I kind of have a thing for Italian men, too.
Italians cook using an unwritten rule to only use ingredients of the freshest, utmost quality and to treat them simply so that freshness and quality shines through.
I'm an Italian when it comes to my food mantra, through and through. I wish I lived in a house with mango trees, tomato plants, an herb garden, and a bed of mushrooms (among other things) between it and the ocean. Could you imagine having immediate access to all produce and seafood the world has to offer? Oh. My. You'd be the healthiest and happiest person on earth.
At least I think so. You might not be into that kind of thing.
Now, let me tell you about this particular dish. I made it for a dinner party a few weeks ago, and it was phenomenal. I served it in between an antipasti platter made up of some exquisite meats, cheeses and olives from Bella Napoli, and some homemade tiramisu. I fell short in that I did not serve a salad with this meal. I still haven't quite figured out how that happened.
This main course is THE. PERFECT. DISH. to make for a dinner party. It's virtually hands-off and an absolute show-stopper. I got the ribs started in the morning, went to work out, showered, went to my first wedding dress fitting, made the tiramisu, took a nap, got dressed, got the polenta in the oven, prepped the antipasti platter, welcomed my guests with a glass of wine, sat and enjoyed some conversation and antipasti, finished the polenta, plated dinner, savored every last bite, enjoyed more conversation while dinner settled, then served some tiramisu. Then we all rolled ourselves to bed, fat and happy.
When I put it like that, it sounds like a lot. But when you're hosting a dinner party and you spend more of the day enjoying yourself than chained to your kitchen, I call that a win.
Want to be a winner?
Make this for dinner.
See what I did there?
Braised Short Ribs over Polenta with Gorgonzola
Braised Short Ribs
Makes 8 servings
- 8 beef short ribs, about 10 oz each
- Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 yellow onions, chopped
- 2 carrots, chopped
- 2 celery stalks, chopped
- 2 cups dry red wine, such as Barolo
- 1 28 oz. can Roma tomatoes, chopped, with juice
- 2 cups beef stock (chicken stock may be substituted)
- 2 fresh rosemary sprigs
- Pat the ribs dry with paper towels and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. In a Dutch oven or other large, heavy pot over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil. (I don't have a Dutch oven [YET], so I just prepared everything in my cast iron skillet and then transferred to a crockpot for the slow-cooking.) Add as many ribs as will fit in a single layer and cook, turning as needed, until well browned on all sides, about 10 minutes total. Transfer the browned ribs to a bowl, and brown the remaining ribs the same way. Remove all ribs to the bowl and tent with foil to keep warm.
- Add the onions, carrots, and celery to the pot and saute until tender, about 10 minutes. Add the wine, bring to a simmer, and deglaze the pot, stirring to scrape up any browned bits from the pot bottom. Add the tomatoes, stock, and rosemary sprigs and bring the liquid to a simmer. Return the ribs to the pot and bring the liquid back to a simmer. Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook the ribs, turning them occasionally, until meat is very tender and falling off the bone, about 2 1/2 hours.
- [Note: If you don't have a Dutch oven or heavy pot large enough to handle this - or if you want don't want to be chained to your kitchen for 3 hours, you can start the recipe in a large cast iron skillet and finish in a crockpot. Just take the recipe through to the deglazing point in the skillet, then add everything to a crockpot and SET IT AND FORGET IT! You can even let these babies cook on low heat for 8 hours or more. Low and slow is great for meat like this.]
Makes 8 servings
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1 cup coarse-ground polenta (corn meal)
- 1/4 lb. (5 oz.) Gorgonzola cheese, rind removed, crumbled
- 2 tablespoons butter, room temp.
- 1/2 cup Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, grated
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- In a 2-qt baking dish, whisk together 3 cups water with the milk, polenta, and 1 teaspoon salt. Bake, uncovered, until the liquid has been absorbed and the polenta is tender, about one hour.
- Remove the dish from the oven and whisk the polenta until creamy. Stir in the Gorgonzola and butter, distributing evenly. Sprinkle the Parmigiano Reggiano evenly over the top.
- Return the dish to the oven and bake until the cheeses are melted and the top is lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Serve at once.