This was the first dish enjoyed at Osteria Matonella on a January 2009 staff trip to Naples. It is a classic peasant dish of Naples; one that can feed an entire family using only a small amount of meat and plenty of onions.
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2# beef chuck, cut into 1" cubes
Salt & pepper
1 cup carrots, cut into 1/4" dice
1 cup celery, cut into 1/4" dice
3 Tbsp tomato paste
12 cups onions, thinly sliced
2 cups dry white wine
4-6 cups beef stock (or chicken stock if beef stock is not available)
2# penne pasta
1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp grated pecorino romano
1/2 cup grated parmigiano reggiano
1/8 cup finely chopped Italian parsley
1. In a pot large enough for all ingredients, warm olive oil until hot. Season beef with salt and pepper and sear on all sides until beef is nicely browned.
2. Add carrots and celery, season to taste and sauté 3-4 minutes until slightly softened.
3. Add tomato paste, stirring for several minutes to glaze paste on the bottom of the pan.
4. Add onions in 1/3, 1/3, 1/3, sauté for several minutes until softened, add salt to taste. 5. Add white wine, and turn heat to lowest setting, cook covered for 5-7 hours, stirring periodically to avoid sticking, until onions have disintegrated into a homogenous brown sauce. During this time, add 1/2 cup beef stock every 45-60 minutes as needed (not exceeding 4 cups total) and stir. The onions will provide much of their own moisture, Beef stock is simply added as liquid evaporates. Final sauce consistency is a personal preference.
6. When sauce has finished cooking, cook penne in abundant salted water until al dente.
7. Add pasta to sauce, cooking over low heat until sauce has coated pasta and little excess liquid remains.
8. Remove from heat and toss with 1/2 cup pecorino and parmigiano. Finally, top with remaining 2 Tbsp pecorino and Italian parsley and serve.
Prep time: 45 mins
Cook time: 5-7 hour