Candele alla Genovese

Decadent, sweet, and rich: it’s Candele alla Genovese time. And don’t let the name fool you: Genovese is uncompromisingly Neapolitan! Genovese is a beef braised sauce usually prepared “in bianco” (without tomato), where the copious amount of onions – one of the main ingredients in this recipe – gives the moisture necessary for a long,  gentle cooking.  We couldn’t resist adding a few Corbarino tomatoes right at the end of the cooking time to reach a brighter, more vibrant, and balanced result. Candele (aka the mother of all pasta shapes) was created in Gragnano, and with its thick tubular shape is considered the perfect match for this creamy and satisfying meat sauce.

Ingredients

SERVES: 5-6 people
TIME: About 3 hours

Boneless beef chuck roast (about 1 1/2 lbs/700 gr), trimmed and cut into chunks
Extra virgin olive oil (5 tablespoons)
Carrots (2), peeled and diced finely
Celery (1 rib), trimmed and diced finely
Red or yellow onions (4), thinly sliced
Tomato concentrate (1 tablespoon)
White wine (1 cup)
Bay leaves (2)
Corbarino tomatoes (1 cup)
Candele Faella (1.1 lbs/500 gr)
Fresh parsley (4 tablespoons), finely chopped
Vacche Rosse cheese, for serving
Sea salt
Black pepper

 

Preparation

  1. Season beef generously with salt and pepper on all sides. Set aside and let sit in the fridge for about 30 minutes.
  2. In a large and heavy pot, heat EVOO over medium-high heat. Add carrots and celery and cook until soft (about 4 minutes).
  3.  Add about 1/3 of the sliced onions, the tomato paste, and 1/2 cup of white wine. Cook and stir until the paste dissolves and onions are soft but not browned (other 3/4 minutes).
  4. Reduce heat to medium-low. Arrange beef in the pot without overlapping the chunks. Add bay leaves, top the beef with the remaining onions, and cover.
  5. After about 10 minutes, uncover, season lightly with salt, and stir. Cook covered at low heat, stirring occasionally to make sure vegetables and meat are not sticking to the bottom of the pot and onions have released their moisture (about 1 hour).
  6. After about 1 hour, crack the lid slightly and continue to cook, keeping a gentle and steady simmer, until the beef is tender (about 1 hour and 30 minutes longer).
  7. Discard bay leaves, remove beef chunks from pot, and set them aside.
  8. Increase heat to medium, add the tomatoes and the remaining 1/2 cup of wine. Meanwhile, break apart beef into smaller chunks without shredding it too much.  Return the beef to the pot, and cook until the sauce reaches a thick consistency but without bursting the tomatoes (about 15 minutes).
  9. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Break Candele using the palm of your hands to create leverage and measure evenly each section.
  10. Cook Candele for about 6/7 minutes, then drain, saving 1 cup of cooking pasta water.
  11. Transfer pasta to the sauce, add 1/2 cup of cooking water, and increase heat to high. Sautee pasta until the sauce coats Candele, adding more pasta water (1/4 cup at the time) as needed (about 2 minutes).
  12. Remove from heat, add parsley, stir rapidly, and serve grating on each plate some Vacche Rosse cheese.