The biggest fail as a food blogger is when you have cooked or tasted something delicious and you don’t have any photographic proof to tell the world about it.
Few weeks ago, my friend and I were co-hosting a dinner party, and I immediately, over-enthused as usual, volunteered to make the meat course. At first, I planned on trying Julia Child’s beef bourguignon to serve with his cacio e pepe, except that we both hesitated on testing something that could possibly be unsuccessful on dinner guests #dinnerpartyfail. He ended up making roasted pork loins with a batch of creamy polenta using cheese broth, some friends brought salads and sides, and I decided to play it safe and cook something I’m familiar with, which I’ve made over and over again.
These braised short ribs tagliatelle!
Much of the work can be prepared ahead, with only the pasta that needs to be cooked right before you are ready to serve. Because of the slow cooking process, this is not the dish you want to start at 5pm on a weeknight, but more like a dish you make on a relaxing weekend at home. Some chopping, browning, and stirring, and then you just have to leave it alone to let it do its magic — after a few hours, the meat becomes so tender and succulent it practically shreds itself! I suppose you can use the slow cooker too, but I haven’t tried it (will report back once I do).
Also, the flavors meld together nicely if you let it rest overnight, so it is best if you make the dish a day or two ahead. The sauce is suitable for many purposes; you can make lasagna with it, serve over polenta, gnocchi, vegetables, or other grains. It’s delicious all the same!
- 2 tbsps extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 lbs. flanken-style short ribs with bones, cut 2 inches thick
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- 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 tagliatelle, cooked until al dente (reserve one cup cooking liquid)
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Grated Parmesan cheese, for serving
- In a large soup pot or dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat. Season the ribs with salt and pepper, and dredge in the flour. Add them to the pot and cook over moderate heat, turning once, until browned on all sides, about 10 minutes. Transfer the ribs to a plate and set aside.
- Add the onions, carrots, parsley, and garlic to the pot and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables become soft, about 15 minutes.
- Add canned tomatoes, tomato paste, cocoa powder, rosemary, thyme, oregano, bay leaves, beef broth, and red wine to the pot, and bring the mixture to a boil. Return the ribs to the pot and let it simmer over low heat, covered, for 1 hour and 30 minutes. Remove the lid and simmer on low for an additional hour or until the meat is tender, stirring occasionally. Remove the ribs from the pot, discard the bones, and shred the meat.
- Transfer the liquid and vegetables to a blender (remove bay leaves) and puree until smooth. Return the sauce and the shredded meat to the pot. Season with salt and pepper.
- Meanwhile, add cooked pasta to the meat sauce and stir to combine. Add the reserved pasta liquid ¼ cup at a time, if needed, to moisten the pasta. Serve immediately with cheese.
*I used Cabernet Sauvignon since that's what I had on hand. But whatever you use, just don't use something you wouldn't drink.