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Snail shells with slow-cooked beef

March 4, 2011

I started this dish on Wednesday evening,  alongside the Italian beef stew. It had three and a half hours to slowly cook in the oven, and then two days to steep in the fridge. The resultant rich silkiness is ample reward. I’m also irresistibly drawn to this beautifully named pasta.

Snail shells!

Rich beef sauce (serves 6)


250g cubed beef steak
1 onion, diced
2 carrots, sliced into batons
1 leek, sliced
125g mushrooms, sliced
1 clove garlic, crushed
small glass red wine
150ml beef stock
800g tinned tomatoes
1 t oregano


1. Coat the beef in flour, season and fry with a splash of vegetable oil in a deep frying pan or wok

2. Transfer the beef to a casserole dish

3. Fry the onions, carrots, leek and mushrooms with a splash more oil in the pan you used for the beef, until soft

4. Add the crushed garlic and stir, cooking for a further minute

5. Add the wine, stir well and leave for three minutes

6. Pour the contents of the pan into the casserole dish, and add the hot stock

7. Cover and cook in the oven on a low heat for two to three hours

(At this stage, you can allow to cool and refrigerate for up to 48 hours)

8. Add the tinned tomatoes and a teaspoon of oregano and cook on the hob on a low heat, uncovered, for forty-five minutes.

We had this with lumaconi, the delightfully named ‘snail shells’. Pappardelle (from ‘pappare’ – to gobble) would be delicious too. This dish demands exuberantly over-sized pasta to complement the chunkiness of the sauce.

This would freeze well, and I have great hopes for it as the basis of a hearty lasagne.

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