This recipe from Florence, Italy is exceptional. While all of the ingredients contribute to the whole, two ingredients are the stars.....Chianti and black pepper. The Chianti is critical as this recipe really needs a medium-bodied wine. Do not use a Cabernet or a Zinfandel...it will ruin the flavor. If you don't have a Chianti handy, reach for a Cotes du Rhone or Pinot Noir.
The stew can be served naked, as it is pictured above. It also pairs nicely with polenta or a fresh baguette of crusty bread. My preferred way of serving it is over buttered pappardelle pasta. The tilemakers of Santa Maria del Fiore Cathredal Duomo created this recipe and it was published in the January issue of Cook's Illustrated. The recipe serves six to eight people.
- 4pounds boneless beef short ribs, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
- 1tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1(750-ml) bottle Chianti
- 1cup water
- 4shallots, peeled and halved lengthwise
- 2carrots, peeled and halved lengthwise
- 1garlic head, cloves separated, unpeeled, and crushed
- 4sprigs fresh rosemary
- 2bay leaves
- 1tablespoon cracked black peppercorns, plus extra for serving
- 1tablespoon unflavored gelatin
- 1tablespoon tomato paste
- 1teaspoon anchovy paste
- 2teaspoons ground black pepper
- 2teaspoons cornstarch
- Toss beef and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt together in bowl and let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 300 degrees.
- Heat oil in large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until just smoking. Add half of beef in single layer and cook until well browned on all sides, about 8 minutes total, reducing heat if fond begins to burn. Stir in 2 cups wine, water, shallots, carrots, garlic, rosemary, bay leaves, cracked peppercorns, gelatin, tomato paste, anchovy paste, and the remaining uncooked beef. Bring to simmer and cover tightly with sheet of heavy-duty aluminum foil, then lid. Transfer to oven and cook until beef is tender, 2 to 2 1/4 hours, stirring halfway through cooking time.
- Using slotted spoon, transfer just the beef to a bowl; cover tightly with foil and set aside. Strain sauce through fine-mesh strainer into fat separator. Wipe out pot with paper towels. Let liquid settle for 5 minutes, then return defatted liquid to pot.
- Add 1 cup wine and ground black pepper and bring mixture to boil over medium-high heat. Simmer briskly, stirring occasionally, until sauce is thickened to consistency of heavy cream, 12 to 15 minutes.
- Combine remaining wine and cornstarch in small bowl. Reduce heat to medium-low, return beef to pot, and stir in cornstarch-wine mixture. Cover and simmer until just heated through, 5 to 8 minutes. Season with salt to taste. Serve, passing extra cracked peppercorns separately. (Stew can be made up to 3 days in advance.)
Wine pairing: Chianti or Brunello di Montalcino