It’s a bit labor intensive, but I’m told it’s worth it.
- 2 lb oxtails, rubbed with lime and trimmed of excess fat
- 1/2 C jerk marinade
- 1 tbsp browning
- 3 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 medium carrot, diced
- 2–3 ribs of celery, diced
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 2 1/2 tsp light brown sugar, packed
- 2 tsp granulated garlic
- 2 tsp kosher salt, divided
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp ground allspice
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme
- 6 C water, plus more as needed
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 lb rigatoni pasta
- 4 tbsp salted butter
- 1 pint heavy whipping cream*
- 4 oz mozzarella cheese, shredded
- 1 C parmesan cheese, shredded*
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 C cherry tomatoes, halved lengthwise
- 2 C frozen spinach thawed and drained
- 1 C baby bella mushrooms, sliced
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt, to taste
- 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.