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At Milk Street, we like to make meals easier by cooking a large batch of stew on Sunday and repurposing it for meals during the week, each with its own distinct personality. Peposo alla Fornacina is a boldly flavored Tuscan beef stew with black pepper, red wine, and garlic; it pairs wonderfully with simple mashed potatoes, buttered noodles, or, our favorite option, polenta. Later in the week it transforms into a savory ragu for pappardelle with the addition of canned tomatoes and fresh basil. Finally, the leftovers are spiced up with red pepper flakes and tucked into toasted ciabatta rolls with broccoli rabe for an easy and satisfying sandwich.

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Tuscan Beef and Black Pepper Stew (Peposo alla Fornacina)

Makes 6 servings

Make sure to use coarsely ground black pepper, as it has more presence and better coats the beef.

Don’t be shy about trimming the fat from the chuck roast. Remove as much as you can, which may mean shedding about 1 pound. Pull the roast apart at the natural seams, then use a sharp knife to trim the fat and cut the pieces into 2-inch chunks. Serve it with polenta, mashed potatoes, or braised beans.

6 to 7 pounds boneless beef chuck roast, well trimmed and cut into 2-inch chunks

Kosher salt and coarsely ground black pepper

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 large yellow onion, halved and thinly sliced

12 medium garlic cloves, peeled

3 tablespoons tomato paste

2 sprigs rosemary, plus 1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary

2 cups dry red wine

Heat the oven to 325 degrees with a rack in the lower-middle position. Place the beef in a large bowl, sprinkle with 1 tablespoon salt and 2 tablespoons pepper, then toss.

Place a large Dutch oven over medium heat, add the oil, and heat until shimmering. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring, until the onion is lightly browned, 7 to 9 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, until the paste begins to brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Nestle the beef and rosemary sprigs in the onion mixture, cover, and transfer to the oven. Cook for 2 hours.

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Remove the pot from the oven. Stir the mixture, then return the pot to the oven uncovered. Cook until a knife inserted into a piece of beef meets no resistance, another 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

Using a slotted spoon, transfer the meat to a medium bowl. Set a fine-mesh strainer over a fat separator or a medium bowl. Pour the meat juices into the strainer and press on the solids to push them through; discard any solids left behind.

Pour the wine into the now-empty pot and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, scraping up any browned bits. Reduce to medium heat and simmer until the wine is syrupy and reduced to 1 cup, about 5 to 7 minutes. Meanwhile, if you strained the meat juices into a bowl, use a spoon to skim off and discard the fat from the surface.

Pour the defatted meat juices into the pot. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened to the consistency of heavy cream, 5 to 7 minutes. Return the beef to the pot, add the minced rosemary, and stir gently. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the meat is heated, about 5 minutes. Stir in 2 teaspoons pepper, then taste and season with salt.

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Pappardelle With Tuscan Beef Ragu

Makes 4 servings

Pappardelle with Tuscan beef ragu.
Pappardelle with Tuscan beef ragu.Connie Miller of CB Creatives

You can use any type of long, flat pasta for this dish. We prefer canned whole tomatoes that have been crushed by hand because they break down more easily than diced tomatoes, yielding a ragu that coats and combines nicely with the pasta.

Don’t forget to reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water before draining the noodles.

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

5 medium garlic cloves, minced

3 tablespoons tomato paste

1 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes, crushed by hand

3 cups Tuscan Beef and Black Pepper Stew (see previous recipe)

Kosher salt and ground black pepper

12 ounces pappardelle or fettuccine pasta

1/2 cup finely chopped fresh basil

Grated Parmesan or pecorino romano cheese, to serve

In a 12-inch skillet over medium heat, combine the oil, garlic, and tomato paste. Cook, stirring, until the paste begins to brown, 1 to 3 minutes. Stir in the canned tomatoes with juices and bring to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the beef stew to the skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, until heated, 5 to 7 minutes. Using the back of a spoon or a spatula, break the chunks of meat into bite-size pieces. Taste and season with salt and pepper.

While the ragu cooks, in a large pot, bring 4 quarts water to a boil. Stir in 1 tablespoon salt and the pasta; cook until just shy of al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking water, then drain and set aside.

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Add the drained pasta and the reserved cooking water to the ragu. Cook, tossing, until the pasta is al dente, about 3 minutes. Off heat, stir in the basil. Serve with the grated cheese.

Beef Ragu and Broccoli Rabe Sandwiches

Makes 4 servings

Beef ragu and broccoli rabe sandwiches.
Beef ragu and broccoli rabe sandwiches.Connie Miller of CB Creatives

Crusty sandwich rolls with a hearty crumb are best for these sandwiches. We liked ciabatta rolls, but a full-size loaf of ciabatta cut into

4 pieces works, too. Don’t forget to dry the broccoli rabe after removing it from the ice water. This will prevent the oil from splattering when the rabe is added to the skillet.

Kosher salt and ground black pepper

1-pound bunch broccoli rabe, trimmed

3 cups Tuscan Beef and Black Pepper Stew (see previous recipe)

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

5 medium garlic cloves, thinly sliced

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

4 crusty sandwich rolls, such as ciabatta, split

12 ounces sliced provolone cheese

In a large pot, bring 4 quarts of water to a boil. In a large bowl, combine 3 quarts water, 2 tablespoons kosher salt, and 1 quart ice and stir until the salt dissolves. Add 2 tablespoons salt and the broccoli rabe to the boiling water and cook until the rabe is bright green and crisp-tender, about 40 seconds. Using tongs, immediately transfer it to the ice water. Let stand for 30 seconds, then remove from the ice water, thoroughly pat dry, and cut crosswise into 1-inch pieces. Set aside.

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Heat the broiler with a rack about 6 inches from the element. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and set aside. Place the beef stew in a medium bowl, cover, and microwave on high until hot, 1 to 3 minutes, stirring once halfway through. Using 2 forks, shred the meat into bite-size pieces. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

In a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat, add the oil and heat until shimmering. Add the rabe and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the garlic and pepper flakes and cook, stirring, until the garlic is light golden, about 1 minute. Transfer to a medium bowl and season with salt and pepper. Drizzle with the vinegar and toss to combine. Set aside.

Place the roll halves cut sides up on the prepared baking sheet. Broil until they begin to brown, about 1 minute. Divide the cheese evenly among the top and bottom halves, then continue to broil until the cheese is just melted, about 30 seconds. Divide the beef among the 4 bottom rolls, then arrange the rabe on the beef. Cover with the tops, then cut each sandwich in half.


Christopher Kimball is the founder of Milk Street, home to a magazine, school, and radio and television shows. Globe readers get 12 weeks of complete digital access, plus two issues of Milk Street print magazine, for just $1. Go to 177milkstreet.com/globe. Send comments to magazine@globe.com.