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Braised Short Ribs with Tender Gnocchi and Tomato-Saffron Sauce
Makes 4 Servings
*2 tbls. grapeseed oil
*4 beef short ribs, excess fat trimmed
*Salt and freshly ground black pepper
*1 cup chopped yellow onion
*1 cup chopped leek
*2 cups red tomatoes, chopped
*12 cloves garlic, peeled
*2 jalapeno chiles, halved
*1 1/2 cups red wine
*2 sprigs rosemary
*2 sprigs oregano
*8 leaves fresh basil
*1 1/2 cups Chicken Stock
*2 tbls. extra virgin olive oil
*1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
*4 cloves garlic, crushed
*5 yellow tomatoes, peeled, seeded and coarsley chopped
*1/4 cup chopped celery
*1/4 cup chopped peeled carrots
*2 sprigs thyme
*2 bay leaves
*1/2 tsp. lightly crushed saffron threads
*2 tbls. balsamic vinegar
*Salt and freshly ground black pepper
*2 1/2 lbs. baked, peeled and riced russet potatoes (about 3 large potatoes), hot
*1 egg
*1 tsp. salt
*1 to 1 1/2 cups flour
*1 tsp. butter
*2 tbls. chopped fresh basil
*Salt and freshly ground black pepper
*3/4 cup globe basil leaves or micro basil
*4 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
1To prepare the short ribs: Preheat the oven to 300F degrees. Heat the grapeseed oil in a roasting pan over medium-high heat. Season the ribs with salt and pepper. Add the ribs to the pan and sear for 2 to 3 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Remove the ribs from the pan and set aside. Add the onion and leek to the roasting pan and cook over medium heat for 7 to 10 minutes or until golden brown. Add the tomatoes, garlic and chiles; cook for 5 minutes, stirring to incorporate. Add the wine, rosemary, oregano, basil and stock; bring to a simmer. Return the ribs to the pan and cover tightly with a lid or aluminum foil. Braise in the oven for 4 to 6 hours or until the meat is fork-tender. (The braising liquid may be strained and reduced for use as a sauce, if desired.)
2To prepare the tomato-saffron sauce: Place the olive oil and onion in a saucepan and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes or until the onion is translucent. Add the garlic and cook for 3 more minutes. Add the tomatoes, celery, carrots, thyme and bay leaves. Continue to cook over medium heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the saffron and balsamic vinegar and cook for 7 minutes over low heat. Cool slightly and puree in a blender until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Reheat if necessary before serving.
3To prepare the gnocchi: Place the hot riced potatoes in a large bowl. Work the egg, salt and 1/2 cup of the flour into the potatoes with a wooden spoon. Knead in enough of the remaining flour to form a silky, soft dough. Divide the dough into 4 equal portions and roll each portion into a long cigar shape about 1/2-inch in diameter. Cut the rolls into 1/2-inch pieces and gently pinch each piece in the center. Refrigerate on a lightly floured sheet pan until ready to cook.
4Just before serving, poach the gnocchi in boiling salted water for 2 to 3 minutes or just until they float. Transfer the gnocchi to a large bowl with a slotted spoon. Toss with the butter and basil; season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.
5Assembly: Spoon a large circle of the tomato-saffron sauce into the center of each plate. Remove the short-rib meat from the bones and place a few pieces of meat in the center of each plate. Arrange the gnocchi around the meat. Sprinkle with the basil and spoon the olive oil around the plate.
6WINE NOTES: Before tasting this course, one would think a full-bodied red wine would be the ideal pairing for the weight of the short ribs and gnocchi. This would be true were it not for the tomato-saffron sauce, which makes reds taste harsh and metallic; in turn, the wines completely bury the saffron aroma. Full-bodied Alsatian Riesling, however, works exceptionally well with the dish (no, I'm not crazy!). A Zind-Humbrecht Riesling from the Brand vineyard stands up to the rich, fatty short ribs while highlighting the tomato and saffron.
  • This dish is the ultimate in satisfying, hearty fare. The short ribs melt away in your mouth, as does the gnocchi; both are marvelously complemented by the heady and invigorating tomato-saffron sauce. Wilted collard greens or steamed haricots verts would be perfect served alongside.

Recipes courtesy of Workin' More Kitchen Sessions with Charlie Trotter, published by Ten Speed Press, 2004