Last year during a trip to Italy for my nephew’s wedding, I had occasion to try a pasta dish I hadn’t had before. I ran across it first at a restaurant on the island of Capri, where the wedding was held (and one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen) and in Rome. I loved it because it doesn’t use a red sauce, and it includes melt in your mouth pot roast — like the kind that comes out after a nice long and slow day in the crock pot. So I was itching to try a version using the crock pot when I returned home. After searching the Internet, I learned that it’s a dish commonly referred to as Pasta alla Genovese. Drawing from several recipes, I developed this one for the crock pot.
Pasta alla Genovese
2-3 lbs. chuck roast
3 lbs. onions, sliced
1 carrot, peeled and finely chopped
1/2 c. extra-virgin olive oil
1 c. dry white wine
Salt and pepper to taste
1 lb. pasta
Grated Parmigiano Reggiano, to serve
Place the meat in a pan on the stove with 1/4 c. olive oil and brown on both sides. Place in bottom of the crock pot.
Back on the stove, saute garlic, onions and carrots in remaining olive oil, but don’t burn. Scrape all of this over the meat in the crock pot. Salt and pepper to taste. Cook on low five to six hours, or until meat is falling apart. If it seems too dry during cooking, add a little water and some beef bouillon.
Remove the meat to a platter, tent with foil and and set aside in warm place. In pan on the stove, place onion mixture and white wine, and cook over high heat until wine evaporates, about 10 minutes. Continue to boil, stirring constantly until sauce has reduced and thickened, about 20 minutes more. Shred the meat and stir in with onion mixture. Adjust salt and pepper if needed.
Boil pasta and drain when it’s al dente. Toss with the meat sauce, adding a little olive oil or butter if needed. Onions should be mushy. Stir in grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, and serve it with more cheese on top. Makes six servings.
— Kathy Gibbons
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