Monday, February 16, 2015

Braised Short Rib Ragu Pasta

There are some meals here on Haute + Heirloom that we tend to repeat... and repeat... and repeat. Like our favorite Fancy Pot Roast, we make this 3-4 times a month. Well this Braised Short Rib Ragu Pasta is also becoming a weekly tradition. It is something that you can start early on Sunday and by dinner time you just have to stir together everything for a super comforting + filling meal. There is something so magical about braised short ribs, and I can't really put my finger on it, but it is truly special. After browning the short ribs in a big pot, I added in a bunch of aromatics... carrots, garlic, leeks, onions, parsley, and celery. After they saute a bit, it's time to add in the pureed tomatoes, tomato paste, beef stock, and red wine.
Finally, it is all topped with the crucial "flavor"-producing components... herbs, bay leaves, cocoa powder, balsamic vinegar, fish sauce, and Worcestershire sauce. These all bring such depth to the dish, so don't skip out on any of them. I MEAN IT. Now this pot, it's gonna braise and braise and braise some more. Like 4-5 hours worth of braising is on the horizon, but to me, that's okay because I'm already doing some house cleaning and laundry, so I can keep an eye out on the pot as well. Eventually you get to that glorious part of the recipe where the braised short ribs are amazingly tender and forked off the bone tender. UM YUM. And then, you have to reduce this sauce down until it becomes chocolate brown and much thicker than where it started. I continuously stirred the sauce, so it would evenly reduce and not burn on the bottom. Once that sauce is ready, it's time to add in some more yummy stuff. Begin by browning a stick of butter in a separate pot, once it is just started to brown, add in the minced garlic and saute for just a minute or two. Throw in already cooked pasta, turn off the heat, and coat the pasta in the garlicky brown butter. And this, my friends, is where the magic begins to happen. Put the shredded short rib met on top of the pasta, along with as many scoops of your ragu sauce as you like, caramelized onions, red pepper flakes, shaved bittersweet chocolate, half of the grated Parmesan, some fresh herbs, and heavy cream (to make it extra luscious). Fold in all of the ingredients until you have a cohesive pasta dish. Spoon the finished pasta into serving bowls and garnish with a mound of freshly grated Parmesan + fresh herbs. Y'all are gonna LOVE it!! Enjoy :)
For the Braised Short Ribs:
¼C Extra Virgin Olive Oil
4oz Diced Pancetta + A Heavy Pinch of Cinnamon
4lbs Bone-In Short Ribs
Fleur de Sel + Fresh Cracked Pepper (to heavily season the short ribs)
½C AP Flour
1 Vidalia Onion, Finely Minced
1 Leek, Finely Minced
3 Carrots, Finely Minced
4 Cloves of Garlic, Finely Minced
3 Stalks of Celery, Finely Minced
½C Fresh Parsley
28oz Whole San Marzano Canned Tomatoes, Pureed until Smooth
3T Tomato Paste
2 ½C Beef Stock
1 ½C Red Wine
2 Sprigs Fresh Rosemary + Fresh Thyme
1t Dried Oregano
3 Bay Leaves
3T Cocoa Powder (sifted to remove clumps)
1T Balsamic Vinegar
1T Fish Sauce
1T Worcestershire Sauce

For the Braised Short Rib Pasta:
1 Stick of Unsalted Butter, Melted & Browned
4 Cloves of Garlic, Minced
1lb Pasta, Cooked Al Dente
Braised Short Ribs, Shredded into Bite Size Pieces (prepared above)
A Few Scoops of the Braised Short Rib Ragu Sauce (from the pot used above… to taste)
1C Caramelized Onions
½-1C Heavy Cream (depending on how creamy you like it)
1-2t Red Pepper Flakes (or as spicy as you like)
4-6t Shaved Bittersweet Chocolate
1C Freshly Grated Parmesan (divided)
Fresh Herbs, For Garnishing (we used parsley, basil, and chives)

1. Preparing the Short Ribs: Place the olive oil in a large heavy soup pot over medium heat. Add in the Pancetta, with a pinch of cinnamon, and cook until the Pancetta is golden and crisp. This will take about 2-4 minutes. Meanwhile, season the short ribs with salt and pepper, and then dredge in flour (make sure to dust off any excess flour, so there is only a light coating). Using a slotted spoon, remove the Pancetta from the pan and put them into a small bowl, and reserve it for later. Add the short ribs to the pan and brown on all sides, about 10 minutes. Once all of the short ribs have evenly browned, take them out of the pot and place them on a plate or baking dish.
2. Making the Braised Short Rib Ragu: Meanwhile, place the onion, leek, carrots, garlic, celery, and parsley into a food processor and pulse until everything is finely diced, but definitely not pureed! Add these minced aromatics to the pot that the short ribs had been browning in and allow them to cook and caramelize some, just about 5-10 minutes over medium heat. After sautéing them, add the crispy pancetta, pureed tomatoes, tomato paste, beef stock, and red wine. Bring this mixture to a boil and reduce the heat to a simmer, before you submerge all of the browned short ribs into the braising liquid, and then top with fresh rosemary, fresh thyme, dried oregano, and bay leaves. Cover the pot and cook at a simmer for 2 hours. Remove the lid and simmer for another 2 hours, making sure to stir occasionally. After this period of cooking, remove the lid, and continue to cook for another 2 hours (while also making sure to occasionally stir the sauce). After their second cooking period, remove the meat and bones from the pot. Discard the meat and bones from the pot onto a large cutting board (making sure to throw away any fatty pieces as well). Shred the meat into bite-size pieces and let them rest while we reduce the ragu sauce. Stir in the cocoa powder, balsamic vinegar, fish sauce, and Worcestershire sauce, and bring the sauce up to a boil, and then back down to medium heat. You will need to remain near the pot to stir the sauce to ensure that it does not burn. Cook this sauce until it is much darker in color and reduced in volume. It should be quite thick. Remove the bay leaves, sprigs of rosemary, and sprigs of thyme. Season the sauce with some kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper (and sugar if you want it to be a little bit sweeter).
3. Assembling the Short Rib Pasta: In another pot, melt a stick of butter over medium heat until it begins to brown and release a nutty fragrance. Add the minced garlic and sauté just for a minute or so in the brown butter. Turn off the heat and quickly add the al dente pasta and coat it completely in the garlicky brown butter. Throw all the meat on top of the pasta, followed by some scoops of the reduced ragu sauce (as much as you want), caramelized onions, heavy cream, red pepper flakes, ½C grated Parmesan, shaved bittersweet chocolate, and fresh herbs. Fold the pasta gently to combine and until a luscious sauce has coated your pasta.
4. Serving the Pasta: Spoon the short rib pasta into serving bowls and add a heap of freshly grated Parmesan and some fresh herbs to garnish. Enjoy! 

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