Mmmmm ! What could that be under that smooth tomato-y, mushroom-y sauce, you ask ?! It's only the most succulent and fall-off-the-bone tender beef short ribs that have been cooking all day in a very slow oven and making the grey cottage smell like Nonna's kitchen !
The work on this dish takes about half an hour before you drop everything into a heavy Dutch oven and pop it into a slow oven. Chop a good pile of mire poix, some garlic, open a small can of tomato paste and a small jar of sun-dried tomato pesto, make a flour and spice coating for the ribs, and go to town with a hot Dutch oven and a bit of olive oil. Once everything has been browned and the pan has been de-glazed, the whole mess is set to slow braise and the magic happens over the course of six hours. Be sure to have some good pasta and a good bottle of wine to have with this dinner. You won't believe how tasty this is !
Here's how I did it ...
Braised Short Ribs with Tomatoes and Mushrooms
1/2 c. onion, small dice
1/2 c. carrot, peeled and diced small
1/2 c. celery, small dice
1 tbsp. minced garlic
1 large bay leaf
1 heaping tbsp. tomato paste
2 tbsp. reserved flour from dredging
1/4 c. flour
1 tsp. Kosher salt
1 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. cayenne powder
2 lb. short ribs, washed, dried well
2 tbsp. olive oil, divided
1 1/2 c. strong beef broth
3/4 c. dry red wine
1/2 c. marsala
2 heaping tbsp. sun-dried tomato pesto
1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
3 c. thickly sliced Crimini mushrooms
Making the Dish:
1. Prep the onions, carrots, celery, and place them in a bowl by the stove. Do the same for the garlic, but keep it separate from the other veg.
2. Place the flour, salt, black pepper, and cayenne in a zip lock bag and shake to combine. Add the short ribs and shake to coat evenly. Reserve 2 tbsp. of the flour mixture for sauce thickening.
3. Heat the Dutch oven over medium heat. Add 1 tbsp of the olive oil measure and swirl to coat the bottom of the hot pan. Place the short ribs in, bone side down and leave to brown for about 5 minutes. Turn them and do the same for the meat side for another few minutes. Tip them up on ends to brown the ends too. When they have a good brown crust, remove to a platter.
4. Drain off the fat, add the second tbsp. measure of olive oil and the bowl of carrots, onions, celery. Stir to get the veg to glisten. Add the garlic and cook for a minute or so. Add the tomato paste and bay leaf and stir to cook the tomato paste.
5. Add the flour and coat the vegetables well, then deglaze the pan with the beef stock and wines, stirring to combine and break up the vegetable clumps. Scrape up the bits stuck to the bottom of the pan, too.
6. Add the tomato pesto and Worcestershire sauce and stir to combine. Lay the short ribs and any of their juices back into the pot. Add about a cup of water and stir it in well. Spoon the sauce over top of the ribs. Cover the pot closely and set into a pre-heated 350 degree F oven. Immediately, turn the heat down to 285 degrees F and leave to cook for five hours.
7. After a couple hours, check the fluid level in the pot. Use a large spoon to scoop off the fat layer that floats atop the thick sauce. Get as much as you can without dipping into the sauce. Then, add some water (if needed) to keep things almost completely covered and to thin the sauce a bit, so it can continue to cook down without 'going dry'. Cover the pot back up and return to the oven. You may have to repeat the fat removal process just before you put in the mushrooms. It depends on the fat content of your batch of ribs.
8. After five hours, lift the lid and lay the mushrooms over all the meat and sauce. Spoon some sauce up over the mushrooms. If you need some more water, now is the time to stir in just a bit more. Cover the pot closely and return to the oven for one more hour.
9. While the ribs and mushrooms finish cooking, make the Gremolata and set it aside for the hot pasta.
10. Boil water and add 9 oz dry pasta to the pot. Cook to al dente. and then drain and toss with the prepared Gremotata in a big bowl.
11. Steam a bowl of broccoli florets.
12. Serve the short ribs and mushroom sauce along side the noodles and broccoli with a dry red wine for sipping. Enjoy !
1. Strong broth is a must, since added water will dilute the sauce a bit each time it's added.
2. Short ribs are fatty, so DO spoon off the melted fat during the cooking process, so that the sauce is rich in flavor and not overwhelmed by too much fatty grease.
3. Thick papperadelle pasta is perfect with this dish, but if you can't find it, use fettucine or extra wide egg noodles.
1/4 c. chopped Italian parsley
1/4 c. fresh Parmesan cheese grated
2 tbsp. good olive oil
zest of one lemon
1 tbsp. minced garlic
Kosher salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes, to taste
Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl and tss to coat everything with the olive oil. Use for tossing on the noodles.
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