Whoa! This is a mamma of a dish, not for light eaters or those on diets. It’s perfect to serve to a crowd because it can be stretched to feed a few more mouths quite easily. There’ll be more brisket than you need to go with the pasta, but it’ll happily transform into other dishes.
2 Tbsp olive oil 1.25 kg (2½ lb) piece of brisket, at room temperature 1 Tbsp creamy Dijonnaise mustard 125g (4-5 oz) dry-cured bacon, roughly chopped 2 carrots, cut into chunks 2 sticks celery, cut into large chunks 1 large onion, cut into large chunks 1½ Tbsp red wine vinegar 2-3 anchovies in oil 1 cup full bodied red wine 1 cup skinned, roughly chopped tomatoes 1 Tbsp tomato concentrate 2 fresh bay leaves, large sprig of thyme and 1 small stem rosemary tied together Pared rind of 1 lemon 2 cups beef stock 200g (7 oz) lumache (pictured) or tubular pasta Small piece pecorino for shaving over pasta Small stem of parsley, torn into sprigs
1 Preheat oven to 130°C (250°F). Pat meat dry. Heat oil in a heavy based casserole that will accommodate the meat in one piece. When oil is hot, season beef with pepper. Brown brisket fatty side down for 3-4 minutes. Transfer to a side plate, season with salt and smear browned side with mustard.
2 Add bacon, carrots, celery and onion to casserole. Cover, lower heat and cook for 10 minutes until soft. Pour in vinegar. Increase heat, then bubble up for 2-3 minutes. Mash anchovies with a fork. Add red wine and anchovies to casserole and stir to dissolve anchovies. Add tomatoes, tomato concentrate, herbs tied together in a bundle with string, lemon rind and 1 cup of stock. Gently bring everything to a bubble, then return beef to casserole, mustard side up. When liquid is bubbling again, cover with a lid and transfer to oven.
3 Braise meat for 6 hours, or until fork-tender and shreds easily with 2 forks. After 2 hours, baste every 45 minutes or so, adding extra stock if needed.
4 Remove brisket to a dish and cover. Strain vegetables and broth, but don’t press on vegetables. Skim or run through a fat separating jug. You need ¼-⅓ cup broth per serve; add a little reserved stock if necessary. Check seasoning. Discard vegetables from casserole but don’t wash it.
5 Cook pasta in gently boiling well-salted water until al dente. Remove fat from brisket if preferred, and cut across the grain with a sharp, thin-bladed knife. Return meat to casserole and cover with a lid; cut just what you need as it stays juicier in the piece. Reheat broth.
6 Drain pasta and dish into heated bowls. Pour over hot stock. Top pasta with shredded meat. Add a little pecorino and sprinkle with parsley. Serve immediately.
There are lots of ways to use the rest of the brisket. It’s gorgeous mixed with smashed potato and broccoli, with added spring onions (scallions) and grated cheddar, formed into patties and sizzled until golden. Serve with a spicy sauce. Yum yum. Or use in dumplings or ravioli (you could freeze it to do these recipes at a later date). Or make pulled beef burgers or use in tacos with slaw and spicy sauces.