Anna Maria's Ziti Alla Genovese
Make this pasta with stewed beef from Pasta Grannies: Comfort Cooking
- For the pasta
- 400g ziti or other dry pasta such as penne, paccheri, rigatoni
- For the sauce
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- 600g stewing beef, cut into 5 cm chunks
- 1kg or 4 large red onions, thinly sliced
- 1 carrot, thinly sliced
- 1 celery stick, thinly sliced
- 1 bay leaf
- 100ml dry white wine
- Water or beef stock, as required
- To Serve
- Grated pecorino
- Black pepper
Pour a slug of olive oil into a large casserole dish (in the old days it would have been earthenware, which is better for a gentle braise). Heat this over a medium heat for a couple of minutes then start browning the beef a few pieces at a time.
Once all the beef pieces have a bit of colour, return them to the pan along with the vegetables. Season with salt, drop in the bay leaf, give everything a good stir and pour in the wine. Cover and braise the vegetables and meat for about three hours. Check the mixture regularly and if it starts to stick, add a little water or beef stock. What you are aiming for is a creamy onion sauce, and beef so soft you can cut it with a fork. Shred the meat if you like, or alternatively remove it to serve as a second course.
Ziti are long, so break them in half. Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil and cook the pasta for the time stated on the packet.
Drain the pasta thoroughly. Place it in a large bowl and mix it well with the onion and beef sauce. Let everyone add their own cheese and pepper if they like it.
Note: No-one knows why a pasta dish from Naples is named after the city of Genova. There are lots of theories; for example, there were lots of Genovese chefs working in Naples in the 15th century.
Pasta Grannies: Comfort Cooking by Vicky Bennison (Hardie Grant, £22) Photography: Lizzie Mayson