Braised Oxtail Ravioli w/ Gremolata
Things have been absolutely bonkers at work so I'm afraid I'll have to keep this very short before I keel over into a state of a coma!
Last weekend I asked my very handy dad to come over and replace a broken faucet in the kitchen since J and I are so very unhandy. Don't get me wrong- I'm not helpless with tools but after one look at the 14 step installation drawings (what's with manufacturers not providing written instructions these days???) I figured I'd better call Papa since I didn't want to flood my kitchen.
Braised oxtail....doesn't look like much but it's delicious!
As a big THANK YOU I invited him and my mom over for dinner that night. It's always a challenge to figure out what I'll make for guests since I literally have a thousand recipes calling out to me "Please try me! You said you'd make me one day!" As much as I love a dish, I always seem to pluck a new recipe from the pile when it comes to cooking for more than just J and me. Of course the many food blogs that I peruse are a constant distraction from the recipes in my cookbooks and magazines, and of course that is where I found my latest project: braised oxtail ravioli. It's a dish that, if I ever spy on a menu at a restaurant, I must order, but I'd never attempted to make it myself. Actually, although I've made handmade pasta several times, I'd never attempted any ravioli.
The oxtail "filling" was a breeze to make, and the smell of beef, wine and veggies stewing in the oven filled the house on that cool Friday evening. After it all had cooled, I picked out the meat "cylinders" from between the layers of gelatinous tissue which makes up most of an oxtail. That part was a bit time consuming but nibbling on some of the meaty bits made the time go by faster. The meat was then combined with the veggies they were braised with to make the filling, and the cooking liquid was reserved to sauce the ravioli.
I decided to use Mario Batali's recipe for fresh egg pasta since I'd always used Thomas Keller's but wanted to try something new. Mario's is similar except that it calls for no oil or water- just eggs and flour. It came together quickly and took a bit of muscle to knead for ten minutes. After a nap in the fridge overnight, I started the process of rolling it out and making the ravioli. The dough was as smooth as silk and very easy to work with. I had originally wanted to use my small, round ravioli cutter that I'd just bought but found that it made for tiny ravioli containing little filling. So, I went ahead and cut them by hand.
About ten minutes before we sat down for dinner, I just dropped the ravioli in boiling water and heated up the braising liquid which had already reduced nicely. I tossed those together, then added the gremolata that the recipe called for- initially I wasn't sure how the lemon and garlic would play against the oxtail, but it was fantastic. Absolutely gorgeous! The grated parmesan I finished the dish with was just the icing on the cake.
I would absolutely make this dish again, next time being a bit more careful to push out all of the air pockets in each ravioli. It seems quite labor-intensive, but if you make the oxtail a day or two beforehand, it isn't that difficult and the flavors will probably improve.
Thanks to stonesoup for the inspiration!