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white bowl of oxtail pasta on slate background

Oxtail Pasta

  • Author: María
  • Prep Time: 5 hours
  • Cook Time: 3 hours
  • Total Time: 8 hours
  • Yield: 8 1x


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
  • 23 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


  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Now add your mirepoix and browning. Stir and cook until fragrant and slightly softened about 5-7 minutes.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. When they’re done, remove them from the pot to a large bowl. Set them aside to cool while you start on the pasta.
  8. Heat a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the butter, and allow it to melt.
  9. 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.
  10. 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).
  11. Stir in the mozzarella, spinach and tomatoes. Reduce the heat to medium-low and let simmer until slightly reduced and thickened.
  12. 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!
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
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