Friday, February 6, 2015

The Big Ragu

We are having a birthday celebration for Christian as he is in town to party with his friends and Mackenzie decided to throw a dinner party with their mutual friends. We got to invite Matt and Lori who are not long for Omaha so...let the cooking begin.

At first Mackenzie suggested a Short Rib Ragu as she thought it sounded better than spaghetti and meatballs. I resisted because short ribs are expensive and greasy but acquiesced when I found  meaty ribs at a local store. Augmented with a package of boneless ribs and flanken cut ribs (cut across the ribs)  from another source, I went to town and browned the meat thoroughly in my 5 quart dutch oven. Then the sauce making began. I need a bigger dutch oven, I will say that right now.
I did not want brown gravy but a more marinara type sauce,  something that I used to make meatballs a few weeks ago and something that would still braise the ribs to fall apart tender.

Short Rib Ragu

3-4 pounds meaty short ribs (your choice of style but the flanken ribs did not have a lot of usable meat)
1 T oil
3 medium onions, grated
6 cloves of garlic minced
2 28 ounce cans crushed tomatoes, puree one of them
1 cup white wine
1 T Italian Seasoning
1 T oregano
1 T red Pepper flakes
1 cup grated Parmesan
a few cheese rinds
Salt and pepper to taste

Brown the ribs in 1 T oil  till mahogany in color. Set them aside and use the fat in the pan to saute the onions till they soften up then add the garlic. Cook for 1 minute then add everything but the Parmesan and cheese rinds. Its really a pretty easy but very tasty sauce.

Add the meat back to the sauce, cover and place in a 325 oven for about 3 hours till the meat is tender and pulls away from the bones. Take the meat and bones from the sauce and finish the sauce. I placed it in the fridge over night to skim the fat and finish the next day. 

I augmented the sauce with a few cups of chicken stock since I need a lot of sauce for the party. I also ran the immersion blender through it to smooth the sauce out a bit. Simmer gently as it will scorch easily at this stage, and add the Parmesan and cheese rinds. Adjust seasoning. It should taste rich and full from the meat and bones infusion.

Pick the meat from the bones and add the meat  back to the sauce. Ready to eat. We are serving it over the pasta pictured above but pappardelle (long flat pasta) would work nicely.

I am crossing my fingers that 5 quarts is enough, we have some big eaters coming over. Salad and about 6 baguettes will round out the menu tonight.

Tonight: Beer and craft cocktails. I have Rye so Scofflaws are in order for the older crowd. The boys all like IPA's so we have a bit of that on hand. The ladies will probably be drinking wine and we have plenty of that on hand in the form of a nice Chianti as well as anything else you might imagine.

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