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Fennel agnolotti with oxtail ragu

Handmade pasta with a creamy fennel and leek filling, and a slow-cooked oxtail ragu. Perfect for special occasions with a bottle of Collector Reserve or Sangiovese
Prep Time2 hrs
Cook Time4 hrs
Course: Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 4


for the oxtail ragu

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 kg oxtail or 300g chuck steak, diced
  • pinch salt
  • 1 small brown onion diced
  • 1 medium carrot diced
  • 1 stick celery diced
  • 500 ml red wine
  • 1 400g tin of diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup chicken stock

for the fresh pasta

  • 150 g 00 flour
  • 50 g fine semolina
  • pinch salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp olive oil

for the fennel pasta filling

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 bulbs fennel trimmed and sliced
  • 1 leek halved and finely sliced
  • 1 small brown onion diced
  • 3 cloves garlic finely diced
  • 100 ml cream
  • salt to taste
  • pepper to taste

to garnish

  • fennel fronds


for the oxtail ragu

  • In a heavy based pan, heat olive oil and butter until melted. Add meat, a generous pinch of salt and brown on all sides.
  • Add onion, carrot and celery and cook until softened and aromatic.
  • Increase the heat, add the red wine and simmer for about 10 minutes or until reduced by half.
  • Add the diced tomatoes and chicken stock and simmer, uncovered for 2-3 hours until the oxtail is completely tender.
    the seasoning and reduce over low heat if you prefer a thicker sauce. 
  • Remove the oxtail and when it has cooled sufficiently pull the meat off,
    discarding the bones. Place the meat back in the sauce. Check the seasoning and reduce the ragu over low heat if you prefer a thicker sauce. 

for the fresh pasta

  • Place the flour, semolina and salt in a large bowl and mix to combine. Make a well in the centre and add the eggs and olive oil.
    Alternatively, pop all the ingredients into a KitchenAid bowl with the paddle attachment until a dough forms. Switch to the dough hook and set to speed 2 for a further 3-4 minutes until the dough becomes smoother.
  • Using the tips of your fingers, mix the eggs with the flour, incorporating a little at a time, until everything is combined. Knead until the dough comes together and feels smooth to the touch, adding flour a tsp at a time, if the dough is too sticky.
  • Wrap in cling wrap and set aside for at least 30 minutes.

for the fennel pasta filling

  • Heat half the oil in a heavy based frying pan and brown the fennel on both sides. Add a tbsp of water and turn down the heat to allow the fennel to cook through. When cooked, remove from the pan, roughly chop and set aside.
  • Using the same frying pan, heat the remaining oil and add leek, onion and garlic. Cook on low heat until cooked through and aromatic. Add the fennel back to the pan and stir through, making sure all the ingredients are cooked through. Pour in 100ml, and add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Allow to cool, then pulse in a food processor until the fennel is the size of rice grains. Taste and season generously with salt - the pasta will mute the taste of the filling somewhat so season so that you can taste the salt.
  • Place in a piping bag and set aside.

to assemble

  • I find it easiest to work with one sheet of pasta at a time to prevent the sheets drying out. I find visual guides much easier to follow, so may I suggest you watch this kickass nonna over at Pasta Grannies https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BC3KkdqqvDQ
  • Roll the pasta to the thinnest setting, then pipe hazelnut sized mounds about 1cm away from the bottom edge. Fold the pasta dough over and pinch on either side to seal. Press any excess air out the open ends of the pasta and cut along the long front edge, so that you end up with long roll of pasta shapes. Cut along each side so that you end up with what looks like tiny bon bons.
    Set aside the pasta.
  • Bring a pot of water to the boil and salt generously.
  • Cook pasta in batches, for 2-3 minutes. Wait for the pasta to float to the top and taste for your preference of doneness - I usually allow another 10-15 seconds after they float.
  • Toss with oxtail ragu and garnish with fennel fronds.


Chicken stock gives a cleaner flavour to this oxtail ragu than beef stock does. 
If you can't be bothered making fresh pasta, make the filling and fill into cooked giant pasta shells, or cooked canneloni tubes.