It may take more effort than a staple spag bol, but this slowcooked brisket is well worth it
1kg rolled beef brisket 2 tbsp olive oil 50g unsalted butter 200g smoked pancetta, finely chopped 1 onion, finely chopped 2 carrots, finely chopped 2 celery sticks, finely chopped 3 tbsp tomato purée 1 tbsp mixed spice 500ml red wine 500ml milk 2 dried bay leaves 2 sprigs rosemary to serve 500g dried tagliatelle 75ml extra virgin olive oil Small handful parsley, roughly chopped 100g parmesan, finely grated
1 Preheat oven to 200C/Fan 180C/400F. Put the brisket into a small roasting dish and roast for an hour. Remove and allow the brisket to cool. Cut into small chunks.
2 Meanwhile heat the oil and butter in a large saucepan or casserole over a medium heat. Add the pancetta and cook, stirring occasionally, until the fat renders down and the pancetta is slightly crispy. Add the onion, carrots and celery, stir to coat, then cook very slowly until soft – a good 20 mins at least, stirring every so often.
3 Once the veg are soft, increase the heat to high and stir in the tomato purée and mixed spice just for a minute or two, then add the wine, milk and herbs. Add the chopped brisket, bring to the boil, then reduce to a very low simmer and cook, partially covered with a lid, for 3 hours. Give the pan a stir every so often to ensure the bottom isn’t catching.
4 When the ragu is ready – it will be thick and the meat will be oh so tender – season to taste. Cook the pasta in salted water. Reserve 100ml of the pasta cooking water, then drain. Add the pasta to the ragu pan along with the reserved water, olive oil and parsley. Stir well to mix. Serve with a scattering of parmesan.
Recipe from Comfort by John Whaite (Kyle Books). Photography: Nassima Rothacker