This past weekend was just such a weekend.
Chris was combing through Hart Davis Hart’s website - a favorite pastime of his. Hart Davis Hart is a Chicago wine auction house, and 4 times a year they host the most amazing wine auctions. We get the catalogues, and let me tell you, this is stuff most of us will only hear about in our lives, not even ever see in person, let alone drink. The lots go for 5, 10, 20+ thousand dollars. It’s crazy! However, Hart Davis Hart also sells wine, and they have surprisingly reasonable prices for their retail stuff. This still isn’t the kind of place that will sell Columbia Crest Two Vines, but you can find a pretty darn good bottle for $30 that would maybe be $40+ elsewhere. And when you’re doing this in lieu of spending money going out to a fancy dinner, it’s a pretty great deal!
So Chris found a bottle he was very excited about - a 2005 Burgundy from Pommard. Now we just had to build a meal to go with it!
We knew it had to be a rich meal, something that would go well with a full-bodied red. Then Chris suggested we make a ragu. A thick, hearty, meaty sauce would go perfectly! We decided to go for it. But then my two cents - let’s make our own noodles! I had never made my own noodles before, but my aunt and cousins make them all the time, so I’ve seen them made. We also had never made a ragu before, but that’s at least related to other sauces we’ve made, so it wasn’t too daunting. This was going to be a fun night!
I looked up a few recipes online, and they all pretty much looked the same:
1 beaten egg
1/2 t salt
2 T milk
1 cup sifted flour
Beat the egg, and add the milk and whisk in.
In a separate bowl, sift the flour and salt together.
Pour the egg/milk mixture into the flour and salt, and mix until a dough forms. Knead well.
Now, take your dough and split it in two. This will make the dough easier to manage. Roll each dough ball out as thin as you like. Since this was going to be a thick, hearty sauce, I didn’t roll them too thin because I wanted a noodle that could stand up to it. But I definitely could’ve rolled it thinner if that’s the type I was going for.
Let the dough sit for 30 minutes to dry a little.
Using a pizza cutter, cut the noodles to the length/width that you want them. Then arrange them on a lightly floured baking sheet or some other surface so they aren’t touching. Allow them to dry for 1 1/2 hours on one side, then flip the noodles over and allow to dry for another 1 1/2 hours on the other side.
Ok, now while these dry, let’s move on to the ragu!
Our ragu was an adaptation based off of Bobby Flay’s Short Rib Ragu. But it strays pretty significantly, so I’m not even going to show you the original recipe.
2-3 lbs flank steak
2 T canola oil
2 celery stalks
2 cups red wine
2 cups beef stock
1 large can whole peeled tomatoes
10-15 shiitake mushrooms
2 T flour
Seasonings: Italian seasoning, dried basil, dried oregano, salt, pepper, etc.
Oven: 325 degrees F
Chop the flank steak into half inch cubes.
Chop your vegetables finely.
Heat the oil on the stove in a large pot. Once the oil is hot, put the flank steak in for about 2 minutes. This will help render some of the fat from the meat. Remove the meat and set aside.
Now put in all the vegetables. Keep them constantly moving so they don’t stick. After about 2-3 minutes, add the 2 cups of red wine. For this recipe, we used a lower-end bottle of red wine, but one that we like the flavor of. I recommend Columbia Crest Two Vines Vineyard 10 Red Wine. It’s a great cheaper red wine that has a good deep red flavor but not outstandingly spicy or fruity. It’s a great blend that’s wonderful for cooking.
The wine will help grab all the brown bits from the bottom of the pan.
After 3-5 minutes, add the beef stock, and bring to a simmer. Let simmer for about 10 minutes. While the sauce is simmering, pull out your can of whole tomatoes and chop them up (remembering to puncture them to drain the juice before chopping to avoid a mess!). After 10 minutes, add the tomatoes and the tomato juice. Then, add your chopped shiitake mushrooms.
Then add the flour slowly by sifting it in and stirring frequently. We don’t want the flour to clump! Add whatever seasonings you wish - we used a bunch of dried herbs, as well as salt and pepper.
Finally, add your meat back into the sauce. Stir in, and cover the pot and stick it in the oven. Leave for 3 hours.
After 3 hours, when you’re ready to eat, you need to first return to your noodles and cook them!
Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add the noodles.
Boil for 7-10 minutes, depending on thickness.
Now pull your sauce out of the oven. Look how thick it’s become!
Sorry for the blurry pic... poor lighting + steam + impatient hungry husband = you take what you can get
Generously douse your noodles in the sauce.
So thick and hearty! I loved absolutely every minute of eating this meal. And it paired perfectly with the Burgundy! I couldn’t have hoped for better noodles either -- these definitely held up to the thick sauce. Overall this was an outstanding meal, we couldn’t have been happier with the way it turned out!