Since you can find most recipes online anymore, I’ve discontinued all but one cooking magazine – Rachael Ray’s Everyday. There are tons of good (and a few strange) recipes in the magazine along with current trends and lots of tips. I’ve always had good luck with her recipes and the November issue has this Short-Rib Ragu that sounded wonderful. I made a special trip to the store to get some of the ingredients that weren’t already in the cabinet or fridge and decided to make it for dinner last night. Bret was doing some icky plumbing in the house, so I thought a nice dinner was in order to make his day a little better.
If you can find boneless short-ribs at your local store, lucky you. I went to two stores and only found short-ribs with the bone in. I got those and “de-boned” them (not fun) for the dish and also picked up spinach instead of the kale the recipe called for. Sorry, kale and I aren’t friends.
Here’s the wonderful ragu simmering in the pot before the addition of the gnocchi:
It was as good as it looks. With the addition of the red wine, it had an earthy flavor and hearty texture. The only thing I might change next time is to use a twisted pasta, like fusilli or rotini. The gnocchi was fine, but I think the pasta would gather more of that sauce onto it.
I always line up ingredients to a recipe on the cabinet to get ready for it, but I didn’t chop the carrot, bacon, and garlic ahead of time. I found myself scrambling while the meat was browning and ended up dumping the beef stock all over the cabinet and floor (which our dog, Vickie, appreciated). You may want to prep everything, including opening the tomatoes, measuring out the beef stock, etc., for this one. It wasn’t difficult to make, but the steps were specific.
If you’re looking for a cool-weather warming and filling entree, this is the one to make. In the magazine it’s touted at $2.92 per person, but I upped the ribs to 2 lb. since I had to de-bone them, and mine added up to a little more than that.
Bret had a second serving and gave it the thumbs up and I really liked it as well, so this will go into the “make again” file!
Short-Rib Ragu with Bacon and Spinach
***1/2 Adapted from Rachael Ray’s Everyday magazine. Hearty, earthy flavors, and a nice warming entree. Serves 4-5.
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 lb. boneless short ribs, cut into 1-inch cubes and excess fat trimmed
2 slices thick-cut bacon, finely chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 small carrot, peeled and finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 C. dry red wine
1 1/2 cups beef stock
1 can diced Italian tomatoes
1 C. packed, stemmed baby spinach
12 oz. fresh or frozen gnocchi (or twisted pasta)
3 tbsp. parmesan cheese
Crushed red pepper (optional)
In a large pot, heat the oil over medium. Season the short ribs with salt and pepper and brown in the oil, turning often, about 6-8 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and cover to keep warm.
Add the bacon to the pot. Cook over medium and stir occasionally until browned. Stir in the onion, carrot and garlic and cook until the vegetables soften. Add the wine and cook, stirring occasionally until the liquid is almost evaporated, about 4 minutes. Stir in the stock and tomatoes and bring to a boil. Add the browned ribs to the mixture, covering with the sauce. Cover and cook on medium-low, stirring occasionally until the meat is fork tender, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Using two forks, shred the meat in the pot. Stir in the spinach until wilted and season the ragu with salt and pepper to taste; stir in a couple of pinches of red pepper if desired. Remove from the heat and keep covered while making the gnocchi or pasta according to the instructions on the package. Drain well and stir into the ragu.
Divide among bowls and top with grated parmesan cheese.
Tips and Stuff
Next time besides using twisted pasta, I would add either a tablespoon of ketchup or tomato paste. It would give it a little more of a bite.
I added the red pepper, as I like things a bit spicy. Not mandatory.
As usual, I didn’t use onion (substituted 1 tsp. onion powder), but I left it in the recipe, as I think it would be better with it.
Read the recipe through before starting, and have all ingredients prepared and ready to go!