1/4 cups dry white wine
2 tbsp tomato sauce
pinch of ground cinnamon
1 tsp dried rosemary
1 bay leaf
1lb box rigatoni pasta
(freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano)
For starters*, heat the oil in a heavy pan. Add the bacon, and cook for ~3 minutes. You don’t want it to start crisping. Either remove the bacon from the pan temporarily, or move to the side. Season the meat with salt and crushed black pepper. Add about half of the beef and brown, remove, and then add remaining beef and once again, brown. Transfer all the meat to a plate, leaving fat/oil.
Add the sliced onion to the pan and cook until beginning to brown. To the onions add the crushed garlic and meat. Slowly stir in the wine, tomato sauce, cinnamon, rosemary and bay leaf, seasoning with salt and crushed black pepper. With a slow simmer, cook for 30 minutes stirring regularly. This smells so wonderful!
At this point, you should either be using a medium stew pot, or pull out a crock pot. I had to leave to go for a physical in the middle of cooking, so I turned to the crock-pot. I normally would have just used the stew pot…but I digress.
Transfer contents to crock-pot, if necessary. Fill cooking vessel with enough additional water to cover. Bring this to a boil, then cover and simmer on low for 3 hours. The meat will be tender.
About 15 minutes before those three hours are up, its time to start boiling enough water (salt and olive oil in the water as you prefer) to cook your pasta. Once to a boil, add the pasta and cook for ten minutes (al dente). At this point you can serve as is, or you can do as I did…spoon the meat into a serving platter (on one side), then layer noodles, cheese, and sauce next to that.
Serve with bread and drink of your choice. Recipe says it serves 4. I can’t verify that, as my children staunchly refused to try it (they have this thing about beef stew that I hoped to overcome; quite irrational). I do know it served 2 with plenty of leftovers.
* Note: Lest this post seem to present the recipe in the book, let me be clear that I have left out a major step and ingredient, among other changes. The real recipe calls for “soak[ing] the [1 oz cepes or porcini] dried mushrooms in warm water for 30 minutes. Drain, set the mushrooms aside and reserve the liquid.” before you begin cooking the meat. The strained mushroom-water will be added to the pot when (or even in place of) adding the water to cover in my version. Mushrooms will have been added to pot with the spices.
As well, preparation of the meat called for slivering 3 of the cloves and inserting into slots cut into the meat. I did this to 4 pieces of meat before giving up entirely on this approach. Other changes are minor and mostly reflect my own idiosyncrasies. Enjoy!