Fire-Roasted Peppers with Braised Oxtail

Recipe By Chef Stuart Lane | Spinasse & Artusi

Beef Substitutes

Chef Stuart Lane knows more than a thing or two about Northern Italian classics, and he’s got some ideas on how to beef up a really traditional Northern Italian dish, that usually features tuna: Peperoni con Salsa Tonnata. In case you don’t know Italian, the only thing lost in translation here is the fish. Instead of Roasted Peppers with Tuna Sauce we will be stuffing Fire-Roasted Peppers with Braised Oxtail. The Substitute: Beef Oxtail, braised in an umami-rich red wine sauce is delicious on its own, or Chef Stuart would even serve it over fresh pasta or maybe risotto. But stuffed into roasted red peppers, this is a bundle of beefy goodness.

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  • 6 pieces Beef Oxtail
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 yellow onion, peeled and large chop
  • 1 carrot, peeled and large chop
  • 1 rib celery, large chop
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 2 quarts beef stock
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 large red peppers 
  • Lemon-Caper Aioli, recipe below
  • Balsamic vinegar, to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  
  2. Trim the medium sized oxtail pieces of any excess fat.  Season well with salt and pepper.  In a Dutch oven with a lid, heat oil until shimmering over medium high heat.  Add the oxtail pieces flat side down, turn occasionally until the oxtail is uniformly browned.  Remove the oxtail to a plate.  
  3. Add the Sofrito (onion, carrot and celery) to the pot and cook until lightly caramelized.  
  4. Turn the heat down to medium-low. Add the tomato paste and cook for another 5 minutes stirring frequently.  Deglaze with the red wine, stirring to release all color from the bottom of the pot.  
  5. Add the Oxtail back to the the pot. Add beef stock until 3/4 of the way up the side of the oxtail.  Place a piece of parchment paper, cut to the shape of the Dutch oven over the Oxtail and braising liquid. Cover with lid and bring to a simmer.  
  6. Place Dutch oven in preheated oven. Cook for 2-3 hours until the meat is fork tender and falling away from bones.
  7. Carefully remove the lid and parchment. Remove Oxtail from braising liquid and set aside. Carefully remove the meat from the bones and roughly chop the Oxtail. Allow meat to come down to room temperature.
  8. Carefully strain fat and vegetables from the braising liquid. Return pot to medium-high heat on stove top and simmer until reduced by half.  Whisk balsamic vinegar in to your taste and season with salt and pepper as needed. 
  9. Prepare to stuff your peppers by mixing chopped Oxtail with enough lemon-caper aioli to coat the meat and help the meat hold together. Add salt and pepper to taste. Carefully stuff the Oxtail and aioli mixture inside the roasted red peppers. If your pepper splits, simply wrap the pepper around the filling and place seam side down on plate.   
  10. Garnish your stuffed peppers with a generous drizzle of the reduced braising sauce, additional balsamic vinegar (or balsamic glaze) and chopped fresh parsley. You can serve these stuffed peppers slightly warm to room temperature on their own, accompanied by fresh pasta, or on a bed of risotto. As a very traditional presentation, the peppers can also be chilled and served as an appetizer in your multi-course Italian feast.

For Fire-Roasted Peppers:

If you have a gas stove top, turn the flame to medium-high heat and put the peppers directly in the flame, turn occasionally until evenly charred.  If you have an electric range, put the peppers on an oven safe pan and use the broiler setting on high, turning the peppers occasionally until evenly charred.  Immediately put the charred peppers in a paper bag and close tightly.  Wait 15 minutes and then peel off the blackened skin of the pepper, wipe with a paper towel.  Once cleaned, cut off the stem end (the wider end), remove the seeds while keeping the pepper as whole as possible.  Season inside and out with a little salt.  Lightly coat the pepper with EVOO and set aside to stuff later.

To Make the Lemon-Caper Aioli:

  • 3 fresh eggs yokes
  • 2 cloves garlic, microplaned
  • 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil and 3/4 cup pure olive oil, combined
  • lemon juice
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons capers, chopped

Add the egg yolks, garlic and 2 tablespoons of the lemon juice to a food processor.  Start the machine and slowly drizzle the oils into the machine. Add the lemon juice 1 tablespoon at a time to thin it out occasionally. Once the oil is completely combined you should have a mayonnaise consistency. Season with salt, pepper and add more lemon juice to taste.  Stir in the chopped capers.  Store aioli in refrigerator and enjoy extra in place of traditional mayonnaise.