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Author Notes: This is a delicious braised dish that my Mammina and Nonna taught me to make at a very young age. We would make this dish at the start of fall into winter and serve it with bitter greens and creamy polenta or rustic bread for dipping. —cucina di mammina
- 4-6 medium to large beef short ribs
- 2-3 garlic cloves (peeled & chunked)
- 1 glass full-bodied red wine
- 2 celery stalks & leaves (cut into medium size pieces)
- 2 carrots (peeled & cut into medium size pieces)
- 1 large can San Marzano peeled whole plum tomatoes
- good quality homemade or organic beef stock (unsalted)
- olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- Season the ribs with salt and pepper to taste on both sides and set aside. In a large bowl, add the canned tomatoes and their liquid and using a scissors or your hands, cut the tomatoes up into small pieces, discarding any bad bits, etc.; set aside.
- In a deep-sided skillet, drizzle a good dose of olive oil and add the garlic cloves, sauté for a minute or two until you smell the aroma.
- Keep the heat on medium or so and add the celery and carrot; sauté for about two to three minutes until caramelized and golden brown (remove the garlic & discard.) Remove from the heat and place the sautéed vegetables in a bowl; set aside. In the same skillet, add your seasoned ribs and increase the heat to medium-high to brown on all sides until a rich golden color is achieved.
- Lower the heat and add in the sautéed vegetables and the red wine; this will deglaze the pan and allow to cook for another minute or two until the alcohol burns off and the wine has reduced a small amount.
- Add the canned tomatoes and their liquid along with about a cup or so of the beef stock. The liquid should reach the sides of the ribs without covering them completely.
- Place on medium high heat and let this come to a slow simmer (do not let this boil too hard) and place a lid partially over the top of the skillet, allowing some of the steam to escape. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- This mixture needs to simmer for a good 2-3 hours at a slow to medium pace; check it often, turning the ribs on all sides so they touch the bottom. Continue to add more beef stock and or water if the liquid reduces to quickly. After about 2 hours or so, taste the sauce by dipping bread into it, adjust the seasonings.
- Once the rib meat is fork-tender; remove the ribs gently to a bowl and cover loosely. If the sauce is still a bit watery at this point; place back on the heat to simmer slowly and reduce to thicken (be sure to check for seasoning.)
- To finish this warm and hearty dish, serve along with polenta and prepared garlic & olive oil sautéed bitter greens or a fresh salad of baby arugula, pine nuts, shaved Parmigiano cheese, olive oil and a squeeze of lemon.
- NOTE: I love to add a mixture of cultivated mushrooms that add a wonderful depth of flavor to this dish. You can also add brined pitted olives, leeks, a squeeze of anchovy paste and even some grated lemon zest. Add the mushrooms into the mixture about 30-45 minutes before it is done so they do not overcook in the braising process.
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