DARIO CECCHINI'S BRASATO AL MIDOLLO
SERVES 8-10 | 30 MIN PREP | 3HRS COOKING
Legend has it that a Tuscan, travelling in the North, ordered an oven-baked veal shank, and finding it quite good set about improving it.
Starting with a shank of boned beef (as he didn't care for the virginal pallor of veal), he removed the marrow from the bone and recomposed the meat with the marrow inside, adding sea salt, crushed black pepper and -rosa di mare (what we today call - rosemary). He cooked it with shallots and olive oil in a covered casserole.
Then, somewhat alarmed by the delicious carnality of the result, he -blessed it with Vino Xantos (vin santo or holy wine).
Heat your oven to 180C. You need olive oil and 1 kg of peeled shallots. Add half a glass of vin santo after ninety minutes. Cook for three hours in all. And that is that.
One boned out beef shank
Freshly ground black pepper
A handful of fresh rosemary, chopped
1/2 cup olive oil
1kg shallots, peeled and left whole
1/2 cup vin santo
Have your butcher bone the beef shank, then ask that they top and tail the bone and cut the shaft in half lengthwise.
Heat oven to 180 degrees. On a cutting board, lay open the boned meat with cut side up. Season open side of beef generously with salt and freshly ground black pepper. From the split bone, scoop out the marrow from each side with a spatula or table knife.
Place the marrow in the centre of the opened meat, along the same direction as the grain. Sprinkle with chopped rosemary. Roll the meat tightly, enclosing the marrow, and tie the roast with butcher string.
Place beef roast and olive oil in a large ovenproof casserole. Pop in the peeled shallots. Cover it and cook for 2 hours. Add the vin santo and cook for another hour to an hour and a half. Remove the beef and allow it to rest for at least 15 minutes. Cut the strings, slice across the grain, serve with the shallots and pan juices.
Dario likes to serve this with simple green beans and a parsley and pickled red onion salad. They help to cut through the richness of the dish.
IMAGE CREDIT: DARIO CECCHINI