Daring Kitchen July - Homemade Pasta

I love Italian food and I especially love making pasta, so this challenge was perfect!  My only difficulty was deciding what to have with the pasta.  I decided to do a fusion of sorts with West Indian food and Italian food.  I must say that the merger was quite successful.

The dish I came up with was pappardelle with chives and a braised oxtail and porcini mushroom ragout.  I now know that oxtail need not only be served with rice (in my kitchen anyway LOL).

Blog-checking lines: Steph from Stephfood was our Daring Cooks' July hostess.  Steph challenged us to make homemade noodles without the help of a motorized pasta machine.  She provided us with recipes for Spätzle and Fresh Egg Pasta as well as a few delicious sauces to pair our noodles with!

A couple of years ago I bought a hand-crank pasta roller which was on sale and which I never used.   I actually took it out of the box for this challenge for the first time!  I have just gotten so used to my Kitchenaid for making pasta. However, I did do it all by hand this time - but I have to admit that I'll be going back to the automated rollers for next time...

This recipe makes two servings.

Day 1
Here's what you'll need for the oxtail
2 lbs of oxtail, rinsed and drained
2 cups of chopped cooked onion
3 large cloves of garlic, chopped
1/4 c tomato paste
1/2 bunch of fresh thyme (tied together for easier removal)
3 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons of salt
2 teaspoons of freshly ground black pepper
3/4 teaspoon of ground cloves
1 whole scotch bonnet or habanero pepper
2 Bay leaves

- Place all ingredients in a dutch oven with enough water to cover and bring to a boil over medium high heat
- Skim any foam that forms on the top
- Cover and put into a 350F oven for 3 hours - check it after 90 minutes though as it depends on how large your pieces of oxtail are
- Once finished cooking, allow to cool enough to handle the oxtail
- Remove the pieces from the sauce and remove the meat from the oxtails and reserve separately.  You can discard the bones or keep them for another use later.

Oxtail off the bone

- Reserve all the cooking liquid and refrigerate to make it easier to de-grease the sauce.
- Note:  Don't be afraid of the habanero/scotch bonnet pepper!   When they are put into the sauce whole they impart flavour and a tiny fraction of the heat they are capable of.

De-greased Sauce

Day 2 you'll need:
The reserved oxtail meat
1 cup of the reserved sauce (without the pepper and bay leaves), which has been de-greased
1/2 oz of dried porcini mushrooms

Pantry staple
 - Soak the mushrooms in enough hot water to cover them, for 30 minutes
- Reserve 1/4 cup of the soaking liquid
- In a medium skillet, add the oxtail meat, the reserved cooking liquid, the re hydrated mushrooms and mushroom soaking liquid
- Warm gently over medium heat until simmering slightly

For the pasta:
250 grams of flour (about 8 ounces) - a good blend is 1/2 '00' and half semolina, but all purpose works too
2 large eggs
- Make a well in the flour and break the eggs into the centre
- Beat the eggs and slowly incorporate the flour
- When the mixture is starting the thicken, using your hands, start to incorporate the flour from around the edges
- Knead the dough for about 8 minutes - until the dough is smooth and not sticking to your hands

My drying racks

Notes:  Rule of thumb for making pasta - 1 egg and 100 gm (3 oz) of flour per person; don't worry about all the flour being absorbed by the eggs - the eggs will absorb as much flour as necessary (from my experience); also, once the flour has been incorporated, you will have chunks of dough on your hands.  Wash this off - no point in try to incorporate these chunks into your nice smooth dough

- Cover the dough with plastic and let it rest in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.
- From here, follow the manufacturer's directions for rolling out your dough to the desired thickness
- I hand cut the dough for the pappardelle using a pizza cutter as I wanted a more rustic look

To finish the dish:
- In a medium skillet, melt 1 tablespoon of butter, 1 tablespoon of olive oil and add 3 tablespoons of chopped chives
- Cook the pasta for about 3 minutes, until al dente
- Using tongs, carefully take the pasta out of the water and put into the skillet with the butter mixture
- Toss gently with mixture for about one minute then plate with ragout.
-Note:  I added some diced, blanched yellow and orange carrots to the dish for a little colour and texture

This challenge was a long process, but glad to know that these flavours work well together - I'll be making it again - another recipe/method to add to my repertoire.   It turned out absolutely delicious - the fusion of the West Indian style oxtails and the porcini mushrooms with pasta was sublime. Thanks Steph for the opportunity to create this experiment!

It tasted as good as it looks!


  1. Oh my, your oxtails look wonderful! I made a braised dish as well, but I love that with this recipe you get to de-grease it! I've never cooked with oxtail before and I'm thinking I might just have to try it! And your pasta looks awesome!

  2. Thanks Melanie - it turned out so tasty! :-)

  3. WOW, what a great fusion of flavours!

  4. Congratulations, your pasta looks delicious! I'm going to put this recipe aside and pull it out again when the weather gets a little cooler.

  5. Thanks Garlic Press - I agree, great for the cooler months ;-)

  6. Yum! The oxtails look absolutely divine, great job!

  7. Great job on making pasta! It looks fantastic!

  8. My goodness! That pasta with oxtail stew looks fantastic! Lovely job all around!

  9. What a great idea for the sauce! You definitely don't have to have oxtail on rice - especially when it looks as good as this on pasta!

  10. I love the oxtails with the pasta--if it tasted half as good as it looks, it must have been amazing! I also need to get to the Swan at Carp--my mother lives near there but I've never been.