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Playing How To Make Brisket Ragu with Rigatoni By Rachael

A ragu made of red wine, braised brisket, and porcini mushrooms is tossed with buttery rigatoni for a hearty pasta dinner.


For the caramelized onions:
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 4 medium onions, chopped or quartered and thinly sliced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme, or small bundle fresh
  • Salt and black pepper
  • White pepper, about 1 teaspoon
  • 2-3 tablespoons dry sherry (optional)
For the Basic Braised Brisket:
  • One 4-pound well-trimmed brisket
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive or canola oil
  • 2 cups beef bone broth or low-sodium beef broth
  • 2 tablespoons demi-glace (optional) or a bouillon cube
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • Cooked potatoes or vegetables of choice, for serving
For the Brisket Ragu with Rigatoni:
  • 1 cup sliced dried porcini mushrooms
  • About 1 ½ cups beef bone broth or low-sodium broth to cover
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 2 ribs celery, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped or sliced
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3 sprigs rosemary, chopped (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 2 teaspoons juniper berries, optional
  • 1 cup red wine, such as Rosso di Montalcino or Montepulciano
  • 3-4 cups shredded or chopped leftover/cooked beef brisket
  • 1 pound rigatoni with lines , OR wide pasta ribbons (pappardelle)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus some to pass


Serves: 6


For the caramelized onions, in a large cast-iron skillet or large cast-iron enamel Dutch oven over medium-low to medium heat, caramelize the onions; melt butter, add onions, season with bay, thyme, salt, black pepper and white pepper, cook to golden and soft, 25 minutes, add sherry if using and remove to bowl.  

Meanwhile, for the brisket, bring meat to room temperature. Season liberally.  

Preheat oven to 325˚F.

Return pan to medium-high heat with oil, 2 turns of the pan. Brown meat 5 minutes on each side, then top with caramelized onions. Add the broth and melt in the demi-glace or bouillon and add Worcestershire. Cover pan with heavy foil or lid and bake 3 to 3 ½ hours until very tender. Slice and serve with potatoes and vegetables of choice.    

For the rigatoni, place porcini mushrooms in a pot with stock and bring to low simmer to soften.  

Heat a pot over medium to medium-high heat with EVOO, 2 turns of the pan. Add carrots, celery, onions, garlic, salt, pepper, rosemary, and juniper, cook to soften 12-15 minutes, partially covered, stirring occasionally, and lower heat if vegetables begin to brown too quickly. Add wine and brisket and combine. Remove the porcini mushrooms from the stock and chop, then add to beef with stock and lower heat to warm.

Cook pasta 1 minute less than package directions in a pot of boiling salted water and reserve a mug of starchy cooking water. Drain pasta and add back to hot pot. Add half of the reserved water, the butter and cheese to the pasta and ladle in half of the ragu, then stir 1 full minute. Transfer to shallow serving bowls or dinner plates and top with remaining ragu and more cheese.