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Brisket Business

Star chef Bill Telepan reinvents the holiday staple

Liel Leibovitz
September 17, 2009
Liel Leibovitz
Chef Bill Telepan makes Shredded Brisket PastaLiel Leibovitz
Liel Leibovitz
Chef Bill Telepan makes Shredded Brisket PastaLiel Leibovitz

Brisket. It’s a Rosh Hashanah tradition, but it’s boring, the same old cumbersome cut of meat. Until, that is, we put it in the hands of Bill Telepan, the chef and owner of an eponymous Upper West Side restaurant and one of the nation’s most celebrated culinary masters. Married to a Jewish woman, and introduced by her to the Jewish festivals and their corresponding dishes, he has deconstructed the brisket: he cooked it, chopped it, and recreated it again, as a pasta sauce.

Here’s Telepan’s recipe for Shredded Brisket Pasta. It’s delicious.

Shredded brisket pasta (Serves 6)


1 3-lb. piece beef brisket

Salt and black pepper to taste

4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

3 medium carrots

3 medium celery ribs

3 large red onions (a total of one pound)

1-1/3 cup dry red wine

3 cups veal stock

1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes

12 garlic cloves


Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Pat brisket dry and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Heat two tablespoons of oil in a 6-quart heavy pot over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then add brisket and brown on both sides, about 12 minutes total.

Cut carrots, celery, and onions into one-inch pieces, then pulse in two batches in a food processor until finely chopped.

Transfer brisket to a platter. Add one tablespoon of oil and chopped vegetables to pot, then sauté over moderately high heat, stirring, until softened and golden, about five minutes. Add wine, stock, tomatoes, and 10 whole garlic cloves and bring to a boil.

Return brisket with any juices on platter to pot and cover, then transfer to oven. Braise brisket, turning over once per hour, until tender enough to shred with a fork, about three hours. Transfer to a cutting board and cut into 2-inch chunks, then shred with two forks. Purée sauce in two batches in food processor or a blender (use caution when blending hot liquids).

Mince remaining two garlic cloves. Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in a cleaned pot over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then sauté garlic, stirring, for one minute. Add meat and sauté, stirring occasionally, for five minutes. Stir in sauce and season with salt and pepper.

Cook fettucine in a 6-quart pot of boiling salted water until al dente. Drain, then return to pot and add meat sauce.

Telepan tops the dish with grated pecorino cheese, but of course you’ll skip that part if you’re preparing a kosher meal.

Optional: House-Made Egg Fettuccine (makes one pound)


8 teaspoons butter

3 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 whole eggs

8 egg yolks

2 to 4 tablespoons water


In a large bowl crumble the butter, flour, and salt between your fingers to make a course meal. Beat the eggs with one tablespoon of the water. Form a well in the middle of the flour mixture and pour the eggs into the well. Incorporate the eggs by stirring in the flour mixture from the sides of the well a little at a time (if dough is too dry, add some more of the water). When most of the flour is mixed in, form dough into a ball, transfer to a clean, flat surface, and knead for ten minutes.

Cover and let rest for 1 hour, refrigerated.

Using a pasta machine, roll into fettuccine noodles. Dry for at least 15 minutes on a pasta rack or baking sheet. Cook or refrigerate.

NOTE: If you don’t own a pasta machine, or don’t feel like rolling around in dough, you can use store-bought dry egg noodles instead.

A kitchen is a noisy place, and our humble microphone struggled against the sizzle of the oil and crackle of garlic, but here’s the master at work.

The Recipe

Shredded Brisket Pasta

Shredded Brisket Pasta

Liel Leibovitz is editor-at-large for Tablet Magazine and a host of its weekly culture podcast Unorthodox and daily Talmud podcast Take One. He is the editor of Zionism: The Tablet Guide.