Les Dames’ Italian-style braised short ribs with rosemary polenta

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Ingredients

Short ribs

  • 8 beef short ribs (about 3 pounds)
  • 1 tablespoon Salt
  • 15 grinds of Black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons Olive oil
  • 3 Carrots, roughly chopped into 1/2-inch pieces (about 1 cup)
  • 3 Celery ribs, roughly chopped into 1/2-inch pieces (about 1 cup)
  • 1 Large onion, roughly chopped into 1/2-inch pieces (about 2 cups)
  • 4 Garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 cups Dry red wine
  • 2 cups Beef _or_ veal broth, preferably homemade
  • 1 cup Canned Italian peeled tomatoes (include juice)
  • 2 3-inch sprigs Fresh rosemary
  • Rosemary Polenta (recipe follows)

Rosemary polenta

  • 3 cups Water
  • 2 cups Milk
  • 1 cup Cornmeal (coarse ground preferred)
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 2 tablespoons Unsalted butter
  • 1 cup Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 1 tablespoon Chopped fresh rosemary leaves

New York Dame Michele Scicolone is an expert on Italian cuisine. She has written 13 cookbooks–including 1,000 Italian Recipes and Entertaining with the Sopranos,  and says that traditionally short ribs are not a cut of meat used in Italy. Still, since she favors the cut, she decided to prepare them “Italian style.” Every time she does, she has guests asking to take home the leftovers. Scicolone especially likes this method of doing short ribs because it allows you to eliminate a lot of the fat before the final reheating and serving.

The short ribs with polenta pair well with Roasted Brussels Sprouts (page tktk) in fall and winter and with Basic Wilted Greens (page tktk) most any time of year.  Begin  with an Extra Easy Starter (page tktk) and a first course of cured meat (page tktk). Lemon Cranberry Pecan Biscotti (page tktk) is an appropriately Italian dessert for this meal.  

Perfect Pairing – Lucente 2010 – luscious merlot/sangiovese blend from one of Tuscany’s finest!

Italian short ribs

Prepare-ahead notes

Scicolone advises—“Short ribs are ideal for company since you can make them several days in advance. They reheat perfectly.” The polenta can be prepared “almost effortlessly” while the ribs reheat.

Preparation

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Pat the ribs dry and sprinkle them all over with the salt and pepper.  In a large Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the ribs in batches being careful not to crowd the pan.  Cook until the ribs are nicely browned on all sides.  Remove the ribs from the sauté pan to a plate as they are done.

When done browning, pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the drippings.  Add the carrots, celery, and onion and stir well.  Cook for 10 minutes or until golden.  Stir in the garlic and cook 5 minutes more.   Add the wine, broth, tomatoes, and rosemary.  Bring the liquid to a simmer scraping the bottom of the pan.  Return the ribs to the pan.

Cover the pot and place it in the oven.  Cook for 2 hours checking occasionally to see that the liquid is just simmering.  Remove the cover and cook for 1 hour more or until the meat is very tender and coming away from the bone.  With tongs, transfer the ribs to cutting board and let cool.

Degrease the cooking liquid per Box: page tktk, being sure to dispose of the greasy cooked vegetables and rosemary twigs.  Return the degreased liquid to the pot and bring it to a simmer.  Cook until thickened to taste.  With a sharp knife, trim the ribs and discard any loosened bones.  Add the ribs to the pot.  At this point, the mixture can be refrigerated and stored for several days. When ready to serve, prepare the Rosemary Polenta.  While it bakes, reheat the ribs in their sauce on top of the stove.  Taste for seasoning and serve hot with the polenta.

Rosemary polenta

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.  In a 9- by 13-inch baking dish, whisk together the water, milk, cornmeal, and salt.  Bake, uncovered, for 60 minutes.  Remove the pan from the oven and whisk the polenta.  Stir in the butter, half of the cheese, and the rosemary.  Smooth the top and sprinkle with the remaining cheese.  Place the pan back in the oven and bake 10 minutes more until the cheese is melted and the top is lightly browned.  Serve immediately.

Wine recommendation

Definitely Italian: Chianti Classico Reserva or a Super Tuscan (both Sangiovese based). Try the Bastianich Aragone (available at Central Market).

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