If you're looking for a special, decadent meal, look no further than these short ribs over pappardelle. We welcomed 2010 with this meal on New Year's Day, and found it the perfect way to mark a new decade.
Beef short ribs are a tender, succulent cut that lend themselves to long, slow cooking. They are versatile and adaptable -- you can infuse them with all manner of flavors, including French, Korean and Italian.
We went Italian this time, adapting Giada De Laurentiis' recipe. It combines rich, savory flavors like pancetta, rosemary and red wine with onion, garlic, carrot, beef broth and more.
This recipe calls for braising, a simple technique that coaxes maximum flavor and tenderness out of any cut. You brown the meat in a big pot, add your aromatics, herbs and braising liquid -- usually wine and/or stock) and then leave it alone for a few hours to work its magic. The result is meltingly soft and silky.
I started by crisping up some chopped pancetta, then removing it from the pot. Next, I seasoned the short ribs with salt and pepper, dredged them lightly in flour and browned over medium heat on all sides.
Meantime, I pulsed onion, carrot, garlic, tomato paste and tomatoes in a food processor until finely minced. I love this technique -- it made the sauce smooth and intensely flavorful. Once the short ribs are browned, you add the vegetable mixture back into the pot, add the pancetta, season with salt, pepper and various herbs, beef broth and wine. Cover the pot and go do other things for 75 minutes.
Then, remove the lid and stir occasionally for another 90 minutes. Remove the short ribs, shred the meat and return back to the pot. Cook up your pasta al dente and you're done. You can also let the shredded meat chill overnight and reheat the next day for even more flavor. We were supposed to grate a bit of dark chocolate over the finished dish -- chocolate intensifies the flavor of beef -- but we forgot. Next time.
This is rustic comfort food at its best, suitable for entertaining and great for a family Sunday supper. It was also one of the best things to come out of my kitchen in a long time -- this recipe really works.