Short Ribs & Pie

I woke up yesterday morning with a serious hankering for braised short ribs. Beef short ribs, slowly cooked in a medium oven until the flat bones slip out on their own.

For a once-vegetarian, committed for so many years, the simple pleasure I take in the hollow sound made by clapping loosed ribs together surprises me every time. I am both amused and taken aback; just what happened to render me able to embrace meat again?

Pregnancy and childbirth, surely. But after that immediate bloodlust was sated, my carnivorous appetite remained. Since, I've educated myself about eating meat responsibly and humanely, and I still don't eat baby animals or offal.

 short ribs: waiting to be browned, and definitely so

short ribs: waiting to be browned, and definitely so

Short ribs are, quite possibly, my favorite cut of red meat. I love the way they remain firm but in a falling apart by the very strand sort of way. The flavor is spectacular but not so strong that it can't accommodate various seasonings.

My preferred recipe for short ribs is this ragu from a Food52 cook. She serves it atop polenta, but I never do, not least because T is not a corn-product kind of guy. Cornbread, grits, cornmeal in most's not his bag. So, I spoon this ragu atop pappardelle, made with eggs please, and then grate Parmesan generously over the top. 

 short rib ragu with pappardelle

short rib ragu with pappardelle

The recipe takes a while but, like my meatballs, is worth every minute of labor. Make the whole amount, or double it, and you've got plenty for a crowd or your freezer. And your house will smell to the nines, so make sure someone comes over to inhale deeply and sigh contentedly.

I always intend to make a green salad to go alongside. Half the time I do, but the rest of the time I forget or am too tired to carry through with the plan. No problem. Do or do not.

A fruit pie is the perfect finish for a hearty meal like this one. Strawberry-rhubarb is nice because its tang (and, if you make it, my salty, oil-based crust) counters and cuts the richness of the beef and noodles. Its color is also a nice compliment to the earth tones of all you just downed.

Leftover pie makes a hell of a breakfast, too.