Braised shin of beef with saffron pasta

Michael Caines combines richly flavoured slow-cooked beef and velvety-smooth fresh pasta in this hearty Italian-style dish
By Michael Caines
Braised shin of beef with saffron pasta
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4
  • Cook Time: 2 hours 15 minutes
  • Prep Time: 45 minutes
  • Effort: medium


For the braised shin

  • 100 g butter
  • 600 g beef shin, cut into 5cm chunks
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 1 leek, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 sprigs thyme
  • 1 litres beef stock

For the saffron pasta

  • 1 pinches threads saffron
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 whole egg, plus 3 egg yolks
  • 250 g plain flour
  • polenta, for dusting

To serve

  • parmesan shavings
  • 1 small bunch flat-leaf parsley, leaves only


1. For the braised shin: melt half the butter in a flameproof casserole over a medium-high heat. As soon as the butter stops foaming, add the beef shin, season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, and fry for 5 minutes, or until browned on all sides (you may need to do this in 2 or 3 batches to avoid overcrowding the pan).

2. Transfer the beef to a plate. Melt the remaining butter in the pan and fry the onion, carrot, leek and garlic over a medium heat for 7-8 minutes, or until the vegetables are softened and translucent.

3. Return the beef to the casserole, along with any juices that have collected on the plate and add the thyme and beef stock.

4. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat to low. Cover and simmer for 1½ to 2 hours, or until the meat is tender and falling apart. Shred the meat and return to the cooking liquor (you can serve the beef straight away or let it cool then refrigerate it for up to 3 days).

6. For the pasta: lightly toast the saffron in a small pan over a medium heat for 1-2 minutes, then add 2 teaspoons water and the olive oil and bring to a simmer. Turn off the heat and leave to infuse.

7. Once the saffron liquid is cool, mix it with the whole egg and egg yolks.

8. Sift the flour into a food processor and add a pinch of salt. With the motor running, slowly add the saffron liquid until the dough resembles moist breadcrumbs (it shouldn't be too dry or too sticky).

9. Tip the dough onto a work surface and bring together into a ball. Wrap in cling film and leave to rest for 30 minutes.

10. When the dough has rested, feed it through a pasta machine, starting at the widest setting and working down to the second-thinnest setting.

11. Lay the pasta sheets on a polenta-dusted work surface and cut into rough strips about 15cm long and 2.5cm wide. Put the cut pasta on a tray and dust with more polenta. Set aside until ready to cook.

12. Reheat the braised shin of beef over a medium-high heat. Meanwhile, bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and cook the pasta for 3 minutes. Drain well and add to the beef, tossing to coat it in the sauce.

13. Serve garnished with shaved parmesan and sprigs of flat-leaf parsley.

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