Short Ribs with White Polenta

serves 2-3

This dish is even better made the day before.  Making it the day before (or even just early in the morning) allows you to let the dish cool in the refrigerator and let the fat rise to the top, to be easily skimmed off.

3 to 3-1/2 pounds of short ribs
salt and pepper
2 tablespoon olive oil, divided
1 large carrot (about 3/4 cup diced)
1 medium rib of celery (about 1/2 cup diced)
1/2 medium onion (about 1/2 cup diced)
3 cloves of garlic, grated or minced
1 heaping tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 cup red wine
2 cups beef broth
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley plus more for garnish

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F.

Sprinkle the short ribs with some salt and pepper. In a large heavy oven proof pot, warm 1 tablespoon of olive oil and brown the short ribs over medium high heat until a nice crust forms. Remove short ribs from the pot and drain any fat from the pot, but don't wipe the pot out. Lower the heat and add the second tablespoon of olive oil to the pot along with the carrot, celery and onion and a nice big pinch of salt and saute gently for about 5-6 minutes. Add the garlic and saute for one minute more.  Raise the heat a little and add the tomato paste and cook it for about 3 minutes.  Add the red wine and cook for a couple of minutes.  Add the beef broth, bay leaves and thyme and stir thoroughly.  Return the short ribs to the pot and cover.  Place the pot in the oven and cook for 2 hours.  Add  the 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley, stir, cover and return to the oven for another 30 minutes, until the meat is very tender.

Remove short ribs from pot and place in a large bowl and cover. Strain the sauce and pour the sauce into a small bowl.  Place the bowls in the refrigerator.  After the sauce is thoroughly chilled, skim off the layer of fat from the top. Put the ribs and the sauce into a large saucepan and warm gently on the stove.) Garnish with chopped fresh parsley and serve over polenta.

White Corn Polenta

(use these directions or the directions that come with your particular brand of corn meal)

1 cup of white corn meal
3 cups water
1 teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt
1 tablespoon butter
1/3 cup grated parmigiano reggiano cheese

Bring water to a boil in a heavy pan. Add salt. Using a whisk, gradually stir in the cornmeal.  Reduce heat to low and simmer slowly for 30 minutes, stirring a couple of times. Stir in the butter and cheese.

The Italian Dish