Oxtail with Wine and Tomatoes

Coda di Bue alla Vagginara


  • 1.6 kg/ lb oxtails
  • flour
  • 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 3 carrots, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 glass dry red wine
  • 3 tablespoons tomato purée
  • small bunch of parsley
  • 500 g/1 lb2 oz plum tomatoes, peeled and chopped roughly
  • 6 cloves
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper


Cut the oxtails into 5 cm/2 in pieces, trim off as much fat as possible and leave to soak in cold water for at least 4 hours. Drain, then rinse them under cold running water and dry thoroughly with a cloth. Dip the oxtails in flour, and shake off the surplus.

Fry the oxtails in olive oil until golden all over. Transfer the oxtails to a heavy casserole.

In fresh olive oil, fry the onion, carrot and garlic. When lightly browned, add the vegetables to the casserole. Add the wine and reduce down, then add the tomato purée and enough boiling water to cover the oxtails. Season with salt and pepper, add the cloves and parsley. Cover the casserole and leave to simmer for about 5 hours over a low heat.

During the cooking, stir the oxtails from time to time to make sure they do not stick.

One hour before the end of the cooking, add the peeled and chopped tomatoes.

Remove the casserole from the heat and skim off the fat. It is better to leave the oxtails to go cold overnight and then remove any fat which may be left. The oxtail sauce should be dense.

Serve with celery, chopped in 1 cm/½ in pieces, and boiled.