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Short Ribs Braised in Red Wine

Makes 6 servings
  • Active time: 35 min
    Total time: 3 1/2 hrs
The Piemontese classic, beef braised in Barolo, becomes positively spectacular when made with short ribs, which dissolve into mouthwatering chunks of meat in a complex sauce.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 (750 ml) bottle Barolo or other full-bodied red wine (see Cooks’ Note, below)
  • 4 to 4 1/4 pounds beef short ribs, cut into individual 4-inch-long ribs
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 ounces sliced pancetta, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 5 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 3 medium carrots, chopped
  • 3 celery ribs, chopped
  • 4 (4- to 6-inch) thyme sprigs
  • 2 (6- to 8-inch) rosemary sprigs
  • 1 (14- to 15-ounce) can diced tomatoes in juice
  • 2 cups water

EQUIPMENT:

  • 12-inch-wide heavy nonreactive ovenproof pot (at least 3 1/2 inches deep) with a tight lid

ACCOMPANIMENT:

  • buttered egg pasta tossed with chopped parsley

INSTRUCTIONS:

  • Put oven rack in lower third of oven and preheat oven to 325°F.
  • Boil wine in a 2-to 3-quart pot until reduced to one cup, 20 to 25 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, pat ribs dry; rub with 2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon pepper.
  • Heat oil in pot over high heat until it shimmers and quickly brown ribs on all 3 meaty sides (but not bone side) without crowding, in batches, about 1 minute per side. Transfer the meat to a large plate. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon fat and cook pancetta over medium heat, stirring, until browned and fat is rendered. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and lightly browned, about 6 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring until pale golden, about 2 minutes. Add carrots, celery, and herbs and cook, stirring occasionally, 2 minutes.
  • Stir in tomatoes with their juice and return ribs with any juices to pot, arranging them bone side down.
  • Add reduced wine and water and bring liquid to a boil, uncovered. Cover pot and transfer to oven, then braise until meat is very tender, 2 to 2 1/2 hours.
  • Skim off excess fat from surface of sauce and discard herb stems. If a thicker sauce is desired, transfer ribs carefully to a plate (bones will fall off meat easily) and boil sauce, stirring occasionally, to thicken slightly. Return short ribs to sauce.

COOKS' NOTES:

  • Barolo is pricey, so feel free to save it for drinking and use a cheaper wine like Nebbiolo or Malbec for cooking.
  • Short ribs improve in flavor if braised 1 day ahead and cooled, uncovered, then chilled, covered. Bring back to a simmer on top of the stove, then reheat, covered, in a 350°F oven until hot, about 30 minutes.
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