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Agrodolce beef cheeks with pappardelle

Australian Gourmet Traveller pasta recipe for agrodolce beef cheeks with pappardelle.

By Gourmet Food Team
  • 40 mins preparation
  • 4 hrs 10 mins cooking plus making pasta, marinating, resting
  • Serves 6
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Agrodolce beef cheeks with pappardelle
You'll need to begin this recipe a day ahead.


  • 4 beef cheeks (about 1kg)
  • 500 ml red wine
  • 1½ tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, coarsely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 litre beef stock (4 cups)
  • 4 rosemary sprigs
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar, or to taste
  • 80 ml saba (see note) (1/3 cup)
  • 60 ml red wine vinegar, or to taste (¼ cup)
  • 1 cup (loosely packed) flat-leaf parsley, coarsely chopped
  • Finely grated rind of 2 lemons
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped


  • 1
    Combine beef cheeks and red wine in a non-reactive container, refrigerate to marinate overnight, turning occasionally.
  • 2
    Preheat oven to 110C. Heat oil in a large casserole over high heat. Remove beef from marinade (reserve marinade), pat dry and cook, turning once, until browned (1-2 minutes each side), remove beef, set aside. Reduce heat to low, add onion and garlic to casserole, sauté until tender (7-10 minutes). Add tomato paste and stir occasionally until paste darkens (1-2 minutes). Add stock, three rosemary sprigs, reserved marinade and bring to the simmer. Add beef, cover and cook in oven until very tender (3-3½ hours).
  • 3
    Meanwhile, for pappardelle, cut pasta into 2cm-thick ribbons and set aside on a tray dusted with semolina.
  • 4
    Remove beef from liquid, strain liquid through a fine sieve into a saucepan. Add sugar, saba, vinegar and remaining rosemary. Reduce liquid over medium heat until slightly thickened (10-15 minutes). Season to taste, adding more sugar and vinegar to taste. Coarsely shred beef, toss through sauce, keep warm.
  • 5
    For gremolata, combine ingredients in a bowl, stir to combine and set aside.
  • 6
    Cook pasta in a large saucepan of boiling salted water until al dente (1-2 minutes). Drain, toss through beef sauce and serve hot, scattered with gremolata.


Note Saba is a thick, sweet condiment made from grape must. If unavailable, substitute vincotto.