After braising, these oxtails yield tender meat and a rich stew. Ask your butcher to cut the oxtails into 2 1/2" pieces.
- 2 1⁄2 lb. oxtails, cut into 2 1/2" pieces
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 4 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 oz. pancetta or guanciale, minced
- 6 ribs celery (5 whole, 1 minced)
- 5 whole cloves
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 medium carrot, minced
- 1 small white onion, minced
- 1 dried bay leaf
- 2 tbsp. tomato paste
- 1 1⁄4 cups red wine, such as chianti
- 1 (28-oz.) can whole peeled plum tomatoes, preferably San Marzano, undrained and crushed by hand
- 1⁄8 tsp. ground cinnamon, plus more to taste
- Crusty bread or pasta, for serving
Season oxtails with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a 5-qt. Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add oxtails; cook, turning once, until browned, 8–10 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
Put pancetta, minced celery, cloves, garlic, carrots, onions, and bay leaf into Dutch oven and cook, stirring, until soft, 5–6 minutes. Add tomato paste; cook, stirring, for 6 minutes. Add wine, bring to a boil; cook until evaporated, about 5 minutes. Add oxtails along with tomatoes and 1 1⁄2 cups water. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer, covered, for 2 hours.
Add whole celery; cook over medium heat, uncovered, until celery is tender, about 40 minutes. Stir in cinnamon and season with salt and pepper. Transfer oxtails to plates and spoon some of sauce and celery on top. Serve with crusty bread.
Pairing Note Try an acidic, full-bodied barbera, like the 2006 Canalegrande Barbera & Bonarda from Emilia-Romagna ($20). — David Rosengarten