A16’s short ribs alla genovese x2

November 21st, 2008 · 28 Comments

if you read ceF, then you know that i prefer italian cooking over all others. it’s my automatic go to. it’s what feels right to me – kind of like the color black, a burmese cat, the nyc vibe and the smell of cary’s neck. these are things that work for me on a regular basis. the things that make me, me.

ok, those things – and black and white cookies.

but the italian food phenomenon is a relatively common shared love, unlike perhaps, cary’s neck – both of these working in my favor. because whereas you best stay away from my man, the craft of italian cooking (and any cooking) can be shared and enjoyed through great dinners at home and in restaurants, reading books, traveling…

well, and then there are the bloggers.

and we all have our favorites. the ones that makes us laugh, the cooks we wish we were, the farmer and forager, the beautiful photographer, the great writer… and a few that perhaps have just the right blend of whatever it is that makes you, you.

i’ve grown pretty fond of so many food blogs, but there’s a few out there in particular that seem to feel the whole italian thing in the way that i do. and there’s one woman in particular… the italian dish. she’s the one who shamed me into buying the KA rollers and finally making my own pasta. and for that i am beyond grateful. and then there was her cookbook giveaway, where i was somehow lucky enough to land a copy of ‘A16 food + wine‘, a cookbook from san francisco’s acclaimed restaurant that celebrates perhaps my favorite part of italy, campania.

i’ve been making a concerted effort to cook more from my books. i have this wonderful collection that i often admire for its overall beauty – a personal and peculiar aesthetic, i know. and although i truly do realize that it’s what’s inside that matters – in this instance my books are mostly untapped. and let’s face it, admiring potential is merely living in the future, which would be awfully unzenlike of me.

but, i had 2 packages of boned, meaty short ribs in my refrigerator, with no real plan for them. so i flipped through my books and of them all – and there were many to choose from, A16 had the dish (with zuni cafe, a close second). it was a perfect ingredient list, not too complicated and after salting the meat well, and putting it back in the refrigerator to sit for 2+ days, i could contemplate the present knowing that the future was under control.

a note – laurent tourondel in his book ‘the new american bistro cooking’, had a recipe that sounded quite good as well. and if president elect obama was coming to dinner, or eric clapton, jeremy irons or my tony – or even if it had been new years eve or cary’s birthday, i might have considered making his braised short ribs with garlic-thyme brown butter. but with two (2) full bottles of red wine, four (4)cups of ruby port and eleven (11) cups of assorted kind of stock… well, maybe another time. but hey in the meantime, file this little trick away – tourondel’s bouquet garni was rolled up with BACON. only going to show that the man is an absolute genius…

(post browning – pre braising…)

short ribs alla genovese
adapted from A16 food + wine

cooks notes – i used short ribs off the bone and they worked well.
i used 4 jarred anchovy fillets in olive oil because i already owned them
i used about 8 peppercorns because i am rebellious by nature

6 lbs short ribs – about 6 ribs total
kosher salt
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil – plus more for finishing
1 1/2 cups dry red wine
1/2 carrot, peeled and finely chopped
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
1 salt packed anchovy, rinsed, fileted, soaked and then minced
2 cloves garlic, peeled and left whole
5 black peppercorns
4 red onions, thinly sliced
3 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 sprig of rosemary

trim some fat from the ribs leaving the sinewy silverskin behind. season evenly with about 2 Tablespoons of salt. cover and refrigerate overnight or up to 3 days.

preheat oven to 275f

in a large dutch oven, or other heavy bottomed pot, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium high heat. working in 2 batches so as not to crowd the pot, brown evenly on all sides. transfer to a plate and set aside. pour out the fat and if the remove any burned bits of meat. if pot looks scorched, deglaze with water. if the liquid tastes ok, use it – otherwise discard. (my pot was just brown – not burned so i just let it be.). reserve pot to make the sauce.

meanwhile, in a small pot, reduce the wine over medium high heat to about 1/2 a cup.

to make the sauce, on low heat add 2 more tablespoons of oil to first pot and then add the carrots and celery and sweat slowly, stirring occasionally for about 5 minutes or until softened. be careful not to brown. add the garlic, anchovy and peppercorns and continue to cook for 3 minutes, or until garlic begins to soften. add the onions with a pinch of salt (do not oversalt as the meat has been well salted), cooking until onions are softened and translucent – about 5 minutes. stir in the vinegar and the reduced wine and remove the pot from the heat.

return the ribs to the pot and with the rosemary sprig and cover tightly with foil or lid. transfer to the oven and braise for about 2 1/2 hours or until the short ribs are tender when pierced.

to serve, remove the rosemary sprig and transfer the ribs to a large rimmed serving platter. ladle the sauce on top and drizzle with olive oil.to finish. serve immediately with a drizzle of olive oil

these ribs are even better if cooled down completely and served the following day.

what i didn’t quite understand was the red onion scenario. in A16’s book, the picture of the finished platter shows no sign of them anywhere. but there are tons of them in the pot… so, the first night i served the short ribs over simply puréed cauliflower, the meat inundated with onions.

enter exhibit a:

it was quite good and we ate it happily, but at some point it dawned upon me that this was not the best way to go. so the next night i served it with 95% less onion, reduced the sauce and piled it all on some jasmine rice mixed through with the leftover pumpkin from the babbo cake. risotto crossed my mind but it was a weeknight and short ribs are pretty decadent as it is, so the orangey bed it rested upon was totally fat-free and proud of it.

the recipe is solid and i highly recommend that you make it. and soon. but i must admit that i was tempted to call the restaurant and talk to the chef, nate appleman so i could KNOW about the mystery of the red onions.

but instead i let it go.

because it was all exactly as it should be.
further proof of a more zen-like existence…

Tags: beef

28 responses so far ↓

  • 1 We Are Never Full // Nov 21, 2008 at 2:42 pm

    lovely. i absolute love the addition of anchovy in this dish. it does wonders for a sauce.

  • 2 Julia // Nov 21, 2008 at 3:21 pm

    I agree about the anchovy… it really can elevate a dish. And just think, you probably got a serving of vegetables from eating all the onions…

  • 3 cookiecrumb // Nov 21, 2008 at 6:41 pm

    Well, I guess I’ll have to trot over to A16 and give this a try.
    Oh. Heck, I’ll just do a cook-at-home, like you. More fun.
    Yours looks fab.

  • 4 Brittany // Nov 21, 2008 at 8:04 pm

    Wait. You like Italian food?
    Tee hee.

    By the way, you are on a short list of my favorite cooking blogs. Dessert blogs are different, as I read them for professional purposes. Cooking blogs are for sheer pleasure. And you, my darling, bring me ample amounts of pleasure.

  • 5 Julie // Nov 21, 2008 at 8:11 pm

    I have that same cookbook thing, and if I began tomorrow, and cooked three meals a day for the rest of my life using recipes from the cookbooks I have, I still couldn’t get through all of them. This realization doesn’t stop me. For instance, I now lust after the A16 book. (I admire your taste in cookbooks. Also food.)

    This looks wonderful. And the pureed cauliflower — I need to try that!

  • 6 Mary Coleman // Nov 21, 2008 at 10:24 pm

    “…the smell of cary’s neck”….ok, i can understand that .but personally, i think you nailed the whole italian thing with your osso buco.


  • 7 ntsc // Nov 22, 2008 at 5:54 am

    Cary’s neck does nothing for me, you may be a different story, but my wife won’t let me have a live in girl friend unless she also does windows and light housekeeping., cooking not required.

    Short ribs are a wonderful item, Fairway – another NYC institution, sells them in packages of about 20 lbs and we go through a couple a year. The winter recipes looking much like the one you show, the summer ones all involving a grill and/or smoker.

    The anchovy sounds like a noble addition, but I think that a good bacon such as a home cured pancetta or a dry cured ham would also add that punch.

    In this house Thomas Keller’s sweated onions are a staple item. I freeze them in 1&1/2 cup put ups. Pull one of those from the freezer, with a 6 cup putup of reduced beef stock, freshly made croutons (big ones) and cheese and you have his onion soup in no work or no time at all. Of course both the onions and the stock are all day process in and of themselves, but not on the day you eat the soup.

  • 8 Rachel (S[d]OC) // Nov 22, 2008 at 7:52 am

    Short ribs, yummy, even with the anchovies I’m salivating.

    I know how you feel about the neglected cookbooks. I take more recipes from blogs these days than I ever do from my cookbooks. I should remedy that and pull a Michelle and make myself smackdown a cookbook recipe.

  • 9 Donald // Nov 22, 2008 at 8:12 am

    Great dish Claudia.

    We love short ribs here too. I actually have an episode in my photo cache just waiting to be blogged.

    I braise mine in wine and then let them sit overnight in the fridge. The next day I remove the solidified fat from the top then slowly bring them to temp then serve. Fall off the bone goodness with a great sauce.

    This variation I think I need to try with the next batch.

  • 10 Sara // Nov 22, 2008 at 9:24 am

    Your short ribs look amazing, I usually make the porter ale and maple short ribs from All About Braising.

  • 11 tony's 2nd wife // Nov 22, 2008 at 9:26 am

    *cough cough…

    you mean my tony, right?

    tony and i would be happy to come to dinner… i need some comfort food.

  • 12 chefectomy // Nov 22, 2008 at 11:42 am

    It’s just so yummy. I don’t have a “Go to” cuisine but Italian might just do it if I had a gun pointed at my head. I could your’s right this minute and it’s breakfast out here in SF.


  • 13 Kristie // Nov 22, 2008 at 5:50 pm

    Well, hell. Now I want short ribs, and before I was totally fine with the fajitas I was gonna make. You seductress. Now I’m going to have to go deep fry something to console myself. Which is bad news, since so far today my major nutritive contribution to myself has been Ben and Jerry’s Cinnamon Bun ice cream (which, if it had appeared on Sex and the City it would have totally been having sex with Samantha, that’s how sexrageous it is).

  • 14 Kristie // Nov 22, 2008 at 5:51 pm

    I should clarify: I’m not a SATC girl, I just had a college roomie who was and have read the books by that particular author. I mean, shit. I only care about shoes if they’re running shoes.

  • 15 Lauren // Nov 22, 2008 at 7:52 pm

    i think you should call. an inquisitive mind needs feeding too.

  • 16 Peter // Nov 22, 2008 at 8:33 pm

    The anchovy is an excellent idea, but I like stranger things still in my short rib braise. As for the onions, who knows? If you served these on a bun like a cheesesteak, the onions would be genius.

  • 17 Ken Albala // Nov 22, 2008 at 11:35 pm

    Claudia, This is utterly gorgeous. Exactly the right color, and I can only guess what amazing texture it had in the end. I’m so glad you found you found my blog, because now I’ve found yours. Beautiful.


  • 18 maybelles mom // Nov 23, 2008 at 11:22 am

    So much to say here:
    First, considering the internet, you don’t know that Cary’s neck doesn’t have its own cult somewhere…
    Second, I love that you are rebellious by nature
    Third, I love that you are drawn to southern italy; everyone seems to say Tuscany.
    Fourth, I wish I could come over for dinner today!

  • 19 The Culinary Sherpas // Nov 23, 2008 at 3:04 pm

    We are a short rib home, here in sunny Tampa. This looks fabuloso….maybe the onions were just for the broth??????????

  • 20 Jesse // Nov 23, 2008 at 4:01 pm

    Wow… I really want to make some sort of intelligent comment, but I’m too busy drooling…

  • 21 The Italian Dish // Nov 23, 2008 at 4:38 pm

    Claudia: Glad you are enjoying the book. It is wonderful, isn’t it? These short ribs look outstanding – I do like the idea of serving them over pureed cauliflower, one of my favorite things. As for the additional peppercorns — you are just one wild girl, you know that?

  • 22 Marc @ NoRecipes // Nov 23, 2008 at 11:23 pm

    Wow, you really take browning serious. That’s some nice fond you have going there:-)

  • 23 [eatingclub] vancouver || js // Nov 25, 2008 at 5:04 pm

    Fantastic short ribs!

    You made me curious about the red onions. Where should the ribbons go?

  • 24 Ryan // Nov 29, 2008 at 2:37 pm

    Looks great, try substituting 2# beef tongue for some of the short ribs, it would really set the dish off, thanks


  • 25 The Culinary Sherpas… | Superlative Shortribs // Dec 1, 2008 at 4:49 pm

    […] more money than we do. So Claudia, even though you JUST used the word superlative and JUST did a short rib post, we promise we are not riding the coat tails of your fame. We’ll never pretend that we […]

  • 26 annie // Dec 2, 2008 at 9:41 am

    Two things:

    1. This looks like it would be a great Hanukkah dish for those of us less traditional types.

    2. How do you get the fat out after the braise?! I have to chill my short ribs overnight after braising so that i can remove the solidified fat before proceeding. I learned that the hard (and greasy) way. What’s your method?

  • 27 Kathy // Aug 8, 2010 at 1:27 am

    I serve mine with a cauliflower, carrot & red onion dish cooked in a little butter. What would u serve 4 hor’derves?

  • 28 the other Martha // Aug 27, 2010 at 4:26 pm

    I have made this 3 times for dinner parties of 6 to 8 and it get’s rave reviews every time! It is now the only way we will eat short ribs. As for the anchovies, if you buy the skinny flat can use all of them….about 6 I think. It’s the perfect amount to me. Love, love this A16 cook book!!!!

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