WITH BRAISED BEEF & CARAMELIZED ONIONS
BEEF STEW MEAT S&P OLIVE OIL DRY RED WINE CARROTS YELLOW ONION GARLIC FRESH THYME WORCESTERSHIRE SAUCE BEEF STOCK/BEEF BROTH UNSALTED BUTTER SWEET ONIONS DRY SHERRY CAVATEPPI PASTA GRUYERE CHEESE
If time allows, 20-30 minutes before you’d like to begin cooking, allow beef to come up to room temperature. Just before cooking, use a paper towel to pat all sides of the beef as dry as possible. Season liberally with salt & pepper; a good rule of thumb is 1 teaspoon kosher salt per pound of beef. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F, ensuring a rack is positioned in the center of the oven.
Add olive oil to a large, oven-safe pot with a tight fitting lid over medium-high heat. Once the oil is shimmering hot, carefully add in the seasoned beef. Work in batches, as necessary, to avoid overcrowding the pot. Cook for 3-4 minutes per side, until nicely browned. Transfer the to a plate & set aside. Repeat, as necessary, with the remaining beef. Carefully drain off the drippings from the pot & discard once cooled.
Return pot to medium-high heat. Deglaze the pot with wine while scraping the bottom of the pot. Add the beef back into the pot, along with the carrots, onion, garlic, & thyme. Pour the Worcestershire sauce & beef stock/broth over top. Bring the mixture to a boil, then cover & transfer to the oven to braise for 2 – 2 ½ hours, or until the beef is fall-apart tender & easy to shred with a fork.
Carefully transfer the braised beef to a plate. If desired, use 2 forks to shred the beef into smaller bite-sized pieces, discarding any excess fat. Set the shredded beef aside. Working carefully, strain the braising liquid. Discard spent aromatics. Use a spoon to carefully strain & discard any excess fat that rises to the top of the beef stock. From there, add enough water to the beef stock so the total amount of liquid equals 3 ½ cups. Set aside. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Add the butter to a large, oven-safe skillet over medium heat. Once melted, add the sliced sweet onions, stirring to coat. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 10-12 minutes until softened & browned.
Once softened, reduce heat to medium-low. Season the onions with 1 teaspoon kosher salt, stirring to combine. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, fragrant, & deeply browned, 20-30 minutes more.
Once the onions are caramelized, deglaze the skillet. Slowly pour in the dry sherry, using a wooden spoon to scrape up any browned bits formed on the bottom of the pan. Increase the heat to medium-high to bring the wine to a simmer, then simmer 2-3 minutes or until reduced by half.
Add the 3 ½ cups reserved braising liquid to the skillet, seasoning with the fresh thyme & salt as needed. Once the liquid reaches a simmer, add the pasta. Cook, stirring often until the pasta is al dente, 10-12 minutes. In my experience, this is 4-5 minutes longer than the al dente cook time noted on the pasta package directions. Adjust the heat as needed to maintain a steady simmer – not a fast boil, not a low simmer.
Once the pasta is cooked to al dente (it’s okay if it still has a little bite, as it continues to cook in the oven), stir the braised beef into the skillet & top with the shredded gruyère cheese. Transfer to the oven for 10-12 minutes, or until the cheese is as melty as you like.