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Pasta with Minced Beef

September 7, 2010
Pasta with Beef
Pasta with Minced Beef

The coming of fall means hearty food in my neck of the woods. (We are squeezing the last trail rides of Fall into our schedules but this one is best cooked at home.) This means warm and hearty stews and such. I have a recipe from Switzerland that I think you’ll really like. Switzerland produces more than 450 types of cheese, each from a particular area with it’s own unique flavor and texture. For this recipe it’s from the Swiss Appenzell canton (state) in the easternmost part of the country that borders Liechtenstein. The cheese from this area is the spiciest of the Swiss made cheeses; its flavors come from the herbal brine used to produce it and different grades are produced by varying the aging timeline from three to at least six moths for the “Extra“ grade. The quality of the cheese is closely monitored and only produced in a very small area that consists of Appenzell, Innerrhoden, Appenzell Ausserhoden and parts of St. Gallen and Thurgau. Appenzell is also known for it’s mountains but most of all for the quiet generosity of the local people. Many of Switzerland’s city dwellers go to Apenzell to get away from it all. The Alpstein
mountain range is known for it’s hiking and stunning views, but most of all the locally produced dairy products. So when you have the opportunity to travel to Switzerland, this is one place that should be at the top of your to-do list.

Pasta with Minced Beef
The Beef:
1 ½ lb ground beef (locally sourced when possible)
2 Walla Walla onions diced
½ stick unsalted butter (Tillamook is best)
2 Tbs tomato sauce or paste
1 ½ cup red wine such as Cabernet or Merlot
1 can condensed beef broth
1 bay leaf
1 sprig fresh Rosemary
Sauté the onions in the butter until clear. Add the ground beef and begin to brown it. Next add the wine and tomato paste/sauce and reduce on medium low heat until it’s reduced by one half it’s original volume. Add the beef stock, bay leaf and rosemary and simmer until this thickens. Season to taste with freshly cracked black pepper and sea salt.
The Pasta:
12 Ounces elbow macaroni cooked al dente
1 large Walla Walla onion diced
¼ stick butter (more if needed)
3 ounces whipping cream (half and half will work in a pinch)
½ stick unsalted butter
4 ½ ounces grated Appenzeller cheese. (I have used cave aged Le Gruyere from Costco)
Salt and pepper to taste
After boiling the pasta drain it and set aside. Sauté the onions keeping a close eye on them until golden brown (you can reserve some for garnishing the pasta) Next add the pasta and the cream to the remaining onions, season with salt and pepper turn the heat to the lowest setting. In another small pan heat the butter until it starts to foam, but don’t brown or burn it. Plate and sprinkle the warm noodles with the grated cheese and pour the hot butter over the top, and garnish with reserved onions. Serve this with the ground beef, and a side of homemade applesauce. Enjoy!

Photo courtesy of Kurt Winner