This Oxtail Pasta recipe was born on Twitter. A few months ago a very popular Atlanta restaurant was called out by some angry employees (I didn’t look into the details, and I don’t know what the resolution was) and they posted some of the establishment’s recipes. One that I noticed was repeatedly requested was Oxtail Pasta, and this is what was provided:
What you do with the liquid after you cook the oxtail is up to you. Strain out all of the aromatics and it technically becomes a stock. You can use it to loosen or flavor the final sauce, or to make a delicious gravy for another meal, or as the base for a soup: the sky is pretty much the limit!
If there’s too much multitasking going on for you in this recipe, just make the oxtails the day before. That way you can focus on the pasta’s moving parts. Just microwave or warm up the oxtail meat in a skillet before you add it to the sauce.
You can substitute fresh baby spinach leaves for the frozen chopped spinach: you’ll need about a pound.
Oxtails are weighed on the bone right, so you may need more than 2 lbs if you want a very meaty final product. You’re not going to end up with 2 lbs of shredded oxtail meat from 2 pounds of raw oxtails.
For a thicker sauce, reduce the heat to low and cover it with a lid after you’ve completed the recipe. Stir thoroughly every few minutes until the sauce is the consistency you want. Keep in mind it’s going to continue to thicken as it sits, off the heat!
If you make this recipe I hope you’ll come back and let me know what you thought of it! Here’s a Pinterest graphic for you:
At least 5 hours before you’re ready to begin cooking them, add your oxtails, the jerk marinade, granulated garlic, cumin, ginger, allspice, and 1 tsp of salt to a bowl. Toss to coat thoroughly, then cover and refrigerate. Remove them to rest on the counter about half an hour prior to cooking.
Heat a large stockpot or dutch oven over medium-high heat and drizzle in the vegetable oil. Once it’s shimmering, add the oxtails in a single layer. Don’t crowd – go in batches if you need to. Sear them undisturbed for 2 minutes before flipping and searing the other sides.
When all the oxtails are seared, remove them from the pot. Reduce the heat to medium-low. If there’s a large amount of stuff stuck to the bottom of the pan pour in about a tablespoon of water and stir it around to loosen it up. Add in your tomato paste and stir it around as well, until fragrant.
Now add your mirepoix and browning. Stir and cook until fragrant and slightly softened about 5-7 minutes.
Increase the heat back to medium-high and add your oxtails back to the pot. Pour in your water – there should be just enough to cover the oxtails but add more if needed. Stir in the thyme and the remaining salt and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium and partially cover with a lid.
Let the oxtails cook for about 3 hours or so, until fork-tender and pulling away from the bone. Add more water, about 1/2 C at a time if it reduces too much during cooking – you shouldn’t be able to see more than just a corner or so of the oxtails until the last hour or so.
When they’re done, remove them from the pot to a large bowl. Set them aside to cool while you start on the pasta.
Heat a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the butter, and allow it to melt.
Stir in the garlic and mushrooms, and start boiling the salted water for your pasta too if you haven’t already – cook it according to the package directions.
When the garlic has darkened a bit and it and the mushrooms have released their liquid, pour in the heavy cream and parmesan. Stir to combine and allow the parmesan to melt (this will take a little while).
Stir in the mozzarella, spinach and tomatoes. Reduce the heat to medium-low and let simmer until slightly reduced and thickened.
Use two forks or your hands to shred the oxtail meat while you wait, and keep an eye on your boiling pasta – don’t let it overcook!
When you drain the pasta reserve about a cup of the pasta water, just in case the sauce needs adjusting. Stir the pasta into the sauce.
Fold the oxtail meat into the pasta gently, making sure to get it well incorporated. Taste and add salt, if needed. Crack some black pepper over the top and enjoy!
Increase the amount of heavy whipping cream and Parmesan by a 1/2 C each if you want a saucier pasta in the end.