Nettle quadretti with braised beef cheek, baby carrots and reggiano
The ragu can be made a day ahead. It will taste better if served the day after it is cooked and will last in the fridge for three days.
Photo: Eddie Jim
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- For the pasta:
- 100g flour
- 100g semolina
- 50g stinging nettles
- 5ml extra-virgin olive oil
- For the beef cheek ragu:
- 2 beef cheeks
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1 carrot, diced
- 1 celery stalk, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, diced
- 1 clove, crushed
- 1 bay leaf
- 50ml white wine
- 50ml port
- Enough veal stock to cover (about 1- 2 litres)
- For carrots:
- 6 baby carrots (peeled)
- 1tsp butter
- salt and pepper to taste
- water to cover
- parmesan cheese to taste
- generous handful of chopped parsley
- grated reggiano to garnish
To make ragu:
Preheat oven to 140 degrees. Clean cheeks, removing excess sinew, and seal in a pan over medium-high heat. Transfer to braising tray.
Sweat onion, carrot, celery, garlic, bay leaf and clove in pan, then deglaze with white wine. Add port and reduce slightly.
Pour veal stock over beef cheeks in braising dish (enough to cover them) then bring to boil on stove. Add vegetable, herb and wine reduction, season with salt and pepper to taste and then cover with foil.
Braise in oven at 140 degrees for about 4-5 hours, checking every 90 minutes. Once beef cheek shreds easily with a fork, it is ready.
Allow to cool slightly then shred. Place ragu in fridge until needed.
To make pasta:
Pick stinging nettle leaves off stems - make sure you wear gloves. Wash the leaves well in water, then blanch them in boiling water for about 2 minutes. Drain water, and refresh nettle leaves in ice-water. Once cooled, squeeze out excess water well, and chop finely by hand.
Once chopped, mix with eggs and add olive oil.
Combine flour and semolina in a large bowl and add a pinch of sea salt. Create a small well in the centre of the bowl and add egg and nettle mix. Mix well until combined and knead for a couple minutes until mixture binds together to form a smooth dough.
Rest the dough for approximately half an hour, then roll through a pasta roller until about 1mm thick.
Cut into squares about 3 x 3cm.
To make carrots:
Cover carrots with water in a pot and add a pinch of salt. Bring to boil and cook for five minutes or until tender.
Once cooked, remove from pot. Strain leftover cooking liquid, add butter to strained liquid and reduce until thick and syrupy (it will have a slight caramel colour).
Cut carrots into small bite-sized pieces, and cover with reduced cooking liquid.
Warm braised beef cheek in pan with its braising liquid. Cook quadretti, ensuring all pieces are loose in boiling water until al dente (approx. 2-3 minutes)
Once quadretti is cooked, add to pan of ragu. Add baby carrots, parmesan, and parsley, and season to taste. Toss over heat until sauce thickens slightly.
Divide among pasta bowls and grate reggiano over the top.