Braised Oxtails with Ricotta Gnudi
by Antonia Lofaso, Executive Chef and Top Chef Masters Finalist
Oxtails are an unusual cut, but have incredible flavor (from all that tail action). The tender, succulent meat is perfect served over delicate ricotta gnudi, and the Maker’s Mark® Bourbon adds complexity to the braising liquid.
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 4 hours
2 cups Maker’s Mark® Bourbon
2 pounds oxtails
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup celery, 1/2" dice
1 cup carrots, 1/2" dice
1 cup onions, 1/2" dice
2 piece bay leaves
2 sprigs thyme
5 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons tomato paste
3 tablespoons flour
2 cups canned crushed tomatoes
1-1/2 tablespoons Better Than Bouillon Beef Base
4 cups water
Salt and pepper
1 recipe ricotta gnudi*
Minced parsley for garnish
- Heat a large Dutch oven or heavy bottom skillet with high sides over high heat. Season the oxtails with salt and pepper and brown both sides in the vegetable oil in the pot. Remove the oxtails from the pan and set aside.
- Drain off excess fat from the pan except for 1 tablespoon. Add the celery, carrots, onions, bay leaves, thyme and garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Cook over medium-high heat until the vegetables begin to soften and color slightly, about 10 minutes.
- Add the tomato paste and stir to coat. Cook for 2 minutes more, then sprinkle the flour evenly over the vegetables and stir. Cook for 1 minute more. Deglaze with the Maker’s Mark® and cook for 5 minutes more.
- Add the canned tomatoes, beef base and water and stir to mix well. Bring the mixture up to a boil then reduce to a low simmer and cook, covered, for 3-4 hours until the oxtails are falling off the bone. Stir occasionally to ensure nothing is sticking to the bottom of the pot and add water as necessary throughout the cooking process.
- When the oxtails are ready, remove them from the pot, as well as the bay leaves and thyme stems. Skim any excess fat off the braising liquid and discard. Pull the meat from the bones and return the meat to the pot with the vegetables and braising liquid. Fold the meat in and simmer for another 10 minutes until the braise is thick like a stew. Season to taste. Serve hot over ricotta gnudi and garnish with chopped parsley.
1 pound fresh ricotta cheese
1 cup Parmigiano cheese, finely grated
1/2 cup semolina flour
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
Salt and pepper
Butter or extra virgin olive oil, for frying
- In a small bowl, mix the ricotta, Parmigiano, 1/4 cup of semolina, 1 tablespoon of flour, and salt and pepper to taste.
- Once the dough has formed and the mixture is well-combined, using your hands, form the gnudi, rolling the dough into small balls half the size of a golf ball.
- Place the remaining 1/4 cup of semolina and tablespoon of flour in a shallow dish. Dredge the gnudi lightly in the flour and set aside on a parchment-lined sheet tray. Refrigerate for up to an hour until cooking time.
- Bring a pot of water to a gentle simmer then, working in small batches, drop the gnudi in one at a time. Cook the gnudi for about 3-4 minutes until they begin floating to the top of the water. Drain from the water (at this point, serve immediately, or drop the gnudi into an ice bath to set them before pan frying.) Repeat with remaining gnudi.
- To pan fry, drain the gnudi from the ice water and gently pat dry. Heat a large saute pan with a generous amount of butter or olive oil. Pan fry over medium-high heat until they are brown on both sides. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.