Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Pappardelle with Venison Ragu

This is a take on a dish that you would find in northern Italy (Piemonte or Friuli). It has tremendous complexity of flavor that is just delicious. I like to have this pasta with a nice glass of Barolo. If your wallet isn't big enough for a Barolo, I don't mind substituting a Malbec.

TT = to taste

For Pasta:
3 1/2 cups, Semolina Flour
1 1/4 cups, water
1T Sea salt, fine
3T extra virgin olive oil

For ragu:
2T Olive Oil, butter, or rendered animal fat
2 1/2# Venison Roast
2 onions, diced
5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
5 cloves
dash of grated nutmeg
dash of grated cinnamon
3 sprigs thyme
2 sprigs rosemary
3 cups red wine
2 cups venison, beef, or veal stock
2 Parmigiano reggiano cheese rinds (2"x2" each)
2-3 oz good dark chocolate,
1/2 of a ripe pear, peeled & thinly sliced (wait to do this until you need it)
TT salt
TT pepper
TT grated parmigiano reggiano, for garnish

Heat olive oil in dutch oven over high heat
Season venison roast with salt and pepper
Once oil is smoking add the venison and sear all over, should have a nice dark brown crust
remove venison from dutch oven and lower heat to med-low
add onions, garlic, cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, rosemary & thyme
saute until onions have softened
add the venison back to the dutch oven
add wine, stock & cheese rinds and bring up to a boil.
cover and simmer on stove top over low heat or place in 300F oven for 5 hours
you should rotate meat every so often to ensure even cooking
while meat is cooking, make the pasta
combine all ingredients for pasta together
knead for a few minutes, then wrap in plastic and set aside for half hour
unwrap dough and cut into 4 pieces
wrap pieces not being used so they don't get dried out
Using a manual pasta roller, start on largest setting - #1
knead pasta through machine ten times
then roll out 3 times on largest setting - #1
then drop down 2 settings to #3, and run through 3 times
then drop down 2 more to second thinnest setting - #5
run through #5 one time, use flour as needed when rolling through the pasta machine, but try not to add too much or dough will get dry
take finished pasta sheet and cut with fluted pastry cutter or a knife into strips 1"x8"
place on parchment lined sheet tray dusted with flour
repeat process with remaining dough
After the 5 hours of cooking if cooking in oven, remove the dutch oven and put back on stove top.
uncover and remove the venison, & begin reducing the liquid uncovered
skim any fat from the liquid
cut venison into bite size pieces
add venison back to dutch oven and continue reducing liquid uncovered until almost fully absorbed and ragu becomes nice and thick
bring 6qts of water to a boil
once boiling, add 2T of sea salt
drop pasta into boiling water in batches
turn the heat off the ragu and add the sliced pear & the chocolate and stir together
taste for seasoning
scoop a little of the ragu into a large non stick pan and heat over low
once all pasta begins to float remove from water and add to non stick pan with the ragu and toss together
repeat with remaining pasta until it is all cooked off adding more ragu as needed
add a little bit of pasta water to non stick as needed if ragu becomes too thick
transfer finished product to serving plates and garish with some grated parmigiano reggiano
serve immediately

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