hearty winter meals
Oh, my goodness, were these short ribs out of this world! The flavors made for a rich and wonderful sauce. I served them over garlic mashed potatoes. The short ribs came out fork tender. Although the recipe called for 2 pounds of bone-in short ribs (for two people), I used a 3-pound pack of boneless short ribs. I had enough leftovers for another meal. My husband and I enjoyed this preparation. It’s a great one pan meal.
My next hearty wintertime meal is a pasta dish from Lidia Bastianich. I recently saw Lidia prepare “Cavatappi with Beef Guazetto” on her cooking show and it looked delicious.
For the recipe you’ll need chicken stock, dried porcini mushrooms, boneless beef chuck, salt, flour, extra virgin olive oil, an onion, carrots, tomato paste, dry white wine, fresh bay leaves, pinch of ground cloves, pappardelle or cavatappi pasta, Grana Padano or Parmesan Reggiano cheese.
The sauce does take some time and effort to prepare. The beef guazzetto cooks for 1-1/2 to 2 hours. I could have easily cut that time in half by using my pressure cooker. Also, after two hours, the meat wasn’t falling apart like Lidia’s. Lucky for me I prepared the sauce a day ahead and when I used it the next day, I reheated it in my pressure cooker to tenderize the meat.
Despite this minor issue, the sauce was scrumptious! It was a flavorful, light sauce. The meat came out more tender after reheating in the pressure cooker. I had my son and daughter-in-law over for dinner and they loved it. I brought some to my granddaughter and she devoured her portion. There was enough sauce leftover to share with my daughter.
Balsamic Braised Short Ribs
Williams-Sonoma Test Kitchen
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 145 minutes
2 lb. (1 kg) bone-in beef short ribs
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbs. olive oil
2 large shallots, halved
1/3 cup (3 fl. oz./80 ml) balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup (3 fl. oz./80 ml) red wine
1/4 cup (2 oz./60 g) firmly packed light brown sugar
2 1/2 cups (20 fl. oz./625 ml) beef or chicken stock
Preheat an oven to 375°F (190°C). Season the short ribs generously with salt and pepper.
In a Dutch oven over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil. Working in batches if necessary, to avoid crowding, sear the ribs until browned on all sides, 8 to 10 minutes per batch. As each batch is done, transfer the ribs to a platter.
Add the shallots to the pot and sauté, stirring occasionally, until slightly softened, about 3 minutes. Add the balsamic vinegar and red wine to the pot and bring to a simmer, scraping up any browned bits from the pan bottom, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the brown sugar and stock and bring to a boil. Return the ribs to the pot.
Cover the pot and transfer to the oven. Cook until the meat is fork tender, about 2 hours. To serve, using a slotted spoon, divide the ribs among individual shallow bowls. Skim the fat off the sauce. Spoon some of the sauce over the ribs and serve. Serves 2.
Cavatappi with Beef Guazzetto
From the show “Lidia’s Kitchen” and the website “Lidia’s Italy
The sauce is very hearty, so 1 pound of pasta will feed up to 8 people. It is also delicious served with tajarin.
6 cups chicken stock
½ cup dried porcini mushrooms
2-pounds boneless beef chuck, cut into 2-inch cubes
1-1/2 teaspoons, kosher salt, plus more for pasta water
All-purpose flour, for dredging
5 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 Large onion chopped
2 Cups coarsely grated carrots
¼ cup tomato paste
1 Cup dry white wine
3 Fresh bay leaves
Pinch ground cloves
1 Pound cavatappi or pappardelle pasta
½ Cup grated Parmesan Reggiano or Grana Padano cheese
Bring the stock to a simmer in a small saucepan. Put the porcini in a spouted measuring cup, and add 1 cup of the hot stock. Season the beef all over with 1/2 teaspoon of the salt. Spread some flour on a plate, and lightly dredge the beef in the flour, tapping off the excess. Heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the beef and brown all over, about 8 minutes. Remove the beef chunks to a plate as they brown.
Once all of the beef is out, add the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil to the Dutch oven. When the oil is hot, add the onion and carrot, and cook until the onion softens, about 6 minutes. Clear a space in the pan, and add the tomato paste. Cook and stir the tomato paste in that spot until it toasts and darkens a shade or two, about 2 minutes. Stir the tomato paste into the vegetables, and add the wine. Bring to a simmer, and cook until reduced by half, about 2 minutes. Add the bay leaves, cloves, and remaining teaspoon of salt. Remove the porcini from the soaking liquid and chop; add them to the pot. Pour the soaking liquid into the pot, leaving the grit behind in the bottom of the cup. Add the beef back to the pot, and ladle in enough of the hot stock just to cover the beef. Cover, and simmer until the beef is very tender and falling apart, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours, adding more stock as you go to maintain the level of liquid (if you run out of stock, add a little water). Remove the bay leaves.
When the beef is almost ready, bring a large pot of salted water to boil for the pasta. Add the pasta. Bring the beef and sauce to a boil, and cook a minute or two to thicken the sauce to your liking. When the pasta is al dente, remove with a spider directly to the sauce. Toss to coat the pasta with the sauce, adding a little pasta water if it seems dry. Remove the pot from the heat. Sprinkle with the grated cheese, toss, and serve.
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A former teacher, shop-a-holic, empty-nester redefining quick, family approved dinners.