“I may not be the prettiest or the most popular girl in school.
But given the chance, I have the biggest heart to love you with”
I appreciate beautiful things in life ~ a girl wearing her beautiful smile, a raindrop hanging delicately off a leaf, a meal prepared with love or an intricate passage of music written more than three hundred years ago.
Some less significant things, such as a simple gesture, or even a mere thought, can be more meaningful than the most expensive gift money can ever buy.
Oxtail Spag Bol
So when I received samples for Leggo’s Providore series of premium Italian sauces and other goodies from Simplot Australia, I did not intend to cook it with expensive organic vegetables or premium cuts of meat.
Instead, I thought about the ‘modest cuts’ – the ones tucked away on the racks behind your local butcher.
Gravy and shin beef, flank steak, beef brisket, topside, oxtail and chuck steaks look a lot less appetizing and glamorous compared to French-boned lamb shanks and cutlets, beef eye fillets and tenderloin.
Eyeing these prized cuts of meat on display in the gleaming glass counter triggers a thought that transports me back to my high school days.
I vividly remember some of the modest-looking girls would voluntarily take a back seat for the more popular girls to parade themselves and ‘shine’ at high school parties and prom nights.
Needless to say, most of the boys were fixated over these girls – all dolled up in their pretty dresses with elaborate make-up, hairstyles and fingernails delicately manicured.
Although I enjoyed the company of these popular girls, conversations with them were like searing rib eye steak on high heat. I had to be cautious about what I say, just like I have to watch my steak carefully or it will overcook.
On the other hand, I felt something profoundly endearing whenever I was with one of those pony-tailed, bespectacled and innocent-looking girls. There was no pretence. Honest and frank conversations just flowed effortlessly and these girls were always eager getting to know me as I was them.
As much as I like having a choice cut of rib eye for dinner, I equally enjoy the cooking process for more humble cuts of meat such as oxtail. Unlike searing a rib eye steak which may take all of six minutes, slowly simmering oxtail requires less effort though more time and patience. However, you draw comfort in knowing the gentle simmer will eventually develop into a hearty and wholesome meal.
Oxtail Spag Bol recipe
- 1 500ml bottle of Leggo’s Provincial Italian Tomatoes with Grilled Bell Peppers
- 1 can of peeled tomatoes
- 3 carrots
- 2 large brown onion
- 8 white mushrooms
- 2 kg of oxtail cut on the joint
- Half cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoon dried herbs
- Salt and black pepper to taste
- Spaghetti or pasta of your choice for 4 persons
- Sprigs of fresh coriander
1. Gently simmer the oxtail in a stewing pot with 1 litre of water in low to medium heat, ensuring the meat is covered by the water. (This process takes approximately two hours and once the meat is soft, separate it from the broth, skim off excess fat and set aside.)
2. Dice carrots finely and slice mushrooms and tomatoes. I love cutting carrots into different shapes and sizes for no good reason other than visual variety and to create bold “chunkiness” in the spag bol.
3. In a separate cooking pot, add EVOO and sautee diced onion gently, adding salt and freshly cracked black pepper immediately to draw out the flavours of the onions.
4. Then add the carrots to the diced onions.
5. Turn up the heat and add the cooked oxtail to the vegetables.
6. Add Leggo’s Provincial Italian Tomatoes with Grilled Bell Peppers, canned tomatoes and oxtail broth to simmer the meat further.
7. When the sauce is simmering, stir in 2 generous tablespoon of dried mixed herbs and a splash of good red wine. (By this, I mean wine that you would want to drink rather than “wine for cooking”).
Tip 1: Fresh herbs such as basil, oregano and thyme are great for spag bol. But I find dried herbs to be no less intense and flavoursome if preparing a sauce as opposed to using fresh herbs for a salad.
Tip 2: If the sauce becomes too thick, add a little of the oxtail broth.
8. When carrots are soft and the meat almost falling off the bone, stir in the mushroom and simmer the sauce for another 10 minutes before serving.
9. Meanwhile, cook spaghetti in boiling water until al dente and add 3 – 4 tablespoon of salt into the boiling water. Once cooked, rinse spaghetti in cold water to stop the cooking. Then drizzle with EVOO and mix for a smooth and silky pasta.
10. Ladle the sauce onto the pasta and top with freshly cracked black pepper, coriander and drizzle more EVOO if preferred.
Read about my previous oxtail spag bol here.
Oxtail generally retails between $8 – $12 per kg in butchers and supermarkets. Choose a mixture of large and smaller bones. Larger pieces of oxtail have chunky meat while smaller bones have longer strands.
Oxtail should ALWAYS be sliced cleanly on the joint as all Western butchers do. Some Chinese butchers literally butcher oxtail by slicing through the bone with their electric meat slicer – reject these ones.
Leggo’s Providore series of premium Italian sauces
This series is available in four flavours:
- Vine Ripened Tomatoes with Caramelized Baby Onions (500gm)
- Provincial Italian Tomatoes with Grilled Bell Peppers (500gm)
- Italian Tomatoes with Whole Cherry Tomatoes & Chilli (500gm)
- Parmesan, Emmenthal, Mascarpone and Roquefort (490gm)
Chief Marketing Officer at Simplot Australia, Suzanne Harman says “the latest offering from Leggo’s target those who are looking for a true premium dining experience, encompassing unique ingredients and convenience that has not come at the expense of flavour.”
This new Providore series range is available in Coles at RRP 6.29 for a 490gm / 500gm bottle.
For more information and product specifications about Leggo’s Provincial Italian Tomatoes with Grilled Bell Peppers, please visit Providore Series website here.
I have paired this oxtail with Chinese wanton noodles and garnished it with fresh coriander leaves and a generous sprinkle of freshly grounded black pepper. Despite the subtle Asian influence, I believe a fork still works better than chopsticks in paying homage to the traditions of Italian spaghetti bolognese.
For a spicy condiment, I used Italian style fresh chilli which has been marinated with salt, lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil.
Taste & flavour
Personally, I found the taste of Leggo’s Provincial Italian Tomatoes with Grilled Bell Peppers to be a little sweet for my liking. I balanced this sweetness with a few dashes of soy sauce and a tablespoon of lemon juice and this dish turned out brilliantly. The flavour of bell peppers (or capsicum) in the sauce is also quite distinctive.
The range of Providore Series is produced in Parma, the food valley of Northern Italy. At a RRP of $6.29 a bottle, the price of this imported product is significantly higher than local brands which retail between $2.00 – $3.50 a bottle of similar size.
Oxtail may not be the prettiest or most popular cut of beef. But given the chance to slowly simmer, its beautiful and tender meat would just fall off the bone with a gentle nudge of your fork.
On a cold winter night, oxtail spag bol has the biggest heart to love you with.
This blog post is a product review of Leggo’s Provincial Italian Tomatoes with Grilled Bell Peppers.
ChopinandMysaucepan received complimentary products from Simplot Australia courtesy of thrive pr + communications. All views and opinions on this blog post are our own.