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Rigatoni with Braised Beef Sauce

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 pounds beef chuck, cut in 1–inch cubes
  • 1 white onion, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
  • Dried herb mix: 1 teaspoon dried thyme, 1 teaspoon dried marjoram, 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 1 can (28 ounces) chopped tomatoes, in their juices
  • 1 cup pitted Kalamata olives
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 pound rigatoni, cooked al dente
  • 12 ounces fresh mozzarella, diced (about 3 cups)
  • 1 cup grated Pecorino Romano 
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
  2. Heat the vegetable oil in a 12-inch skillet until hot (but not smoking) and brown beef on all sides over high heat. 
  3. Transfer the beef to the casserole dish. Add onion, garlic, dried herbs, stock, wine, canned tomatoes, olives, salt and black pepper. Cover and bake in oven until meat is fork tender, about 2 hours. Remove pot from oven, uncover, and stir with a wooden spoon, pressing the meat against the sides of the pot to crush and shred the cubes. 
  4. Add cooked pasta and cubed mozzarella and turn carefully to combine. Transfer to 8 X 13 baking pan, top with Pecorino cheese and more ground black pepper. Bake until the edges are slightly bubbly and the top is crisply browned, about 45 minutes.