I can't help but continue in the comfort theme with all this cold weather around. This recipe is for everyone out there who is surrounded by snow....this is guaranteed to warm you up and make you happy to be tucked up indoors!
1-2 tbsp olive oil
3 rashers of streaky bacon, cut or snipped into small pieces
1 onion, finely chopped
2 stalks of celery, finely chopped
2 carrots, peeled & sliced at an angle
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
750g stewing beef
2 tbsp flour
150ml red wine
500ml beef stock
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp brown sugar
2 bay leaves
125ml barbecue sauce
Salt & pepper
2 tbsp parsley, finely chopped
Pre-heat the oven to 350F/ 180C.
In a large pan or casserole dish heat 1 tbsp of the oil then add the bacon pieces and cook until starting to turn crispy. If there is a lot of fat remove some of it from the pan then add the onion, celery and carrot. Cook for roughly 7 minutes until the onion and celery have softened then add the garlic and cook for a further minute.
While the vegetables are softening put the beef into a large freezer bag and sprinkle over the flour, along with a little salt and pepper. Seal the bag and shake it well so all the pieces of meat are evenly covered in the flour.
Remove the vegetables from the pan and set aside. If you need to, add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the pan then cook the meat (in batches if need be) until it is browned on all sides. Push the meat to the side of the pan then add the red wine and de-glaze the pan (in other words, scrape up all of the lovely, sticky brown parts that are on the bottom). Mix the wine and beef together and then let the wine simmer and reduce a little before adding the vegetables back to the pan, then add the beef stock, balsamic vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, sugar, bay leaves, barbecue sauce, salt and pepper. Bring to a gentle simmer then put in the oven for roughly 2 hours until the meat is tender.
While the stew is cooking, if you are making fresh pasta you can do it now, if not now's the time to relax by the fire!
Remove the stew from the oven and taste to check the seasoning. Discard the bay leaves and just before serving sprinkle over the fresh parsley. Serve at once with fresh pasta or some mashed potatoes.
4 large eggs
½ tsp salt
1 tbsp olive oil (optional)
There are two ways to make pasta....the traditional way using nothing but your hands and a flat work surface, and the modern way using the wonders of kitchen appliances to cut down on your own labour! I have to admit since I now have the appliances I feel it would be wrong not to put them to use so I opt for the easier and faster way. (Although in the past I have made pasta plenty of times using the traditional method).
Whatever way you choose, start by sifting the floor (either onto your work surface, or into the bowl of your processor). Make a well in the centre and crack in the whole eggs, then add the salt and oil if using. If taking the easy option, turn the machine on and pulse until you have a resemblance to bread crumbs. Transfer onto a work surface and knead until it comes together and you have a smooth dough.
If you are sticking to the traditional method, using a fork beat the eggs with the salt and oil until mixed then slowly start incorporating the flour into the egg mixture. Continue to do so until it is too tough to use a fork. At this point gather it all together and knead for a good 5-7 minutes. If the pasta is a little too dry and firm add a splash of olive oil or water (no more than 1 tbsp) so that you have a smooth dough.
Wrap the dough in clingfilm (plastic wrap), and put in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
When you are ready to make the pasta, unwrap the dough then cut it into 4 pieces so that you have manageable pieces to work with. Sprinkle some flour onto your work surface and rolling pin then give the dough another quick knead before rolling it out slightly. You can either use a rolling pin to roll it out completely, or a pasta maker. If using a pasta maker follow the instructions given, until you have perfect sheets of pasta.
Once the pasta has been rolled out to your desired thickness you can then cut and shape it and use as needed. For this recipe I use my cutter to make linguine. You can make whatever long pasta you like but I do recommend a thicker pasta (plus it's easier to cut, especially if you don't have the cutter attachment). Once the pasta has been cut you can either lay it flat on a large tray or baking sheet lined with kitchen paper and dusted with flour or alternatively you can make little 'nests' of pasta, just make sure it is well floured so you don't end up with one big clump of pasta! Set aside until you are ready to use.
To cook the pasta, bring a large pan of salted water to a boil then place the pasta in and cook for no more than 3-4 minutes. Drain and serve with your choice of sauce and enjoy!