Every time I see a recipe with pappardelle, I instantly want to try it. This pappardelle with beef and mushroom ragu recipe from Real Simple was no exception. The problem was, and the problem with pappardelle recipes always is, I could not find pappardelle in the store. Come to think of it, I don’t think I have seen pappardelle sold at the grocery store. Ever. Fortunately, the recipe says you can substitute with fettucini, so I got the fattest fettucini I could find.
- beef: the original recipe called for 1 pound of chuck. When I went to the store, I couldn’t find just one pound of chuck. I could find three pounds of chuck. Or I could find one pound of other meat that was more expensive than chuck. I decided I would buy the three pounds of the cheaper meat. When I got home, I cut about a third of it off and cubed that to get my pound of flesh. (The rest would go into a 2 lb roast the next day.) I put that into my dutch oven and sauteed the meat. Once it was browned, I removed it to a separate plate.
- veggies: I followed the rest of the recipe pretty closely here. I chopped 1 large onion, 4 cloves of garlic, and 2 carrots. I sauteed those until the onions started getting clear.
- tomato paste: I put in the 1T of tomato paste that the original recipe called for. And I stirred and sauteed the paste until it made the vegetables all pasty and red-brown. I watched an episode of Secrets of a Restaurant Chef where she emphasized how important it was to cook the veggies and tomato paste. If you don’t, Italians will criticize the sauce for tasting raw, apparently.
- canned tomatoes: I put a 15 oz can of canned tomatoes and the juice into the dutch oven, just like the recipe said. I also put the beef back into the pot.
- water: At that point, the recipe called for 2 cups of chicken broth. I forgot to buy chicken broth at the store. I thought about substituting with white wine or red wine. But then I remembered that this was going to go on pasta. And the last time I put red wine into a pasta sauce, it made the noodles purple in an unappetizing way. Besides, the idea of chicken broth was confusing. I mean, this was a beef ragu.
- time: at that point, I needed to set the sauce to a simmer and cover for 60 to 75 minutes.
- mushrooms: the last step was to add quartered mushrooms to the pot and simmer for another ten minutes or so.