Brasato di Manzo al Sangiovese
Brasato di manzo simply means braised beef in Italian. Nothing can be more comforting or satisfying than a delicious piece of meat that has slowly tenderized after hours of simmering. This is the perfect meal to enjoy on a chilly winter day, or any time you have a need for rustic cuisine. When I prepare this dish, I like to braise the meat for about 3 hours, until it is perfectly tender and delightful. And while I look forward to the meal to come as the cooking aroma fills the house, just as wonderful as the main course is the leftovers to follow. I usually serve the short ribs with some oven roasted fingerling potatoes as a side dish. Luckily, there is always lots of sauce/braising liquid left over at the end. For a future meal, you can reduce the braising liquid to a nice consistency for a pasta sauce. Cut up any leftover short ribs into small pieces, and add it to the sauce. Serve over a nice egg pasta such as pappardelle with a generous dusting of Parmigiano Reggiano on top. Can't be beat!
4 large short ribs, about 10 inches each, cut half into 8 smaller pieces
1 onion diced
1 carrot diced
1 celery stalk diced
1 28 oz. can crushed or chopped tomatoes. I prefer crushed.
1 bottle Italian red wine, a Sangiovese works well.
1 sprig fresh rosemary
32 oz. beef stock
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Before cooking, generously season your short ribs with salt and pepper. In a 5.5 quart skillet, or other similar size cooking vessel, heat the olive oil until very hot. Brown the short ribs on all sides. This should take about 10 minutes. Once ribs have a nice sear, remove them from the skillet, and set aside.
In the same sauce pan, keep the heat high, and add the diced carrot, onion, and celery. Stir often until they soften and begin to take on a nice golden color, probably about 5 minutes. When they look ready, add the can of crushed tomatoes, the bottle of wine and the rosemary. I chop the rosemary finely. Stir well, being sure that all the ingredients combine. When sauce comes to a boil, I often choose to add a little bit of sugar, maybe two tablespoons, to take away any unwanted acidity from the tomatoes.
Next, return the short ribs to the skillet, and pour in the beef stock until the ribs are just about covered. Once the liquid comes to a boil, reduce the heat to a low simmer. Cover the skillet and allow the ribs to simmer for about three hours. Stir occasionally. The meat should become very, very tender.
Once the meat has cooked for the necessary amount of time, remove it from the skillet and set aside. Then, leaving the sauce uncovered, turn the heat up, and allow it reduce to a nice thick consistency. Right before serving, return the ribs to the sauce for a few minutes to reheat. Then serve the short rib on a plate with a generous helping of sauce on top. As I said, roasted fingerling potatoes are a great accompaniment. Also, a nice baguette is perfect for sweeping up any remaining sauce. Don't forget to treat yourself to a nice bottle of red wine to go with. You could stick to a nice Sangiovese, or go for a nice Brunello di Montalcino.
Most importantly, once the meal is over, and the leftover sauce is cooled, put it away and save it for your future meal as a sauce over pappardelle.
Enjoy your meal. You are in for a real treat. :)