With the flu quasi-epidemic affecting the five boroughs, whipping up a gourmet meal might be the furthest thing from your mind.
But, for those of you fortunate enough to have escaped the bug, here goes.
Ever since I got married last May and received a Crock Pot from my registry, I’ve been a wee bit obsessed. Now that the weather has turned cold, there’s nothing quite like slow-cooking meat for hours until it’s so tender that it literally falls off the bone.
As far as I’m concerned, it’s only a slight exaggeration to say that the Crock Pot is one of the marvels of modern life. At the very least, it provides a relaxing and tasty outlet to slow-cook a meal over the course of a Sunday afternoon.
I first tasted short rib pappardelle at Ornella in Astoria. As with many dishes that I sample elsewhere, I decided to go online and replicate the dish for myself.
The recipe included here, with slight tweaks indicated, is from Bobby Flay. I’ve adapted it to cut down on purchasing individual fresh herbs, opting instead to buy a meat blend of organic herbs (in the produce section) from Key Foods that sufficed just as well for one-fourth of the cost.
I also used sherry instead of ruby port because that was what I had on hand and the flavor was still delicious. Feel free to experiment and make the recipe your own.
Short Rib Ragu with Pappardelle (Source: foodnetwork.com)
- Vegetable oil ( I use olive oil)
- 3 1/2 to 4 pounds short ribs, each about two-inches long, cut flanken style, across the ribs (I made mine with four short ribs and this yields a serving for three to four people)
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 ½ cups water
- 1 dried bay leaf
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 5 sprigs fresh thyme (Note: All of the above herbs can be substituted with a meat blend herb packet, available at Key Foods)
- 4 small carrots, diced
- 2 stalks celery, diced
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour (for sauce)
- 1 cup flour for coating short ribs
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1/2 cup ruby port (I used sherry)
- 2 cups red wine, such as cabernet
- 1/2 head garlic, cloves separated and peeled
- 3 1/2 cups homemade beef stock (use broth from making short ribs)
- 1 pound pappardelle or other long, flat pasta
- Grated Pecorino Romano, for garnish (I used a Parmesan, Romano and Asiago blend from Trader Joes)
1. Add salt and pepper to a bowl with flour; coat short ribs in the mixture.
2. Heat oil in medium-sized skillet over medium heat; brown short ribs, working in batches if necessary, for eight to 10 minutes, or until browned on both sides.
3. Meanwhile, set Crock Pot to low heat. Chop onion and place half in Crock Pot.
4. When short ribs are finished, add to Crock Pot, with 1 ½ cups of water. Add remainder of onion.
5. Let cook on low heat for 3.5 hours.
6. Prepare bouquet garni: Place bay leaf, rosemary, thyme, and parsley in the center of a square of cheesecloth. Bring edges together, and tie with kitchen string. Set bouquet garni aside. (NOTE: If you don’t have cheesecloth, just tie herbs with kitchen string)
7. Cook carrots, celery, and onion in one to two tablespoons of oil in skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are softened and golden, about 10 minutes.
9. Cook everything until ribs are very tender for about an additional three hours.
10. As soon as the short ribs are cool enough to handle, remove the meat from the bones and shred into small pieces. Discard the bouquet garni. Return shredded meat to casserole and simmer for a few minutes.
11. Fill a large pot with water and add a few tablespoons of salt. Set over high heat and bring to a boil. Salt well and stir in pasta. Cook until pasta is al dente. Drain pasta and serve with short-rib ragu. Serve with freshly grated Pecorino Romano.