On a recent trip to the market, I saw they were running a special on beef short ribs. I had never cooked short ribs before, so this would be a good opportunity to try something new. Whenever I am looking for culinary inspiration, my go-to is Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything.
This quick bit of research convinced me that braising would definitely be the method to use, but I decided that I would need to swap some of the ingredients based on what I had available. I started by heating a couple tablespoons of olive oil in the dutch oven and browning the short ribs. While the ribs were browning, I passed the time trying to explain to my four year old daughter that making the meat turn brown was a good thing. She did not agree, believing that chocolate is the only brown food that is good.
After the ribs were done browning, I removed them from the pan. Then I sauteed a classic mirepoix (celery, carrots and red onion) and a few cloves of garlic. Once these vegetables were softened, I returned the ribs to the pan and added two cups of broth, enough to come 3/4ths of the way up the sides of the ribs. At this point, I put the lid on the pan, turned the heat down to medium and let it go for an hour.
While I was waiting for that hour to pass, I made a batch of pasta dough. I use a combination of AP flour (1 1/4 cups) and semolina flour (3/4 of a cup), a teaspoon of kosher salt, three egg yolks and two whole eggs. Once I have combined these ingredients and worked them together well, I form the dough into a disk, seal it in a little package of plastic wrap and set it in the refrigerator to rest.
Once the rest of the hour was over, I removed the lid from the pan and added two cups of wine. I am no wine aficionado, but I do know what I like to drink. I tend to like pinot noir, so I used one from the A to Z Wineworks in Oregon. I found it at Costco, and, at $14, the price seemed right. I also added a cup of the oven-roasted tomatoes that I had made earlier in the week and eight ounces of coarsely chopped cremini mushrooms. Once the contents of the pan returned to a simmer, I reduced the heat to low and went back to finish the pasta.
With the help of my very experienced assistant, I ran the dough through my pasta machine. I then rolled the sheets of dough up and cut them into wide noodles. The fresh noodles only took only about two minutes to cook, and then it was time to serve.
Because it was fresh, the pappardelle was extremely tender, with a unique texture that came from the semolina flour. It provided a roughness that allowed the sauce to really adhere to the pasta. A bed of this pappardelle paired well with the rich, meaty sauce. This is definitely a dish I am likely to make again, especially as we are approaching the cold weather months.