Cooking with Pete and Barb Marczyk: Stracotto
Pete Marczyk and Barbara Macfarlane do not leave their work behind when they leave Marczyk Fine Foods and head for their great old Denver house with the big, new kitchen. They often bring some of their market's choicest ingredients home with them and cook up a feast.
While the weather promises to warm up, there are plenty of lurking drifts of snow to remind us that it's still winter, and winter weather begs for hearty suppers -- in this case, stracotto, an Italian pot roast. "Although Italians don't use short ribs as we know them, they work beautifully for this treatment," says Barb, noting that the ribs "need to be cooked long and slow for everything to meld together in a delicious way." For variety, she adds, "you can pull the meat off the bone and add it to a pasta sauce, or stuff it into peppers and roast it in the oven." Barb recommends pairing the dish, brightened with gremolata, with a bottle of Sangiovese, particularly the Primaterra Sangiovese, which is currently available at Marczyk's Fine Wines for $9.99. "It's a light and bright pour at a great price," she says.
Recipe adapted from Delfina restaurant in San Francisco
4 (3-4 bones each) beef short ribs, cut 2 inches wide
4 cups Sangiovese wine
1/2 cup pure olive oil
1 yellow onion, julienned
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
2 stalks celery, sliced
4 cups beef stock
5 allspice berries
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
3 bay leaves
2 springs fresh thyme
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1. Tie the allspice and cloves in a piece of cheesecloth to form a sachet. In a non-reactive container, pour the wine over the short ribs and add the sachet. Cover and marinate ribs overnight in the refrigerator, at least eight hours.
2. Drain the wine and sachet from the ribs and reserve both. Pat ribs dry and season liberally with salt and pepper.
3. Heat a shallow, heavy-bottomed pan with olive oil. Add rib and brown on all sides over medium heat. Remove ribs from the pan and set aside.
4. Add onions, celery and carrots to pan and turn the burner on high. Sauté briefly. Add reserved wine, beef stock, sachet, rosemary, thyme and bay leaves. Bring mixture to a boil and reduce by a third. Reduce to a simmer and place the ribs in the pan bone-side-down. Cover ribs tightly with aluminum foil and place in a 325°F oven. Braise for approximately 3 hours or until completely tender.
5. Allow ribs to cool in the pan at room temperature. Refrigerate overnight or until fat solidifies
6. Remove solidified fat from the pan. Place pan over low heat to melt the sauce and heat the ribs through. Using tongs and a spatula, carefully remove the ribs from the pan. Place on a plate and keep warm in the oven at a low temperature.
7. Pass the sauce through a food mill to puree. Bring back to a boil in a sauce pot and then reduce to a simmer. Skim fat and adjust consistency if necessary by reducing. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
8. Serve over polenta or noodles and garnish with gremolata (recipe below).
Zest of 1 lemon
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
1 tablespoon flat-leaf parsley, minced
Combine ingredients in a bowl and mix well.