The first time my mom made this dish, it was an experiment. At this time, we were realizing that you can mix odd ingredients together and come out with something spectacular.
After religiously watching Food Network, we decided to take a whack at Giada De Laurentiis's short ribs tagliatelle dish. But, the extra special "odd" ingredient was her addition of shaved bittersweet chocolate on top. Chocolate? With meat? And pasta? I didn't think this would be good, but man oh man, was it delicious.
Ever since we made the short ribs tagliatelle with chocolate, it has been a dish we go back to for family get-togethers, cold winter nights and whenever we want a comforting elegant meal.
With New Year's Eve right around the corner, here is wonderful one-pot meal you can make for all of your guests coming over for dinner to celebrate the end of 2012.
First, cook about two ounces, or 1/2 cup, of chopped pancetta in a Dutch oven with enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pot. Cook the pancetta until crispy and golden, just like bacon.
Prepare 2 1/2 pounds of short ribs by coating them in salt, pepper and flour. Take out the pancetta and place the short ribs into the Dutch oven to brown the sides.
While the short ribs are browning in the pot, place one chopped carrot, one chopped onion, 1/2 cup of parsley and two cloves of garlic into a food processor. Once the mixture is minced, add one 14-ounce can of tomatoes and a tablespoon of tomato paste.
As soon as the short ribs are browned on all sides, add the food processor mixture to the short ribs, along with the pancetta. Add some herbs to the pot by mixing in one teaspoon each of rosemary and dried thyme, 1/2 teaspoon of dried oregano and one bay leaf. Then, add moisture to the pot by adding 2 1/2 cups of beef broth and 3/4 cup of red wine. Let the mixture come to a boil, then reduce the heat, cover the pot and allow the ingredients to simmer for about one hour and 15 minutes.
After one hour and 15 minutes, remove the lid and let the mixture simmer for an hour and a half. Make sure you stir the mixture throughout this process to keep all of the ingredients incorporated and to make sure they don't stick to the pot.
If you're serving the meal with the pasta as soon as the meat is done, then boil a large pot of water while the short ribs finish cooking. When you place the pasta in the pot to cook for about eight to 10 minutes, remove the short ribs from the pot, and separate the meat from the bones. Shred the meat and put it back into the pot to soak up all of the seasonings and liquids left inside.
Once the pasta is al dente, remove the pasta and reserve one cup of the water from the pasta pot. Season the short ribs with salt and pepper, then add the pasta and a little bit of the reserved pasta water to give the dish more moisture. You don't have to add all of the pasta water if the dish is moist enough.
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My mom and I serve this dish in one large pot to serve everyone at the table, then top with some chocolate shavings -- it gives the dish a touch of elegance.
Serve this meal to your family and friends for New Year's Eve, or for any dinner party; everyone will be impressed with the deliciousness of the pairing of tender short ribs and dark chocolate shavings. It's a dish you'll make over and over for any get-together.