Oxtail Stew with Pappardelle and Parmesan

Oxtail Stew is lip-smackingly tasty. Rich, unctuous gravy and meat that has fallen off the bones.  It’s a dish that’s ideal to put together and leave simmering in a low oven or slow cooker in tomatoes and wine in the morning and come home to hours later.  The oven having done all the work needed to transform it.  This isn’t a fancy dish – it’s proper peasant food.

I love to serve the oxtail  tossed through thick ribbons of pappardelle (you could substitute tagliatelle if you prefer) and grate Parmesan over the top but it’s just as delicious with creamy mashed potato and spring greens.  Leftovers can be transformed into oxtail soup the next day with the addition of some more water to thin it to the right consistency.

Oxtail is not a prime bit of beef so it needs long, slow cooking to get the best out of it. I like the fact that this recipe helps us use up the whole animal making sure we aren’t wasting anything. It’s the ultimate in nose-to-tail eating. Important, I think at the risk of sounding smug, that we do embrace this principle if we are going to eat meat.

I like to take it off the bone before serving which is only a matter of pushing the meat  as it’s so meltingly tender.  Others like to serve it as is and slurp the meat off themselves.  It’s a matter of preference and your inner caveman!   I would say that if you are going to serve it with pappardelle it’s much easier to have taken it off first.  It doesn’t matter at all if you have it with mash


Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 1 kg oxtail , chopped into sections
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 medium leek, chopped into 2cm pieces
  • 2 sticks of celery, chopped into 2cm pieces
  • 2 carrots, chopped into 2cm pieces
  • 6 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
  • 2 fresh bay leaves
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 heaped tablespoon plain flour
  • 400 g tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 200ml bitter or red wine
  • 500 ml beef stock or water
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce (or to taste)

Pappardelle, basil leaves and grated Parmesan to serve



  1. Heat oven to 220c with a baking sheet inside
  2. Put oxtail pieces onto hot baking sheet and drizzle over 2tbsp oil and season well with salt and pepper
  3. Roast in oven for 20 mins until nicely browned
  4. In casserole heat another 2tbsp oil on stover top and add carrots, leeks, celery, bay leaves, thyme and rosemary. Season well and cook for 20 mins, stirring frequently until vegetables are soft
  5. Sprinkle flour over vegetables and add cloves. Stir well
  6. Add tin of tomatoes and redwine/beer  Mix.
  7. Put browned oxtail in casserole and top up with wine/beer/water until everything is submerged
  8. Bring stew to boil, cover and put in oven – turning down heat to 170c – to cook for at least 5 hours
  9. Remove from oven and allow to cool
  10. Pull meat off bones (see note) and put to one side
  11. Remove herbs and spices and add Worcestershire sauce to rest of mix
  12. Blend vegetables and gravy together till smooth
  13. Reduce on stove top till sauce is thick and glossy
  14. Add shredded meat and keep warm whilst you cook pappardelle.
  15. When pasta is al dente, drain and  put pasta in pan with sauce and cook for final minute before serving topped with Parmesan and basil leaves

Oxtail shreds in reduced sauce


1 Comment

  1. Hey Rosie! This looks so rich and savory! And I’m with you (no “inner caveman” here)– best to take it off the bone! It really does look delicious! Did you make this for a special occasion? It would be a great dish to share with friends1 How is your week going?? I’m up in San Francisco watching our little 1 year old grand-girl while her mother works. So fun to be with the kids and watch their day to day life for a week. Hope you are doing so well… xox

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