I bought some oxtail at market the other day intending to make an oxtail lasagne. Only thing was that we’ve already had bolognaise this week and it just seemed too ‘same’. I’ve been wanting to make a variation on Pioneer Woman’s Chicken Spaghetti and the combination of those two thoughts inspired this dish. I made it over a couple of days as there are lots of steps and the cooking of the meat is slow. The downside of this for me was that by the time I was ready to serve it, the autumn weather had receded and it was 32 degrees again. Never mind the weather, it was still delicious.

Oxtail Spaghetti Casserole
1.5kg ox tail
3/4 cup red wine (pour a whole cup and drink a little)
2 shallots, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tablespoons butter
2/3 cup beef stock
1 head cauliflower
1 large eggplant
1 tablespoon flour
3 teaspoons unsweetened, free trade cocoa.
300g spagetti
500ml milk
50g plain flour
30g butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
pinch freshly ground nutmeg
1 cup grated parmesan

Brown oxtail in heavy frypan with a little oil. Brown it well, this is developing a nice rich flavour so take your time. Meanwhile, preheat your slow cooker. When thoroughly browned, deglaze the pan with the wine.

Remove oxtail from fry pan and place in slow cooker.

Add garlic, shallots and butter to fry pan, turn heat down to medium and cook for 2 – 3 minutes. Empty fry pan into slow cooker.

Add beef stock to slow cooker. Cook for 4 – 5 hours on low until meat falls easily off the bones.

Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Dice eggplant and cut cauliflower into medium florets. Place in baking dish and drizzle generously with olive iol. Bake until well coloured, turning occasionally.

Pull meat off bones nd discard bones. Return meat to slow cooker. Add flour and cocoa and stir through until well combined and liquid has thickened. Allow meat to cool so fat can be easily skimmed off the top. Stir cauliflower and eggplant through meat.

Make bechamel sauce. I did it in the thermomix. Place butter, milk, flour, salt and nutmeg in thermomix and cook at 90 degrees for 7 minutes on speed 4. Alternatively, you could melt butter in a small saucepan. Stir flour through. Add salt and nutmeg. Gradually pour milk in, whisking constantly until slightly thickened.

Cook spaghetti until al dente.

Mix meat, bechamel, pasta and parmesan together and bake in a preheated oven (180 degrees) for about 20 – 25 minutes.

Mmmm, hearty!