Monday, October 09, 2006

Short Ribs, Long on Flavor

This is what happens when you stay home for a long holiday weekend; you watch too much Food Network, and you become obsessed with making things that you see on t.v.! Specifically, I saw Giada making Short Ribs with Tagliatelle that I just HAD to try immediately! So I found myself in the Wal-Mart at midnight Saturday night shopping for short ribs. Of course, because this is my life we're talking about, I ran into several problems. The first was that I could only find very large packages of short ribs--about three pounds at $2.68/lb., so it's not an inexpensive dish. Then again, it makes a TON, enough to freeze for another meal another day. Of course, if you can find a smaller package (a pound and a half), then you can halve the recipe below. But why would you want to? As it is, this fills a standard crockpot. And it's not that much more work to make the double batch and freeze the leftovers. But that's your call. Secondly, try finding tagliatelle in Plattsburgh! So I had to settle for some pappardelle from Trader Joe's that I still had rattling around in the pantry. (Maybe next time, I'll just make my own tagliatelle, which is an even wider pasta than pappardelle. Or I'll look for it the next time I'm in Montreal.)

But the biggest problem I had was getting the recipe off of Food Network's website when I needed it. Of course, it just came up for me just now, but I tried ALL DAY on Sunday, and I just got a blank screen when I clicked on that link. So I had to come up with an alternative recipe. I turned to a wonderful cookbook from the good people at Cooks' Illustrated called The Best Recipe: Italian Classics. In it, there was a recipe for Pasta and Rustic Slow-Simmered Tomato Sauce with Meat that was just the ticket. Of course, I had to put my own little twists on it here and there (like including some of the last peppers from my garden and using my crockpot to cook it all) and also a few things that I could remember from watching Giada make her version. And I believe that, in the end, I created something AMAZING! Seriously, this one is a keeper. So flavorful, and so hearty--a perfect dish for the nippier months. I served it with the beautiful beans that we picked up at Windmill Point Farm last weekend; although once you cook them, they change from looking like a vibrant Scarlet Runner Bean to a less appetizing greyish-green. But they still tastied delicious, especially cooked with a little bacon and some beef broth until tender. Delish!

Short Ribs in Rustic Slow-Simmered Tomato Sauce with Pappardelle
(Sources: Food Network and The Best Recipe: Italian Classics)

2 tablespoons olive oil
3 pounds beef short ribs (you may also wish to try pork spareribs or country-style ribs)
salt and pepper
2 medium onions, minced
2-3 large red peppers, cored, seeded and minced
6 medium cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 cup red wine
1 28-oz. can diced tomatoes with juice (or better yet, use one 15-oz. can of regular tomatoes and one 15-oz. can of fire-roasted tomatoes)
1 small can tomato paste
1 1/2 cups beef broth
1 teaspoon dried oregano
pinch of hot pepper flakes (optional)

2 pounds pasta, cooked to al dente (according to package instructions)

parmesan cheese, freshly grated
fresh parsley, chopped (optional garnish)

Heat the oil in a large skillet. Season the ribs all over liberally with salt and pepper. Brown the ribs on all four sides in the skillet, about 8-10 minutes total. Remove the ribs to a plate and set aside. Add the minced onions, peppers, and garlic to the pan and saute until softened, 2-3 minutes. Add the red wine and deglaze for a minute or two, making sure to scrape up all the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. After the wine has reduced to something more like a glaze, add in the tomatoes, tomato paste, beef broth, oregano and red pepper flakes. Bring the sauce to a boil then remove from heat.

Add some of the sauce to the bottom of a preheated crockpot. Place the ribs in the pot next and cover them with the rest of the sauce. Cover and cook on high for four hours (or on low all day to have it ready when you get home from work!), or until the meat is literally falling off the bones. Place the ribs on a plate and remove the bones, tough cartilage and any excess fat. Using two forks, shred the meat, then add it back to the pot. Leave the meat and sauce to simmer together while you prepare your pasta. Serve with a generous sprinkling of grated parmesan and perhaps some chopped fresh parsley if you have it. MANGIA!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I discovered your blog quite by accident when I was searching for Giada's Short Ribs with Tagliatelle recipe having also watched it on the Food Network. After reading only a couple of entries, I thought, "What a great find."

As a result, I've been "eating up" your site and marking recipes I want to try in the near future. I just got married and I'm experimenting. In fact, I opted to use your recipe last night with the crockpot (my first time) instead of Giada's recipe and it was delicious! I even used a can of fire-roasted tomatoes - yum. It was so hearty and full of flavor.

Normally, I wouldn't leave a comment but after reading your blog about the stingy chef at Livingoods, I thought I'd just let you know how much I love and appreciate you sharing your pictures, recipes and cooking adventures! Looking forward to seeing more.

~a newbie cook from southern california