Italian Braised Oxtail Recipe

This Italian Braised Oxtail recipe is so rich you gotta take it out to the town square and cut it with a guillotine. Oxtail has been slow-cooked around the world for ages and was traditionally considered a poor man’s cut of meat, especially in Rome, where much of the cuisine is based on cucina povera—”the kitchen of the poor”. But now oxtail is generally expensive af because fine dining decided it was fancy. Most food we care about across cultures is peasant food, but if you serve it up on the right plate with the right description in the right font on the right menu, you can make Uncle Pennybags cough up triple the price.


20 mins


3 hrs




Braised Oxtail

  • 4 – 5 lb oxtails
  • 4 oz pancetta
  • 2 onions, quartered
  • 3 large carrots, chopped into 1” chunks
  • 3 large celery stalks, chopped into 1” chunks
  • 8-10 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ½ cup tightly packed fresh thyme sprigs
  • ¼ cup tightly packed sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 2 cups dry red wine
  • 3-4 cups beef stock
  • 3 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 28 oz can San Marzano tomatoes


Creamy Polenta

  • 1 cup stone ground polenta
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 4 Tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Italian Braised Oxtail served over Creamy Polenta in a large serving dish

Italian Braised Oxtail

Braised Oxtail

  1. Preheat oven to 325ºF.
  2. Season oxtails well with salt and pepper. Set aside.
  3. Heat Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add pancetta and cook until fat renders and pancetta is crispy. Remove pancetta and set aside, making sure to leave pancetta grease in Dutch oven.
  4. Sear each side of oxtails in pancetta grease until golden, about 1.5 – 2 minutes per side. Remove from Dutch oven and set aside.
  5. Add onions, carrots, celery, and garlic to Dutch oven. Sauté for about 3-4 minutes, or until the exterior of the veggies begins to get tender (you don’t want to cook them through, just caramelize them a bit). Stir in
  6. bay leaves, thyme, and rosemary. Sauté for another 1 minute or so to release the herb oils.
  7. Add wine and bring to simmer then reduce by half. Add beef stock, tomato paste, and San Marzano tomatoes. Bring to boil then reduce to simmer. Stir in pancetta. Cover and transfer to oven. Cook for 2-3 hours, or
  8. until oxtail meat falls off the bones. Remove from oven and serve immediately over Creamy Polenta.


Creamy Polenta

  1. In a saucepan over medium heat, bring milk and chicken broth to boil.
  2. Whisk in polenta until fully combined. Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, for ~30 minutes or until polenta has reached desired consistency. Stir in butter, Parmesan, and salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

Italian Braised Oxtail


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