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Braised Oxtail Ragu with Chile Gremolata

Succulent spiced red wine braised beef ragù is paired with bitter mustard greens and a zesty chile gremolata served over pasta.
Course pasta
Cuisine jamacian
Keyword braise, braised, chili, fresno, gremolata, oxtail, peppers, ragu
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours 30 minutes
Servings 6


Braised oxtails:

  • 3 pounds oxtails, about 5 to 6 oxtails
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 large carrots, diced
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 3 celery stalks, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 cups red wine
  • 4 cups beef stock
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 packed cups roughly chopped mustard greens, stems removed

Chile gremolata:

  • 1 Fresno pepper, seeded and finely diced
  • ½ cup chopped cilantro leaves
  • ½ cup chopped parsley leaves
  • 2 teaspoons grated lime zest
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt, as needed

For serving:

  • ¾ pound medium shell pasta
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese


For the braised oxtail:

  • Heat oven to 325°F.
  • In a small bowl stir together the salt, cumin, black pepper, paprika and cinnamon. Season the oxtails all over with the spices. Heat a large Dutch oven or heavy bottomed saucepan over medium heat, add the oil and heat through.
  • Working in batches if needed, arrange the oxtails in a single layer in the cast iron skillet. Sear the oxtails golden brown on all sides, about 6 minutes total. Transfer meat to a plate, repeating until all oxtails are browned.
  • Return the pot to medium heat, add the carrots, celery and onion and sauté, stirring occasionally until the vegetables are tender, about 6 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  • Add the wine to the Dutch oven and simmer until it’s almost completely evaporated, about 8 to 10 minutes. Pour in the beef stock followed by the thyme and red pepper. Arrange the oxtails in the pot and bring to a simmer. Cover the pot and transfer to the oven.
  • Cook, turning oxtails half-way through cooking, until the meat is tender, about 3 hours. Remove the oxtails from the pot and let cool. Once cool, pull the oxtail meat from bones and shred the meat, discarding any large pieces of fat.
  • Add the meat back to the pot with the mustard greens and stir to combine, cooking over medium-low heat until the greens wilt, about an additional 10 minutes.

For the chile gremolata:

  • In a small mixing bowl, stir together Fresno peppers, cilantro, parsley, lime zest, lime juice, vinegar and olive oil until combined. Season with salt and set aside.

For assembly:

  • Place a large pot with salted water over medium heat and bring to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until just al dente, about 10 minutes. Drain the pasta, reserving about 1 cup of the pasta cooking water and return to the pot.
  • Ladle the oxtail stew over the pasta with the parmesan and ½ cup of the pasta cooking water, stirring to combine. Add the gremolata and stir once more. Divide among warmed pasta bowls. Serve immediately.