Monday, July 22, 2013

Braised Short Rib Pasta

I know I’ve mentioned my love of braising before. And I’m sure I must have told you how I love a great long-cooking pasta sauce. This recipe combines those two loves into one fantastic, meaty, saucy meal. Short ribs are great for recipes like this because they don’t seem to get as dried out and stringy as other cuts of beef do. This sauce is really flavorful with depth, and tastes great on homemade pasta (if you have the discipline to do it). I will say that although it’s a great dish, it doesn’t have the complexity that my Bolognese has, but it’s still very good and definitely worth a few hours on a lazy Sunday. Although it’s a long recipe, it’s not too terribly complicated. I found the recipe on The Tasty Bite blog and the only real changes we made were to add pancetta (why not?!) and some seasoning adjustments at the end.

2 tbsps extra-virgin olive oil
3 lbs. flanken-style short ribs with bones, cut 2 inches thick
½ cup all-purpose flour
3 oz pancetta, cubed
1 large onion, chopped
3 carrots, peeled and chopped
½ cup fresh parsley, chopped
4 cloves garlic
28 oz. canned tomatoes
2 tbsps tomato paste
1 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tsp fresh rosemary, chopped
1 tsp fresh thyme, chopped
1 tsp dried oregano
2 bay leaves
2 cups beef broth
1½ cups dry red wine
1 lb dried or fresh tagliatelle
Salt and pepper, to taste
Cayenne pepper, to taste (optional)

Start by chopping your veggies and setting them aside. Then pat dry the short ribs and season well with salt and pepper, then dredge lightly in flour. Add your oil to a dutch oven over medium heat, and then brown the ribs on all sides, in batches. Remove to a plate and set aside. Add in your pancetta and crisp it up for about five minutes before adding in your onion, carrots, parsley and garlic. Cook for another 10 minutes until the veggies are soft and then add in the tomatoes, paste, cocoa, rosemary, thyme, oregano, bay leaves, broth and wine. Stir well and bring to a boil.

Take it down to a simmer and return the ribs to the pot. Cover and cook for an hour and a half. Then remove the lid, stir and simmer for another hour and a half. After it’s done cooking, you’ll want to start your water boiling for pasta and cook as directed on the package. As I said, we used fresh pasta, but this would be just fine with dried as well. Take the meat out of the sauce and remove the bones and any membrane before shredding. Remove the bay leaves and discard them before using an immersion blender (or a regular blender carefully) to blend up the vegetables in the sauce and make a puree. Return the meat to the sauce and taste. This is where we had to add a good amount of salt and pepper, and also chose to add in about a teaspoon and a half of cayenne. We liked the subtle heat it brought, but it’s totally a personal decision.

Once your pasta is cooked, drain it and add to the sauce. Mix, and serve with some high quality grated Parmesan on top! Then spend the rest of the evening lying around with a full belly, groaning but happy.

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