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Perfect match: oxtail risotto with sangiovese

You'll need

1.75 litres (7 cups) chicken stock 40 gm butter, coarsely chopped 1 onion, finely chopped 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped 400 gm (2 cups) vialone nano rice 250 ml (1 cup) sangiovese 200 gm bone marrow pieces, coarsely chopped 80 gm (1 cup) finely grated parmesan 1 cup (loosely packed) flat-leaf parsley leaves Rind of 1 lemon, removed with a peeler ½ lemon, juice only   Braised oxtail 60 ml (¼ cup) olive oil 1.5 kg oxtail pieces 8 pickling onions 2 stalks of celery, thinly sliced 2 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced 1 tbsp each of coarsely chopped rosemary and thyme leaves 2 fresh bay leaves 500 ml (2 cups) beef stock 250 ml (1 cup) sangiovese


  • 01
  • For braised oxtail, preheat oven to 150C. Heat olive oil in a large, heavy-based saucepan over medium heat, add oxtail and cook until brown (5-10 minutes), remove using a slotted spoon and keep warm. Add onions, celery, garlic and herbs and cook until celery is soft and onions start to colour (5-7 minutes). Return oxtail to the pan, add beef stock, sangiovese and 500ml of water and season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook covered in oven until meat is falling off the bone (3-3½ hours). When cool enough to handle, pull meat from bone and discard bones. Strain sauce into a small saucepan and set oxtail and vegetables aside. Cool sauce to room temperature, skim off fat, bring to boil over medium heat and cook until reduced to 1 cup (10-15 minutes). Keep warm.
  • 02
  • Meanwhile, bring chicken stock to the boil over medium heat, reduce heat to low and gently simmer. Melt butter in a heavy-based saucepan over medium heat, sauté onion and garlic until onion is translucent (5-7 minutes). Add rice and cook, stirring for 1 minute, then add wine and cook until evaporated (3-5 minutes). Add stock 1 cup at a time, adding more as liquid is absorbed and stirring occasionally. Add bone marrow with last cup of stock, and cook until rice is tender. Add oxtail and vegetables and cook until warmed through (3-5 minutes). Add parmesan, stir to combine and season to taste.
  • 03
  • Combine parsley and lemon rind, and finely chop. Serve risotto scattered with parsley mixture, and drizzled with lemon juice and reduced oxtail sauce.

Some grape varieties are quite clearly designed by mother nature to be consumed as part of a carnivorous diet. Take sangiovese: the renowned Tuscan red grape, responsible for (among other famous wines) Chianti. It can be perfectly pleasant when taken on its own - especially if it's from an Australian vineyard, where ample sunshine imbues it with ripe fruit flavours, or if it's been made in a soft New World style by an Italian producer. But there's a savouriness, a tannic grip to the grape - a dryness - that can taste a bit, well, dry and mean if drunk on its own, but that fills out, mellows and caresses the tongue if partnered with meat. Oxtail, with all its sticky richness, is a wonderful accompaniment to sangiovese. Add the salty sweetness of parmesan and the nutty, earthiness of rice and you have a match that is perfect for the cooler, (hopefully) damper weather. MAX ALLEN

At A Glance

  • Serves 6 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 6 people

Featured in

May 2008

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