Oxtail broth with fresh pasta squares & dried wild forest mushrooms

Recipe from Nino Zoccali's cookbook Pasta Artigiana

Oxtail broth with fresh pasta squares & dried wild forest mushrooms


PREP TIME 4-5 hours

COOKING TIME 40 minutes


350 g (9 oz) fresh egg pasta dough (see below)

25 g (1 oz) mixed dried wild mushrooms

2.4 litres (84 fl oz) oxtail broth (see below)

450 g (1 lb) braised oxtail meat (from broth recipe below)

Fine sea salt, to taste

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

200 g (7 oz) fresh small exotic mushrooms, to garnish

Freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, to serve


Roll the pasta dough into sheets of 1 mm (1/32 inch) thickness. Cut the pasta into 2 x 2 cm (¾ x ¾ inch) squares. A corrugated roller cutter is best for this job as it makes wonderful jagged-edged squares.

Cover the dried mushrooms with boiling water and leave for 15 minutes until the water has cooled and the mushrooms have settled to the top (see Note). Lift the mushrooms out of the water and set aside.

Bring the oxtail broth to the boil. Add the soaked mushrooms, braised oxtail meat and a little sea salt and black pepper, if required, and simmer for approximately 20 minutes. Add the pasta squares and cook for 3-4 minutes. Serve immediately garnished with the exotic mushrooms and lots of freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.

Note: Soaking the mushrooms is essential as dried mushroom products tend to contain dirt and grit. Lifting the mushrooms out of the water instead of pouring everything through a sieve helps to ensure the dirt is properly removed. Repeat the process of submerging the mushrooms in water if they contain a lot of grit.

Fresh egg pasta dough

Makes approximately 600 g (1 lb, 5 oz)

330 g (11½ oz) plain (all-purpose) flour, plus extra, for kneading

70 g (2½ oz) fine semolina

½ teaspoon fine sea salt

4 x 59g (2¼ oz) free range or organic eggs


Combine the flour, semolina and sea salt and place on a work surface or large wooden board. The flour should form a peaked mound. With your hand, make a hole in the top of the mound so that it resembles a volcano. This hole needs to be big enough to be able to 'house' the eggs. Break the eggs into the hole. With your hand or with a fork, gently beat the eggs, then slowly incorporate the flour into the egg mixture. I do this by moving my hand in a circular motion, slowly incorporating the flour from the inside wall of the mound. Don't worry if the dough looks like a mess. This is normal. Once fully combined, knead a little more flour into the dough if it feels a little wet and sticky. Set the dough aside and clean the work space. Dust some fresh flour onto the work surface and continue kneading the dough for another 5 minutes. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and set aside in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. Next, roll the pasta to the desired thickness and cut into the desired shape.

Oxtail Broth

Makes approximately 2.5 litres (87 fl oz/10 cups)

75 ml (2¼ fl oz) extra virgin olive oil

100 g (3½ oz) carrot, roughly chopped

100 g (3½ oz) celery stalks, roughly chopped

100 g (3½ oz) onion, roughly chopped

100 g (3½ oz) leek, roughly chopped

2 kg ( 4 lb, 8 oz) fresh oxtail, cleaned, trimmed of excess fat and cut roughly into 4 cm (1½ inch) long pieces

2 ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped

3 flat-leaf (Italian) parsley sprigs

3 thyme sprigs

1 small bay leaf

4 litres (140 fl oz/16 cups) water

fine sea salt, to taste


To Heat half of the extra virgin olive oil in a deep heavy-based frying pan over medium heat and sauté the carrot, celery, onion and leek until they are nicely browned. Transfer to a large saucepan. In the same frying pan, use the remaining extra virgin olive oil to sauté the oxtail until it is browned.

Add the browned oxtail and the remaining ingredients to the large saucepan and bring to the boil. Lower the heat and slowly simmer without a lid for 3-4 hours or until the meat is falling off the bone. Skim away the excess fat and other particles that come to the surface of the liquid throughout the cooking process. Take the oxtail out and set aside. Strain the liquid through a fine strainer and refrigerate. If there is excess fat, it will solidify at the top of the refrigerated broth. Remove this with a spoon and discard before using the broth. Pick the meat from the bones, discarding any fat or sinew, and reserve for later use in recipes. Oxtail broth can be made in advance and frozen in an airtight container for up to two months.