Pasta al Brunelleschi (Beef with Red Wine Sauce)

“Life itself is the proper binge.” --Julia Child

The weather was sunny and bright and a lovely 72 degrees this weekend -- but, there was a wee bit of a chill in the air -- just enough to justify making a lovely, comforting dish like Beef with Red Wine Sauce.

I first started making this lovely, rich pasta dish over a decade ago, while working as a nanny.  It was pulled from a magazine, and if I remember correctly, there was a typo in the recipe, so it was way too peppery the first time. I've continued to tweak/make it year after year, to rave reviews. It's an easy, elegant dish and when Chris mentioned that I hadn't made it in quite a while (over a year!), I decided that this weekend was the perfect time to dust off my recipe box.

Pasta al Brunelleschi

  • 1.5 -2 lbs. beef chuck (stew meat) cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 cups full bodied red wine (Burgundy works well)
  • 1/2 tsp of cracked black pepper
  • 1 tsp kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 8 oz. can plain tomato sauce 
  • 2 14.5 oz. cans stewed tomatoes
  • 2 tsp dried rosemary or 3 fresh sprigs
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 cloves garlic (2 large, smashed and peeled, 2 minced/pressed)
  • 3/4- 1 lb. cooked rigatoni or penne
  • 1 TBS minced parsley
  • Fresh grated Parmesan cheese 

To Do:
1) Remove any excess fat and place meat in a large pot and add the wine, pepper, salt, sauce, tomatoes, rosemary, bay leaves and garlic. Stir gently.

Note: I didn't have stewed tomatoes, but I did have a 26.45 oz box of Pomi strained tomatoes, so I used those and skipped the 8 oz. of tomato sauce, which worked just fine.  If you're not a fan of pieces of tomato in your sauce, you should go this route all the time.  Otherwise, the stewed tomatoes are the way to go.

2) Cover and bring to simmer (don't boil) over medium heat.
3) Lower heat and simmer, partially covered, 2 hours, or until meat is tender when pierced with a fork and sauce has thickened a bit. It should take on a red/brown hue and coat the back of a spoon.

4) Remove bay leaves, rosemary sprigs (if using fresh), and the 2 smashed garlic cloves.
5) If you haven't already, cook the pasta, then drain (do not rinse) and add to sauce. Mix gently.

6) Cover and cook for a few minutes, stir once.
7) Add more salt and pepper to taste and sprinkle with parsley and Parmesan before serving.

It turned out great (and the house smelled terrific).  Serve with a glass or two of red wine, some fresh-baked crusty bread and a salad of late summer veggies and fresh mozzarella, and dinner is done!