Friday, December 3, 2010

Penne with braised short ribs

I thought when I started working for myself, back in May, that I would be spending a lot more time in the kitchen. I had visions of rolling out pie crusts in the middle of the day, braving puff pastry from scratch, and at least once a week filling the house with the smell of good, yeasty bread.

It hasn't panned out like that at all. While I still spend more time in the kitchen than probably many people do during the week, I've always done that. Even when I was working in an office full-time, it was not unusual for me to roast up a pork loin to serve atop creamy polenta and a bitter green on a Tuesday night. I like to be in the kitchen, so it rarely feels like a chore to me. Few things relax me more than cooking leisurely while listening to the radio and drinking a glass of wine, with the husband and the other hungry dog periodically wandering in to check on me. It's the perfect mix of being alone and not being alone.

But now I'm busier during the day, with less time to daydream about what to make for dinner. And since I am working harder, sometimes I actually feel a little tired out by the end of the day.

The one way in which my new schedule has changed my cooking is that now I am able to make things that take a long time during the week--provided they are largely unattended. The kalua pig is a great example of this. It took five minutes to put together, and four hours later, dinner was served.

Yesterday I decided to make Giada's penne with braised short ribs. I'd seen her make it on TV awhile ago and had not forgotten how delicious it looked. The browning of the ribs and chopping the onion and garlic took a total of about 20 minutes; then, into the oven it went for two and a half hours.

The pasta was rich and deep in flavor, a result from long cooking as well as the fattiness of the short ribs. The recipe is a total hit, one which I will definitely repeat, although I must warn you, this is not for the delicate eater. If you aren't that into meat, or are squeamish about fat, skip it. Unfortunately, neither of these things bother me, so I dug right in.

A little goes a long way--as the husband pointed out, it's basically pot roast over noodles--not exactly light fare. But I really enjoyed it, especially on a rainy night, with the heat turned up and a bottle of Cabernet alongside. As you might have predicted, Frances also had the opportunity to sample some of the short ribs and she too deemed the recipe a blazing success.

The only change I made was that it called for fresh Roma tomatoes, which are nowhere to be found in December, at least not good ones. So I used whole canned tomatoes, and threw in an extra one or two, which turned out just to my liking.


  1. The most successful people who work at home treat it like a job... same number of hours (or more). I never worked harder in my life than when I worked for myself.

    And your pasta dish looks great!

  2. Oh heavens, that looks yummy! I only had short ribs for the first time a couple of years ago-I love them. Flavorful and delish! Although, I would have a Pinot Noir or some kind of white-that is the kind of gal I am :)

  3. You must have read my mind this morning, I was just considering braised short ribs for a dinner guest that is coming over soon. They are so good in winter. That dish looks absolutely divine, I'm seriously considering going to the market right now to get some short ribs!

  4. A Year: It definitely feels like a job--but with much more incentive to do good work!

    tamilyn: This was actually my first time making short ribs, though I've had them before. They're a little pricey but easy to work with.

    Connie: I hope you like the recipe! It will make your house smell amazing :)

  5. Mmmm, this sounds so good! Short ribs might be my fav cut of beef. Will have to try this though maybe not right away. I just made some short ribs recently and I'm not very diligent about pre-cooking fat trimming nor post-cooking fat skimming so some time between short rib meals might be a good idea! - Pete

  6. All you have to say is "braised short ribs'' and I am one happy camper. ;)

  7. This is a perfect dish to make on a cold snowy day...or even a rainy day. Bet it smelled divine in the oven too. Really am going to have to try this one; I've made Ina's short ribs, but not Giada's.

  8. well, if frances approves, i'm convinced. :)

  9. This is the kind of rib-sticking food I loev when it's cold.

    The upside of working really hard means you're probably doing really well right? I'm sure you are!

  10. Pete: Give it a try! Though I know what you mean, short ribs can't be a weekly recipe, they are VERY rich.

    CJ: me too.

    Barbara: I'll have to try Ina's recipe too!

    grace: Right? She's actually fairly discerning...for a dog.

    shaz: I'm doing fine, thanks--and I thank my lucky stars every day!

  11. Sounds like a wonderful dinner for a cold night.

  12. Giada's recipes do work!...I make fun of her because I don't trust thin cooks/chefs...I am not sure she eats what she makes :)

    This one looks amazing!

  13. Well, your description about 'the perfect mix of being alone and not alone' is a pretty great one - especially with the whole radio and wine thing. You pretty much described everything I like about cooking - except my wine is usually a Shiner
    Bock or a Jack Daniels on the rocks.
    Anyway, similarities aside, that looks freaking amazing.

  14. camille: yes, perfect for it.

    ALY: Ha! I know what you mean, but most of her recipes are pretty good.

    Rich: Thanks! I figured I wasn't alone in my enjoyment of being semi-solo in the kitchen...

  15. Okay, this recipe is on my list. like you, being in the kitchen is not a chore to me-it's an absolute delight. I usually get my kitchen mojo moving on Sunday to get meals that we can enjoy throughout the week.

    I love rich, hearty meals like this one. Perfect for a Sunday Supper when it's cool and crisp outside.

  16. Braising is such a great thing during the winter. Does Frances eat pasta too?

  17. Velva: I think you'll enjoy it--let me know if you try it!

    Ben: Sometimes. She certainly got a little of the shortribs... :)

  18. YUM. This looks so good!