This makes a great lazy Sunday lunch. There’ll be more brisket than you need to go with the pasta, but it’ll happily transform into other dishes.
Serves: 6 or more
2 tablespoons olive oil
1.25-kilogram piece of brisket, at room temperature
1 tablespoon Dijonnaise mustard
125 grams 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 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2–3 anchovies in oil
1 cup full-bodied red wine
1 cup skinned, roughly chopped tomatoes
1 tablespoon tomato concentrate
2 fresh bay leaves, large sprig of thyme and 1 small stem rosemary, tied together with kitchen string
pared rind of 1 lemon
2 cups beef stock
200 grams lumache (pictured) or tubular pasta
small piece pecorino, for shaving
small stem of parsley, torn into sprigs
Preheat oven to 130°C. Pat meat dry. Heat oil in a heavy-based casserole dish 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. Remove from heat, season with salt and smear browned side with mustard.
Add bacon, carrots, celery and onion to casserole. Cover, lower heat and cook for 10 minutes until soft. Add vinegar. Increase heat, let 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, tied herbs, 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.
Braise meat for 6 hours, or until fork-tender and it shreds easily with 2 forks. After 2 hours, baste every 45 minutes or so, adding extra stock if needed.
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 1⁄4–1⁄3 cup broth per serve; add a little reserved stock if necessary. Check seasoning. Discard vegetables from casserole but don’t wash it.