My mother is a great cook.
My love of food and cooking was most certainly transmitted by her passion of cooking. She puts a lot of love in the food she brings to the table, and you can taste it.
I was a very picky eater as a child. I did, however, have a few favourite meals and this was obsiously one of them. My mom used a traditional, slow-cooking method, and the aromas of the stewed beef filled the entire house. I still remember how it made me happy.
Olive oil was not a common ingredient in Québec pantries when I was a child. I remember the small bottle of olive oil we had. It was kept in the bathroom cabinet with other medications. We mainly used olive oil as an ointment to treat skin infections or inflammation, or maybe applying it to cracked skin or something. I don’t think anybody actually thought it could actually be eaten. All that to say that I probably tweaked the recipe just a tad. Nevertheless, it still fills the kitchen with the same aroma I remember as a child, and it never ceases to make me happy.
There is nothing Italian about this dish. It was transmitted from my mother, and it has been in her family for generations. It is a classic Québec spin on pasta, to warm our hearts on cold autumn or winter nights.
And by the smile I see on my little boy’s face just as he is about to start eating, I think I have transmitted the love of this dish to him as well.
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
450 g stewing beef, cut into 1.5-2.0 cm cubes
1 onion, finely chopped
1 celery rib, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 bay leaf
3 sprigs of thyme
1 beef bouillon cube
1 liter low sodium beef broth
450 g farfalle
parmesan cheese, for serving (optional)
1. In a pressure cooker over medium-high heat, sauté the beef cubes in the olive oil until they are dark brown. You will need to work in batches. Transfer to a plate and reserve.
2. Lower the heat to medium-low. Cook the vegetables, except the garlic, for a few minutes, scraping the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon. Add the garlic and cook for one more minute.
3. Return the beef and its accumulated juices to the pressure cooker. Add the thyme, the bay leaf, the beef bouillon and 500 ml of beef broth. Close the lid tightly and bring up to pressure over high heat. Once it reaches pressure, reduce the heat to maintain a steady steam, and cook for 30 minutes. Turn the heat off and depressurize slowly. Alternatively, you can cook the beef in a regular stock pot or dutch oven. Simmer, covered, for 2 1/2 to 3 hours, or until the beef falls apart.
4. Add the rest of the broth and bring to a boil. Add the farfalle, reduce the heat a bit, and cook until the pasta is al dente. You may have to add a bit of water if it becomes too thick. Season with salt and pepper, remove the thyme sprigs and the bay leaf.
5. Take off the heat, cover, and wait 5 to 10 minutes before eating. You will want a second portion. Guaranteed.