Without intending to, I made two Mark Bittman recipes this week, where previously, I don't know that I'd really made any before. Both recipes were extremely simple to put together and took very little effort on my part. Yesterday I shared the squash pancakes, but a few days ago I found a forgotten package of short ribs in the freezer. Short ribs! It was not quite 1 1/2 pounds, so it was something that needed to be slow cooked and combined with something else. There certainly wasn't enough short rib to just cook and nibble on. After looking through several recipes, I settled on one that I had in my Mastercook program. I assumed I found it while perusing the CLBB ages ago, and since it used all on-hand ingredients, I was game to give it a whirl.
It could not have come together easier. First I browned the short ribs in a bit of oil, then I added canned tomatoes, cinnamon, clove, salt and pepper, and that was it. I turned the pot on to simmer and walked away. I came back to stir every once in a while, but that was it. It took about 4 hours for my short ribs to tenderize and fall off the bones. Then I removed the bones and just like that I had a short rib pasta sauce. I tossed it with some pasta, and that was that. That sauce was so flavorful! Short ribs are packed with beefy flavor, and the cinnamon and clove really gave the sauce a wonderful depth and flavor. The kids didn't care too much for the shreds of beef, but the gobbled up the pasta anyways.
According to Andy, this is a sauce that should be made ahead of time. He finished off the leftovers for lunch and said that the flavors really came together after an overnight or two in the fridge. So if you do make this and have the time, make it and pop it in the fridge overnight. Not only will the flavors marry and tenderize further, but you'll be able to scrape a good layer of beef fat off the top of the beef- always a bonus. Mark Bittman's Pasta Sauce with Beef Ribs and Cinnamon was excellent! It's a fantastic way to use short ribs, and as long as you have the time to really let it simmer until tender, it's practically foolproof. Tomorrow I'll be sharing two soups for soup of the week- so be sure to come back for those!
Pasta Sauce with Beef Ribs and Cinnamon
Recipe By :Mark Bittman
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 1/2 pounds meaty short ribs of beef
salt and pepper -- to taste
2 cans whole plum tomatoes -- undrained
3 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
Heat olive oil in a heavy Dutch oven or casserole over medium-high heat; a minute later, brown the meat on all sides, seasoning with salt and pepper as it cooks. Add the tomatoes, garlic, cinnamon and cloves, reduce heat to low, and cover, with the lid slightly ajar.
Simmer gently, stirring occasionally, for at least 1 1/2 hours, until the meat falls off the bone; if the sauce begins to get too thick, add a little water and continue to cook.
When the meat is tender and fallen from the bone, remove the bones from the sauce and break the meat up with a spoon. Taste and adjust seasoning.