Italian Pot Roast

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1 stick cinnamon

3 all spice berries

4 whole cloves

8 peppercorns

Combine spices in blender and process until a fine powder – set aside.

3 # outside round, or other less tender cut of beef

olive oil

salt and pepper

3 carrots, sliced

3 stalks celery, sliced

1 onion, diced

4 garlic cloves

28 oz can of tomatoes

1 cup of good red wine (make sure it is one you would like to drink!)

While oil is heating in fry pan, season beef with salt and pepper – brown all sides in fry pan and place in slow cooker. (you can also use a good braising pan to do this in the oven)

In the same fry pan, saute onions until tender.  Add the rest of the vegetables and saute until just starting to carmelize.  Add the spice mixture, stir well until all the vegetables are coated and cook for a few minutes.  Add the red wine and cook until it has reduced about 1/3.  Add tomatoes, and salt to taste.

Pour sauce over meat.  In a slow cooker this will take about 8 hours, but if you are using a braising method it will take 3-4 hours (keep tasting for flavour and tenderness).  The meat should be fork tender.

The sauce is quite thick so if you are using a braising method, you may need to add a bit more cooking liquid as it cooks, eg a good beef stock.

When cooked, and your beef is falling apart tender, shred with 2 forks and stir in with the sauce.  I love to serve with hand made pasta – in which case I remove the sauce from the cooking pot and add to a sauce pan.  As soon as my pasta is cooked I turn it into the pan to allow it to be fully seasoned by the yummy flavours.  Turn into serving platter and pile your shredded beef on top.

Not only will your house smell fantastic while this is cooking you will be rewarded with a fantastic dinner.

Pasta

Hand making your own pasta is a labour of love …. and tastes simply divine!

It helps if  you have pint size helper around….                  

1 cup all purpose flour

2 cups 00 flour

3 eggs

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

7 tbsp COLD water

Pulse the flour in a food processor a few times, to give it a little air, and fluff it up a bit.

In a measuring bowl combine eggs, oil and water – beating lightly.

Slowly pour the wet mixture into the food processor, while the flour is being aerated.  The mixture will form a ball, attached to the blade.  If this doesn’t happen, and the dough is wet and sticky, just add bits of flour until it does.  If the dough is too dry, just add water, 1 tbsp at a time until it forms a ball and holds on to the blade.

Turn onto floured surface and knead for a minute by hand.  The dough should feel soft, smooth and just a bit stretchy.  It is important to let it rest before shaping your pasta.  Wrap tightly in plastic wrap.   If using within a few hours, just let it rest at room temperature.  The dough is good in the fridge for a couple of days, and can be frozen for up to a month or so – allow to defrost in the fridge then bring to room temperature.

When ready to roll, cut your dough into 6 pieces to make it easy to work with.  Keep the pieces you aren’t using either in plastic wrap or in a floured tea towel.  Working with 1 piece at a time, flour well, and roll through your pasta press at the largest setting.  Once you have worked it down a couple of settings fold in triple, and return to a large setting to run it through again.  This seems to knead the dough that little extra bit and makes it so tender.  Continue putting through your roller until you end up on about (on mine anyway) setting 3.  This works well for putting through the shaper to make spaghetti, linguine etc.  Make sure to flour well before putting through press – adding flour as necessary to make your dough easy to handle.

If you don’t have a pasta press you probably aren’t going to the trouble of hand making pasta … but if you are …. just use a rolling pin or wine bottle, whatever you have on hand and roll the dough until thin enough and cut into strips.  Really not hard!

Keep all the prepared pasta covered on a floured tea towel until ready to use.  Or if you have one of these handy drying racks you can put it to use – I used to have wooden spoons strung out all over the kitchen before I got this gadget from Hayley, Mike and Sloan.

 

Bring LOTS of water to a boil, then add 2 generous TBSP salt.  Stir in fresh pasta and cook pretty much just until it rises to the top – taste …

To serve, have your pasta sauce simmering away in a saucepan beside the pasta pot and gradually add the pasta to it – adding pasta water as necessary.  Stir the pasta through the sauce, taste and season as necessary with salt and pepper.  Finish with a grating of fresh cheese.

This is enough pasta to serve 6-8 people.

Here it is served my Italian Pot Roast …. look for that yummy recipe too!