Coffee-Braised Short Rib Pasta

A hearty plate of Coffee-Braised Short Rib Pasta

Comfort Me With Coffee
Even though it is still rather warm out, you can tell that the seasons are changing. It’s cooler at night and darker when I wake up in the morning. These changes have me craving sweaters, slow-cooked dinners, and rich and meaty pastas.

Over the weekend, we found ourselves in Berkeley for the Old Time Music Festival (my daughter was in the fiddle competition) which, happily, was right next door to the farmer’s market. During a break, we scouted the market to find some snacks and something to drink. As we were walking past a pasta vendor my daughter mentioned that it had been a while since we made fresh pasta and offered to make some for dinner that night. Since I am no fool, I said yes.

My tomato plant is currently going crazy so we ended up making a creamy fresh tomato and basil sauce for her beautiful pasta, but it got me thinking about this recipe for Short Ribs in Red Wine Sauce which I absolutely love. It can be eaten with polenta or mashed potatoes, but I prefer to serve it over some fresh buttered pappardelle.

This, in turn, got me thinking about short ribs in general which are a favorite of mine and a must order for me anytime we go out to dinner. You just can’t go wrong with slow-cooked beef.

In an effort to branch out and try something new, here is a promising recipe for Coffee-Braised Short Rib Pasta. It’s similar to my favorite one but I love tasting what the coffee does to the flavor.

Coffee-Braised Short Rib Pasta
Adapted from Feast Magazine
Yields 6 servings

2-1/2 pounds short ribs
Kosher salt
Fresh ground pepper
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large yellow onion
1 large carrot
4 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 14.5-ounce can of crushed tomatoes
2 cups beef stock
1 cup fresh brewed coffee
4 sprigs thyme
1 bay leaf
2 tbsp butter
1 pound pasta of your choice
Parmigiano-Reggiano to taste
parsley to taste

Preheat the oven to 300° F.

Prep the veggies
Roughly chop the yellow onion and carrot. Smash the garlic cloves, and finely chop the parsley. Grate the Parmigiano-Reggiano if it is not pre-grated.

Prep the short ribs
Pat the short ribs dry and season generously with salt and pepper. Transfer the ribs to a zip-lock bag along with the flour and shake the bag to evenly coat the short ribs.

In a large Dutch oven or pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Remove the coated short ribs from the plastic bag. Shake off any excess flour, and transfer them to the pot. Using tongs, brown the short ribs evenly on all sides—cooking in batches, if necessary to avoid overcrowding.

Transfer the short ribs to a plate and set aside.

Cook the veggies
Remove all but three tablespoons of the rendered fat from the pot. Slightly lower the heat and add the onion, carrot, and garlic. Cook the vegetables until they are tender (about 8 to 10 minutes). Add the tomato paste, and cook stirring often until it has darkened slightly (about3 to 5 minutes).

Deglaze the pot
Deglaze the pot using the balsamic vinegar and cook until the vinegar has completely reduced.

Make the broth
Add the crushed tomatoes, stock, and coffee to the pot and bring it to a boil.

Add the short ribs
Once the broth is boiling, return the short ribs to the pot and add thyme and bay leaf.

Braise the short ribs
Cover and transfer the pot to the oven and cook until the meat is tender and falling off the bone (about 3 hours).

Remove the braised short ribs from the oven. Using tongs, transfer the short ribs to a plate and shred the meat using two forks. Discard bones, excess fat, and connective tissue.

Strain the broth
Using a fine mesh strainer, strain out vegetables and aromatics and transfer the solids to a large bowl.

Thicken the sauce
Return the braising liquid to the pot and reduce it until it reaches a sauce consistency. Stir in the butter and shredded short ribs.

Taste and add salt, if needed. Cover and keep warm.

Make the pasta
While the sauce is reducing on the stovetop, cook the pasta according to the package instructions.

To serve
Serve pasta topped with short rib sauce and sprinkled with parsley and parmesan to taste.

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