I hesitate to admit it, but this pasta one pot is the product of laziness. I often makeItalian Beef Stew with Pasta, and one night I decided I could not be bothered to cook the pasta separately. So I changed the ingredients to make it possible to cook the pasta actually in the stew, right at the end of the cooking time. I also adjusted the flavours a bit to make it more like a traditional Bolognese sauce, albeit with meltingly tender chunks of beef as opposed to the ground variety.
This is definitely not authentically Italian but it’s one of my favorite recipes for several reasons. Not only does everyone seem to love it, but it’s super easy, mostly takes care of itself (right up till the last minute) and leftovers taste amazing the next day. In fact, sometimes I make a double batch just to have them!
This recipe will serve four generously.
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, finely sliced
1 pound of chuck steak or similar stewing cut, preferably pasture raised, cut in one inch chunks (They don’t have to be exactly one inch, just roughly.)
1 red or green pepper, de-seeded and cut in chunks
4 medium carrots, peeled and cut in bit size chunks
1 cup beef stock
3 cups sieved tomatoes (passata) or your favorite tomato sauce
¼ cup basil pesto
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon dried oregano
salt and pepper to taste
2½ – 3 cups water (approximately)
2 cups penne pasta or other pasta shapes
Preheat the oven to 325℉ or 160℃ (150℃ for a fan oven).
Heat the olive oil over medium heat in the bottom of a stove top to oven casserole with a lid. Or you can use a frying pan for the first steps and then transfer the recipe to an oven safe casserole with a lid before putting it in the oven.
Add the onion to the oil and sauté for about five minutes, stirring frequently, until the onion begins to become translucent. Add the chunks of beef and brown in the oil, stirring frequently so that all the sides of the beef chunks all get sealed and turn slightly brown. This should take about five to ten minutes.
Add the red or green pepper, carrots, beef stock, tomato sauce, pesto, oregano and bay leaf. Stir together. Pop the lid on the casserole and transfer it to the oven. (Remember to use oven mitts!)
Cook for an hour and a half, stirring every half hour. After the hour and a half has passed, remove the casserole from the oven and carefully stir in 2½ cups water and the pasta. Pop the lid back on and return the casserole to the oven. Set the timer for ten minutes.
After the ten minutes have elapsed, take the casserole out of the oven and stir the stew. You may need to add a bit more water at this point so the pasta cooks to al dente. Go carefully as you can always add more water, but you can’t take it away!
Whether you have added more water or not, return the casserole to the oven for about ten minutes more. The pasta one pot is ready to serve when the pasta is al dente. (If you need to add a bit more water once again that is okay. How this dish cooks depends upon the sort of pasta you use and your oven.)
I like to serve this with my Mom’s Garlic Bread.