This was so savory and delicious, but preparing the meat for this was one of the more intense things I’ve done in the kitchen. I wanted to try it because I remember Chris Cosentino from The Next Iron Chef, and this was an adaptation of one of his recipes. I’ve never worked with beef shanks before, and I couldn’t find the boneless shanks the recipe suggested. So I bought bone-in shanks, just an extra pound to get enough meat. And I’ve now learned that they are extremely messy to get off of the bone and trim. The membrane around the shank is not pleasant, and it took me almost an hour just to do that. But once I had the meat off the bone and trimmed, it was all good. Really good.

Beef Brasato with Mint (April 2010 Food and Wine)

2 3/4 pounds trimmed boneless beef shank, cut into 2-inch pieces
One 750-milliliter bottle dry red wine
15 mint sprigs, stems reserved
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
One 35-ounce can peeled Italian tomatoes, crushed
1 pound fresh pappardelle
4 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, for serving

In a large resealable plastic bag, combine the beef with the wine, mint stems and a generous pinch of salt and pepper. Seal the bag and refrigerate overnight.

Preheat the oven to 325°. Drain the beef, reserving the marinade; discard the mint stems.

Pat the beef dry. In a large enameled cast-iron casserole, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add half of the meat to the casserole and cook over moderately high heat, turning occasionally, until well browned all over, about 12 minutes.

Transfer the meat to a plate. Brown the remaining meat over moderate heat.

Return all of the meat to the casserole. Add the marinade and bring to a boil.

Add the tomatoes, season with salt and pepper and bring to a boil.

Cover and braise in the oven for about 2 hours and 15 minutes, until the meat is very tender.

Using a slotted spoon, transfer the meat to a plate and shred with 2 forks.

Boil the braising liquid until reduced to 2 1/2 cups, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large pot of salted boiling water, cook the pappardelle (I could only find fresh fettucine) until al dente. Drain and return the pasta to the pot. Add the meat and the reduced braising liquid and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until the pasta is well coated with the brasato, about 2 minutes.

In a small skillet, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil until shimmering. Add the garlic and cook until lightly golden, about 1 minute. Add the mint leaves and cook for 10 seconds.

Pour the garlic-mint oil over the pasta and toss.

Serve in shallow bowls, passing the cheese alongside.