This is comfort food at its best!!! It is FULL of flavor, rings all of the right rich flavor bells and it reheats excellently. I make it with big pieces of trimmed chuck roast that become "fall apart" tender because its all cooked at a very low temperature in the oven for 2½ hours.
2 pounds trimmed chuck roast
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
(1) 6 ounce can of tomato paste
4 cups beef broth (not bullion cubes)
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 teaspoons dry basil
1 teaspoon dry oregano
½ teaspoon fennel seed (do not leave out)
pinch of dry red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon of white sugar (do not leave out)
3 cups uncooked ziti
2 cups sliced mushrooms
Trim as much fat from the chuck steak as you can and brown it well in 1 tablespoon vegetable oil. Place the browned meat in a large oven proof pan that has a lid (or you can use foil). Saute the onions in the same frying pan until transparent. Add the tomato paste, beef broth and seasonings to the onions and heat it a little so the tomato paste completely mixes with the broth. Pour over the meat.
Put a tight fitting lid on the pan or seal it TIGHTLY with foil, and bake at 300 degrees for 2 hours. After 2 hours, remove the lid, and stir in 3 cups of UNcooked pasta and the mushrooms. Make sure the pasta and mushrooms are covered with sauce.
Put the lid back on (or cover tightly with foil) and turn the oven up to 350; bake for 30 more minutes.
NOTE:You can use any short, tube shaped noodle, but ziti works the best. NOTE: You can use ground beef, but brown it then drain it very well before baking.
NOTE: When baking the chuck roast, the low oven temperature of 300 degrees is important in order to get very tender beef.
NOTE: If you want to add cheese to this dish, I suggest Mozzarella or Jack cheese and add it AFTER everything is fully cooked, just mix in and put back in the oven for a few minutes, uncovered.