Mario Batali's iconic dish is a great example of something that is more than the sum of its parts. I owe Amanda full credit for introducing me to it. Mario has you slow cook a whole brisket in half a bottle of Barolo, some homemade tomato sauce and a handful of aromatics until the beef is fork-tender and the sauce is rich and supple. It is a soul-satisfying dish, a few rungs higher on the culinary ladder than your grandmother's brisket without requiring much more effort. I often make this version using short ribs instead of brisket. —Merrill Stubbs
6 to 8
bone-in short ribs
Salt and pepper to taste
large onion, diced
large carrots, peeled and sliced 1/2 inch thick
stalks celery, sliced 1/2 inch thick
1 1/2 cups
Barolo or other hearty red wine like Chianti or Barbaresco
1 1/2 cups
homemade tomato sauce or diced tomatoes (fresh or canned)
Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a large Dutch oven, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over high heat. Sprinkle the short ribs generously with salt and pepper and add them to the pot in batches, making sure not to crowd the pot. Brown them for 4 to 5 minutes per side, setting them aside on a plate as they're browned.
Once all the meat is browned, pour off all but about a tablespoon of the fat and add the rest of the olive oil. Turn the heat down to medium-low.
Add the onion, carrots, celery and pancetta and cook until the vegetables start to soften, about 5 minutes.
Add the wine and tomatoes and a few large pinches of salt and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat so that the liquid is simmering. Add the short ribs back to the pot, submerging them in the liquid. Cover the pot and put in the oven until the meat is very tender, 2 to 2 1/2 hours.
Remove the short ribs from the pot and keep them warm. Bring the cooking liquid to a boil over medium-high heat and reduce to about 2 cups. Taste and season with more salt if necessary. Return the meat to the pot and serve, or cool slightly, then refrigerate (it will be even better the next day once you reheat it).