This robust and rich pasta dish is quite perfect to eat after a long winter's day. I love pasta sauces that can turn a simple dish into a meal worthy to eat on its own – and this is most definitely one of those. Warm crusty bread is all that is needed as an accompaniment to mop up the last of this most delicious meal.
3 tbsp olive oil
2 carrots, peeled and chopped fairy finely
1 stick of celery, chopped
3 fresh bay leaves
1 bunch of sage
3 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
30g/1oz good-quality, chopped tinned tomatoes
700ml/231/2fl oz red wine
Pour the olive oil into a heavy-based pan large enough to hold all the ingredients and place over a low heat. When the oil is warm, add the carrots and celery, bay leaves, sage and garlic and sweat for 15 minutes. The vegetables should be on their way to being quite soft.
Season the oxtail well all over and add to the vegetables along with the tomatoes and wine, and turn the heat up to medium. Place a lid on the pan and bring to a boil, then immediately turn down and cook gently for three hours, by which time the meat will be falling off the bone and the sauce will be glossy and rich.
Remove the meat from the pan and, when it's cool enough to handle, pick off any meat that is still attached to the bone. Discard the bone and return the meat to the pan, then taste and adjust the seasoning.
This sauce can be made up to two days ahead of when you would like to serve it. I suggest thick, flat papardelle.